- Title: Serbia, Albania, N.Macedonia agree to allow passport-free travel
- Date: 10th October 2019
- Summary: NOVI SAD, SERBIA (OCTOBER 10, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** RAMA, VUCIC, AND ZAEV ARRIVING TO NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) SERBIAN PRESIDENT, ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, SAYING: "Our goal is to create conditions so that, by the end of 2021, you can cross each of our borders with only an ID at most. We don't have that option today with Albania. I believe that at one of our future meetings we will be able to tell you that you will no longer need a passport to cross the Albanian border, and the other way round." RAMA, VUCIC, AND ZAEV STANDING DURING NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Serbian) SERBIAN PRESIDENT, ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, SAYING: "All of us (here) are in various stages on the European path. Those are our friends, but we here represent sovereign countries, responsible nations. Neither we nor our nations are immature in a way to need tutoring, we are capable of taking care of ourselves." VUCIC SEEN ON CAMERA DISPLAY (SOUNDBITE) (Albanian) ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER, EDI RAMA, SAYING: "We took it upon ourselves that by the year 2021 this area, which includes countries of the Western Balkans, is a territory where the four freedoms (of the European Union) are not just aspirations to strive towards, but actual reality. Where freedom of movement for everyone is the same as it is in the (EU's passport-free) Schengen area. We may decide to call it something else, but the principle is the same, for everyone to be able to travel around freely in our region." REPORTER TYPING ON LAPTOP (SOUNDBITE) (Macedonian) NORTH MACEDONIAN PRIME MINISTER, ZORAN ZAEV, SAYING: "With this (plan) the Balkans region will definitely be more respected in the world, it will be more competitive, and it will be much more attractive to our own citizens to stay here, to live and work here, to plan their lives here. And also, it will be more attractive to foreign investors who will be able to plan their investments better thanks to the resources the region offers." JOURNALIST FILMING RAMA, VUCIC AND ZAEV POSING FOR PHOTO OP
- Embargoed: 24th October 2019 14:48
- Keywords: Balkans Passport-free travel cross border deal economic area Albania Edi Rama Serbia North Macedonia Aleksandar Vucic Zoran Zaev
- Location: NOVI SAD, SERBIA
- City: NOVI SAD, SERBIA
- Country: Serbia
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003B0IKTH5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The leaders of Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia agreed on Thursday (October 10) to allow passport-free travel for their citizens by 2021 and a speedier cross-border flow of goods to boost regional economic development.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told a joint news conference with the prime ministers of Albania and North Macedonia that the three countries wanted to make it possible for people only to show national identification "at most" when crossing the countries' shared borders.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the aim was for people living in the region to travel freely and said it had the same principle as the EU's passport-free Schengen zone.
North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said the agreement would make the region more attractive for living and working for citizens as well as for foreign investors.
The move is not a specific requirement of the EU but comes at a time when there is growing resistance within the bloc to further enlargement.
Six Western Balkan countries - Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia - hope to join the European Union, but their accession has been slowed down by Brexit and other factors.
(Production: Branko Filipovic, David Spaic, Dominik Starosz)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None