Congratulations to Bosnia (and Albania). Finally, the European Union reached agreement today to revoke visa requirements for Bosnia and Albania. The decision will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union on December 14, and citizens from Bosnia will be able to travel to the Schengen countries without visas beginning December 15 this year.
A passport from Yugoslavia was considered one of the best in the world. Yugoslav citizens could travel freely unlike their neighbors in the former Soviet Union. After the wars in the 1990s and political chaos in Albania, a strict visa regime was imposed.
Serbia and Montenegro were given visa liberalization on December 19th last year (see post “Serbia Moves Forward“). This created problems in Bosnia because many citizens hold two passports. Bosnian Croats also hold Croatian passports, and Bosnian Serbs have Serbian passports. This means that in the past year, the Bosniak (Muslims) had the biggest travel problems in the country.
So… congratulations to Bosnia for achieving visa liberalization. It might not feel like a huge change for many citizens, due to holding other passports. The economic situation in Bosnia is dire and most people cannot afford to travel abroad for vacation. Visa liberalization, however, is a symbolic step for the entire country.