Friday, December 18, 2009

Visa liberalization to begin at midnight
18 December 2009 09:54 Source: B92

BELGRADE -- Serbian citizens with biometric passports will be able to travel to countries of the EU Schengen Zone without visas as of midnight tonight. After two decades, Serbian citizens will not need visas to enter countries of the European Union. Serbian police (MUP) Director Milorad Veljović said that the border police are prepared for such a traffic regime. Serbian citizens will be on the white Schengen list and will be able to cross into Hungary and travel all the way up to Great Britain without visas.

“The border will be able to be crosses exactly at midnight. At the border crossings, police are completely prepared, all border police have instructions how this regime works and is controlled,” Veljović said. Visas are still needed to enter Romania and Bulgaria, which have not joined the Schengen zone yet, and for Great Britain and Ireland. However, visas have been abolished for non-EU member-states Switzerland, Norway and Iceland as well. EU officials in Brussels explained that the decision sends a clear message to Serbia that its place is within the EU, and is recognition of Belgrade showing excellent administrative capacities and achieving all obligations for visa liberalization in a short period of time.

Belgrade officials see the liberalization as the abolishment of the final set of sanctions against its citizens from the 1990s. Among the first people to travel without visas to the EU from Serbia will be participators in the “Europe for Everyone” project—50 selected citizens who will take off with Deputy Prime Minister Božidar Đelić at one minute after midnight on a plane from the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport en route to Brussels.

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