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Serbia ratifies visa, readmission agreements with EU
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08:36, November 08, 2007

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The Serbian parliament ratified on Wednesday two agreements with the European Union on easing visa restrictions and facilitating the readmission of illegal migrants.

Members of the Serbian parliament backed bills on confirmation of the two linked agreements, which was signed by Serbian Interior Minister Dragan Jocic and EU officials in Brussels on Sept. 18.

The agreement on easing visa restrictions envisages that journalists, business people, students, scientists, artists and some other categories of the Serbian population will have easier access to the so-called Schengen visas that allow free travel when crossing the borders between most EU members.

Under the deal, visa applicants will need to submit fewer documents and will undergo a simplified and faster procedure for obtaining a Schengen visa.

The readmission agreement facilitates the organized return of illegal immigrants to Serbia of Serbian citizens or people from other countries who have entered the EU countries via Serbia.

According to the official information, 18,000 people have so far returned to Serbia through readmission. It is estimated that another 47,000 people should return from European Union countries, mainly from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Both agreements are key elements of the Stability and Association Agreement, which was initialed on Wednesday in Brussels by Serbia and the European Union to pave way for Serbia's eventual EU membership.

Source: Xinhua



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