POLITICS

Ten years ago EU abolished Visas for Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Exactly ten years ago, the European Union abolished visas for citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We remind you that such a decision was made by the interior ministers of the 27 EU member states, in November 2010, and unanimously.

With this already historic decision, the citizens of BiH are enabled to travel freely through the Schengen area, and this is an area that, with the exception of Great Britain and Ireland, includes all EU members, with three non-EU countries – Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, Avaz writes.

This act was symbolically marked 10 years ago by the first promotional flight without visas for BiH citizens to EU countries, organized by the Ministry of Security of BiH and the European Movement in BiH.

Ten years ago, the Vice President of the Delegation of the European Parliament for Southeast Europe, Jelko Kacin, welcomed the decision to abolish the visa regime for the citizens of BiH, but also of Albania.

”I sincerely welcome the abolition of the visa regime for the citizens of Albania and BiH, and I look forward to opening the borders to our neighbors and friends. We see today’s victory of the administration of these two countries as a significant act of Europeanization of these two societies and support for pro-European forces,” Kacin said at the time.

However, two control mechanisms remain in place, monitoring to check that agreed and achieved standards are continuously respected and an early warning mechanism in the form of an ongoing dialogue focusing on the issue of asylum seekers. Until this decision on the free travel of BiH citizens through the Schengen countries, the authorities in BiH had to meet 174 technical conditions, the most important of which is the introduction of biometric passports.

On May 27, the European Commission proposed the abolition of visas for BiH, and the European Parliament accepted that on October 7.

BiH is the last country in the region to receive a visa-free regime. Serbia and Montenegro received visa liberalization on December 19th, 2009.

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