Saturday, October 29, 2011
Press Conference by the Spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, Mr. Ralf Gjoni
On 1 November 2009 the “ Agreement between the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania and the Council of Ministers of Bosnia – Herzegovina on the Nationals’ Mutual Travel” becomes effective.
The signing of this Agreement became possible on 24 March 2009, as part of the commitment of the Albanian Government to open spaces of communication with the countries of the region and provide facilities for the nationals’ free travel through these spaces.
This Agreement ensures the exempt from visa obligation for all the nationals of the two countries, holders of Ordinary Passports and who like to enter, transit or stay in the territory of each of the two countries. Under the EU standards, the stay duration should not exceed 90 days( three moths) within a period of 180 days( six months).
The transition through the border checkpoints open for international or inter-state travel will be free from taxes or other obligations. This is one of the novelties of this Agreement, which complies with the desire of both parties for the maximum facilitation from barriers or obligations, bringing the practice of travel between the two countries closer to the practice of the movement of citizens in the EU space.
The nationals who on the account of family, study or employment reasons like to stay visa free in the territory of the other side for a period longer than the period permitted (90 days within 180 days) should comply with the legislation of the respective country and be issued with long – term visa in the Diplomatic / Consular Representation or to ask for the residence permit from the competent bodies.
This Agreement with have a positive impact on the facilitation of boost of contacts between the nationals of both countries and will serve the strengthening of relations at all areas. Likewise, the entry into force of this Agreement will assist in achieving the goal of Albania and Bosnia – Herzegovina on establishing a free regime for the movement of their citizens in the European space.
Question: Mr. Gjoni, what is the number of citizens travelling between the two countries and, in particular, the number of Albanian citizens moving towards Bosnia?
Ralf Gjoni: We are talking for some thousands of citizens travelling between the respective countries and with the entry into force of this Agreement, we awaiting a large increase of the flow of citizens and an increase of trade exchanges as well, in the field of tourism and investments, in particular. I might say that we are soon awaiting a visit by a large business group from B-H; certainly, the visa free movement enables the growth of the flux of nationals and trade exchanges.
Question: What about other countries of the region, and Serbia in particular, what is being done with regard to visa liberalization?
Ralf Gjoni: With our neighbor countries, with Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro, as you know, the visa regime is already lifted and Albanian citizens may travel freely without hindrances. Meanwhile, with regard to Serbia, work is going on the initiation of negotiations between the two countries to reach the same conditions that we have with the above-mentioned countries. Certainly, we are open to start these negotiations very soon and to enable the nationals of both countries travel freely; we are also open to expand cooperation even in other fields.