Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Parliament ratifies agreements on visa relaxations, readmission

Belgrade, Nov 7, 2007 – Serbian parliament adopted today laws on ratifying the agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the EU on relaxing visa regime and the agreement between Serbia and the EU on readmission of persons residing in the EU illegally.

The agreements on visa relaxations and readmission, which were signed on September 18, 2007 in Brussels, should come into force on January 1 next year.

Ratification of these agreements is an important step forward in EU association and in the process of Serbia’s inclusion in the White Schengen List.

The agreement on visa relaxation regards certain categories of citizens and will simplify and accelerate the procedure of obtaining visas for EU countries. The cost of visa will be fixed at €35.

Relaxations will apply to businesspeople, lawyers, doctors, architects and other professionals, journalists, scientists, artists, sportspersons, students, professional drivers, civil servants, as well as representatives of religious and non-governmental organisations.

This document will also apply to citizens who need to travel to EU countries for medical treatment, to visit civil and military graveyards, to attend funerals or to visit family, and to tourists whose travel plans are arranged by respectable tourist agencies.

The agreement on readmission regulates the return of Serbian citizens, citizens of other countries and those without citizenship who entered EU territory through Serbia to stay in EU territory illegally.

Ratification of the agreement on readmission has shown that Serbia is willing to make such agreements with all interested countries, and that Serbia is ready to fully cooperate with the EU in organised, reciprocal and institutionalised return of persons staying illegally in EU countries.

The agreement defines the procedure of readmission; the process of return according to highest European standards, deadlines, expenses and protection instruments.

Parliament also ratified the agreement between the council of ministers of the former state union of Serbia-Montenegro and the French government on returning and accepting illegal aliens.

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