Anna Marias initiative to ensure the well functioning of the VISA Liberalisation – 10 November 2010
Today, at the EPP group meeting I expressed my continued support for the visa liberalisation for the citizens of FYROM, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina. I am, really committed to facilitate people to people contact in a European perspective, especially thinking at the young generations.
Free Visa is granted to give the possibility to the people of those countries to freely travel to the EU-Schengen area for three months. It does not entitle permanent residence. Unfortunately, there have been signs of incorrect use of visa liberalisation. Concerns have been voiced primarily in Belgium, Germany and Sweden for the sudden rise of asylum requests from FYROM and Serbia mainly based on economic reasons. We have to work together with the Commission and the third countries concerned to ensure proper information for their citizens and to support the countries that have received free visa regime to take their responsibility in preventing misuse. I welcomed the initiative taken so far from Commissioner Malmström to address the problem. In order to be credible in granting visa liberalisation, we need to be determined against abuse.
Against this background, I have submitted together with other EPP Members an ”oral question” to the Commission asking for a debate at the next plenary, as follows.
”Concerns about the correct application of the EU visa liberalisation Scheme in Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
The Council decided to grant visa free travel to and throughout the Schengen area for citizens of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It did so by adopting amendments to regulation No 539/2001. The visa waiver applied from 19 December 2009 to holders of biometric passports.
The European Commission (COM 2009/366) had concluded that The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia met all the benchmarks by the date of adoption of this Regulation and the European Parliament (2009/0104(CNS), PE 428.146) had voted in favour of granting the Visa free regime on the 12th November 2009.
In the view of the recent concerns expressed in Belgium, Germany, Sweden and by similar observations made by Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, regarding the increased number of applications for asylum from Serbian and FYR Macedonian citizens and of the possibility of reaching the situation that would endanger the EU Visa liberalisation scheme introduced in 2009,
Does the Commission consider it pertinent to intervene to help the national responsible authorities from Serbia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to deal with the current situation, to properly inform their citizens in order to prevent the misuse of Visa liberalisation and stabilize the asylum applicant flows?