Michael Georg Link, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (19 April) regarding the current discussion in Germany of limiting visa free travel for nationals of Serbia and FYR Macedonia:
There are definitely no plans, in the EU or any member state, to reintroduce visa requirements for Serbs or Macedonians. Rather, there are ongoing negotiations within the EU regarding a tightly defined general safeguard clause. In this process the German Government has managed to ensure that the European Commission performs a key role. The idea is that visa free travel could be suspended for a maximum of six months only at the Commission’s proposal and under certain exceptional circumstances.
We should bear in mind that such a restriction of visa free travel would, for the most part, have unintended consequences: it is young people, companies and representatives of civil society who benefit most from visa free travel. All parties involved should resist any temptation to try to resolve such a sensitive and complex problem with simplistic solutions.