27 May 2008 The speaker of the Albanian Parliament, Jozefina Topalli, insisted that the EU liberalise its visa requirements towards Albanian citizens at a conference on the perspectives before South-eastern Europe that took place in Brussels recently, national media reported today.
The Albanian government is aware of its commitments, Topalli said at the conference, according to the daily Albanian newspaper Koha Jone, but using double standards towards various countries regarding the visa regime is not right. Topalli also claimed that the inability of Albanian citizens to move freely around the EU is causing them serious problems, which is why Albania will continue to negotiate the full liberalisation of the visa regime.
EU in an initiative to ease the visa restrictions for the Western Balkan countries, the EU has already started a dialogue with Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania. Though all the countries are expected to fulfil certain criteria, such as document security and tackling organised crime and corruption before the restrictions are completely dropped, some benefits have been enjoyed by Albanian citizens since the beginning of the year: Some categories of visa applicants, such as students, cultural workers and journalists now go through a facilitated process and the fee to obtain the travel permit was lowered.