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Serbia Risks EU Visa Liberalisation Due to Simplified Citizenship Rules for Some Third Countries

Concerns have been raised by the European Commission concerning the presence of some simplified procedures for awarding citizenship to internationals by governments that benefit from visa liberalisation with the European Union.

Serbia Risks EU Visa Liberalisation Due to Simplified Citizenship Rules for Some Third Countries

According to a Radio Free Europe report, a European Commission spokesperson stated that citizens from third countries have the ability to avoid Schengen procedures in order to obtain visas, posing a risk to the security of EU countries, particularly Serbia, which had such a scheme.

“The Commission has a general concern about the different versions of citizenship schemes, such as the simplified procedure for granting citizenship after a short period of residence. This could pose a public and security risk to the EU, as Serbia enjoys visa-free movement within the EU,” the spokesperson of the European Commission told Radio Free Europe.

According to the same source, the Commission will continue to monitor such naturalisation programmes as well as the granting of citizenship by governments with visa liberalisation under the mechanism for visa suspension.

Furthermore, the Commission's spokeswoman stated that the visa policies of adjacent countries have a substantial impact on the mobility of immigrants to EU countries.

“In the case of Serbia, adaptation to the European Union visa regime is important to continue fulfilling the criteria for visa liberalisation. Serbia has taken an important step in adapting its visa regime to that of the EU. The Commission encourages Serbia to continue its efforts in this direction in order to have a complete adaptation”, the European Commission pointed out.

Serbia was previously chastised for removing visas for certain third-country nationals, primarily those who have not accepted the Republic of Kosovo as an independent entity. Simultaneously, certain EU member states have reported an increase in the number of illegal immigrants and asylum applicants from these territories.

Despite the fact that Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008, Serbia does not accept its neighbor's independence. Currently, Kosovars must apply for a visa to travel to EU nations; however, this requirement will be eliminated beginning next year as part of the visa-free agreement with the EU.

Cuba, Burundi, and Tunisia are among the nations from which the EU states get a considerable number of migrants.

The European Commission stated in a statement that inhabitants of Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia will be able to travel without a visa beginning in December 2009.

However, Serbian authorities were forced to return visas to these nations after the EU threatened to halt visa liberalisation for Serbia.



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