EU abolishes visa requirements for Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia

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(18 Dec 2009)
1. Wide shot of the Belgrade square
2. Medium shot of the monument on the square
3. Close up of two Serbian flags
4. Various of people walking in the street
5. Wide shot of the Belgrade airport ‘Nikola Tesla’
6. Close up of the Belgrade airport sign and the Serbian flag
7. Wide shot of the departure area at the airport
8. Close up of the departure flights board
9. Wide of passengers at the passport control desk
10. Close up of the passport control sign in English and Serbian
11. Unidentifiable shot of customs officer stamping flight ticket and checking passport
12. Passenger standing at the passport control desk
13. Customs officer checking passport
14. Passengers at the passport control desk.
15. SOUNDBITE (Serbian) Nada, Belgrade resident: (last name unknown)
“It’s a good thing for young people and the others as well. A lot of them will now travel abroad and many of them will come here to visit. I think it’s going to be fine.”
16. SOUNDBITE (Serbian) Srdjan Milojevic, Belgrade resident:
“I live abroad. However, it’s good because my family can come and visit me without applying for visas and without any hassle, so in that way it means a lot to me.”
17. Wide of “KONTIKI” travel agency
18. People inside the travel agency
19. Various of the travel destination brochures
20. SOUNDBITE: (Serbian) Milica Zarkovic, Kontiki travel agency, public relations
“Since November 30, when the final decision about visa abolition was made, we have had more people applying for short break destinations in European cities, especially now for New Year.”
21. Pan travel brochures
22. Wide shot of Milica Delevic, head of the State Union’s EU Integration Office
23. Close up of hands
24. SOUNDBITE: (English) Milica Delevic, Head of the State Union’s EU (European Union) Integration Office:
“First of all, it sends a strong signal of political acceptance, because so far it was difficult to believe for Serbian citizens that actually there is a European prospective for them, as they were somehow perceiving this visa wall as a strong signal of rejection. So this is the first signal, that, yes, we are accepted and this European prospective is true. And then, not less importantly, it supports the wishes of Serbian citizens to move freely, to travel wherever they want. If they want to see historic monuments, cultural events, to visit friends, to make new friends, to go skiing or holiday wherever. And I think it makes more sense for supporting EU integration reforms at home if you are able to see how the EU functions.”
25. Wide shot of Milica Delevic in office
The European Union’s removal of visa requirements for the citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia was to come into effect as of midnight Friday but they will remain in place for citizens from the three other nations in the western Balkans.
The new visa regulations will apply to the so-called Schengen zone of unfettered travel, which covers 25 EU member states, as well as three non-EU members – Iceland, Norway and Switzerland – but does not include Britain and Ireland.
The move toward visa liberalisation removes one of the major irritants in relations between the 27-nation bloc and the nations of the Western Balkans. Critics said the strict visa requirements hurt the EU’s own plans to integrate the region into the bloc.
The lifting of the visa requirements will get rid of long queues at Western embassies, which many locals consider humiliating.
” strong signal of political acceptance.”

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