The EU is lifting visa requirements for the people of Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia in time for them to visit friends and family in the bloc this Christmas. It comes after the Balkan states fulfilled benchmarks for passport security, border controls and fighting corruption and organised crime.
Restrictions will be lifted from December 19. Visa-free travel is seen as a key step on the path to EU membership for the three nations. But Albania and Bosnia, who also hope to join the 27-nation bloc, have yet to meet all the conditions. That means visas will still be required by their nationals for journeys within the European Union.