The European Union Commission has issued its sixth report on the monitoring of the visa-free regime with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine, calling for prompt action.
According to the Commission, all of the aforementioned countries continue to meet the visa liberalisation requirements and have made progress in resolving last year's recommendations. Nonetheless, it has been said that quick action is required to line with EU visa rules.
“All countries assessed continued to take measures to address irregular migration. However, further effort is needed to address ongoing concerns,” the statement of the Commission reads, referring to the migration issue.
The EU Commission emphasised the importance of adhering to EU visa rules while also pointing out that failure to do so may result in an increase in unlawful migrant arrivals and advised that the issue be addressed as a matter of priority.
The Commission emphasised the importance of addressing Frontex status agreements as well as anti-smuggling operational strategies.
Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and North Macedonia have already agreed to authorise the deployment of a Frontex standing corps at all of the partner nations' borders. Furthermore, at the EU Western Balkans Ministerial on JHA, a regional Anti-Smuggling Operation Partnership was established.
Concerning national security, the EU Commission stated that the eight nations are continuing to take efforts to safeguard themselves as well as battle organised crime. Nonetheless, it has been stated that additional measures are required to address high-level corruption, the battle against organised crime, and golden passports.
“Maintaining this achievement, however, requires constant vigilance. In particular, steps should be taken promptly to increase visa policy alignment as part of the engagement and commitment to the European Union through both our visa agreements and, for many of our partners, the accession process,” Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said, commenting on the report.
Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs, also stated that visa-free nations in the Western Balkans must continue to increase their efforts in combating organised crime and corruption, as well as handling migration and asylum.
Despite the fact that the report has already been presented, the Commission stated that it will continue to monitor compliance with the standards for visa liberalisation. The monitoring of factors connected to visa liberalisation benchmarks will also continue to be included in the Commission's annual expansion package.
By fLEXI tEAM