"EU countries to individually reintroduce visas"

BELGRADE -- The EP rapporteur for visa liberalization issues expects that EU member-states will soon be able reintroduce visas for Serbia and Macedonia individually.

A Serbian passport (stock, file)
A Serbian passport (stock, file)

Tanja Fajon says a new "mechanism" will likely be adopted as EU ministers meet on October 25, and on the request of Germany, which cites "an exceedingly high number of false asylum seekers".

This European Parliament (EP) official also said she hoped that countries would not use the possibility that the new "mechanism" would provide them with:

"I expect that this mechanism will probably be adopted by the end of the year. There are still some open issues, the pressure of some member-countries is greater now, and I expect that we will, along with the Council, reach some agreement in parliament. I hope that no country will be in a situation to suspend the visa-free regime."

Fajon told B92 that the countries requesting the measure recorded the highest increase in asylum seekers coming from either Serbia or Macedonia, and that they were Belgium, Holland, Sweden, and Germany.

Even if the EU fails to agree on the said "mechanism", individual countries would still be able to suspend the regime, the EP rapporteur explained:

"Individually there is some minor possibility, as was the case with Austria which temporarily closed its borders for some sporting events, but that is not what we are discussing today. The other possibility that is already present is to change the whole regulative, and that's a lengthy process that goes through all three procedures in order to place a country back on the black Schengen list. That cannot be done in half a year, perhaps not even in a year."

Although the number of fake asylum seekers is growing, she does not believe that it has reached alarming levels.

"What I am aware of, and it was said in Germany recently - is that in September alone some 2,000 people from Serbia sought asylum. I still think the number is not that alarming if we look at other asylum seekers, however, in any case for Serbia - the winter is coming and more people are leaving Serbia during the winter, and for that reason it is important for the authorities to do all they can to prevent abuses," said Fajon.