Dutch gov’t officially asks EC to remove visa-free regime with Albania

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 31, 2019 14:33

Dutch gov’t officially asks EC to remove visa-free regime with Albania

Story Highlights

  • On Friday, the Dutch government officially submitted the request to ban Albanians from moving without visas to the Netherlands to the European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

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TIRANA, May 30 – The Netherlands’ parliament officially presented to the European Commission on Friday a request to return the visa regime for Albanians.

105 Dutch MPs from the five main political parties – VVD, CDA, PVV, SP and CU – out of 150 in total made the majority that voted the visas’ reintroduction proposal.

“After many discussions, pointing out that: there has been a considerable criminality rise from the Albanian mafia, whose organizations use the visa-free regime to move freely across Europe and expand their contraband, we ask the government to present to the European Commission a request to urgently begin the process of stopping visa free travel with Albania,” the Dutch parliament’s April 16 decision read.

On Friday, the Dutch government officially submitted the request to ban Albanians from moving without visas to the Netherlands to the European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Immediate was the reaction of the Dutch Embassy to Tirana, which clarified to Albanians the existing visa-free regime will stay in place until the European Commission decides whether the Dutch request should be approved.

On May 29, the EC recommended to the European Parliament the unconditional opening of accession talks with Albania, assessing the country has fulfilled the criteria placed by the EU to open the negotiation process for membership.

However, this was the third time the EC made the recommendation – last year, member states such as the Netherlands rejected the EC’s proposal, arguing the country has not taken concrete steps and yielded results in the fight against organized crime and corruption.

This week as well, a group of Dutch MPs visited the country and, in a public assessment, said Albania does not punish its corrupt officials and needs to further step up its fight against corruption.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 31, 2019 14:33