Travellers from Albania and Bosnia will no longer need visas for European Union travel from next month, Brussels has said, providing they have biometric passports, bearing digital photos. With this, the EU aims to encourage democratic reforms in the Balkan countries. At the same time, it warned that restrictions could be re-imposed if travel rules are abused.
In Sarajevo, a resident waiting outside a consular office said: “I am happy that visas have been waived, because I need to go to Germany. I met a man there, and we need to get married there.”
Another visa applicant said: “This is a good thing. But still, our financial situation is more or less the same. People with money will keep travelling. Those without will stay home.”
Some EU governments are doubtful that Albania and Bosnia can cope with illegal immigration and trafficking. The bloc’s home affairs ministers insist the European Commission continue to monitor how the two countries comply with EU rules on border controls and passport security.