WE CAUSE PROBLEMS: Brussels may abolish visa-free regime for Serbia
Illegal stay and unfounded requests for asylum filed by the citizens of the Western Balkans, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine opened up a discussion in Brussels on the suspension of visa-free travel to the EU, the EUObserver reports.
According to an internal EU document, seen by the portal, Serbia and Albania are ranked among the 10 most problematic countries when it comes to respecting the visa-free regime, which is why Germany believes that the European Commission should recall that launching a mechanism for suspending the visa-free regime is a realistic option.
„In case of little or no improvement by third countries, the European Commission should, in our view, emphasise that triggering the Visa Suspension Mechanism is a real option,“ the German delegation said in the document.
According to official German data on violations of the Law on foreigners in 2020, Albania is in the second position, Ukraine in the fifth, Serbia in the seventh, Moldova in the ninth and Georgia in the tenth place.
„Dissatisfaction seems to be accumulating in France, Germany and Italy, at the moment of a wider debate on stopping the alleged abuse,“ the Brussels-based portal reports.
The European Commission believes that visa-free travel is „a significant achievement“ in relations between the EU and the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership countries. „But not everyone is happy, as the threat of the so-called ‘Visa Suspension Mechanism’ is now actively being discussed“ EUobserver states.
It is possible to re-impose visas if there is a more than 50-percent increase in illegal stays, or if the acceptance rate of asylum requests is low. Countries that refuse to take back their nationals can also experience the return of visas.