Could the Danish border issue signal stresses in the visa-free travels in Europe


Thursday, 09 June 2011
As the Danes try to trash out how to deal with their border checking issue, there is growing concern that there might be stresses in the visa free travelling within the EU. Some members such as Sweden are even calling for withdrawal of countries that are abusing the visa free system.

According to radio Sweden, EU governments agree that the Union must be able to revoke the visa free travel concession for countries whose nationals are abusing the system. That was made abundantly clear after a ministerial meeting held today.

The way Tobias Billstr�m, the Swedish Minister for Migration sees the situation is that, “if we should still be able to get more states in this system of visa-free, there must be such a mechanism, because it is a matter of trust,” said Mr Billstr�m, speaking to radio Sweden.

At the end of 2009 citizens of Serbia and Macedonia enter the EU visa-free regime. But then, among other things, Sweden received several thousand of applications for asylum seekers from these countries, although they lacked grounds for asylum.


The European commissioner responsible for this type of system, Swedish Cecila Malmstr�m has called this an abuse of the visa exemption. Two weeks ago, she suggested, that one way to resolve these types of situation is withdrawal of visa free movement from these types of countries for up to six months.

According to Mr Billstr�m, in today’s meeting, there was a show broad consensus among his ministerial colleagues about such a change in the system. Billstr�m was himself at Brussels airport before Christmas 2009 and received his first Serbs who travelled without a visa, and he is disappointed with what visa exemption has led to.

He feels that majority of the Serbian population has not been involved in this type of asylum applications as such “they should continue to travel visa-free. But if we are to solve this problem, there must be some kind of mechanism to handle it, "said Tobias Billstr�m to radio Sweden.

Visa freedom is based on the EU believes that a country lives up to the new democratic principles and defense of the rights of ethnic minorities.

But Sweden's migration minister wonders if the EU Commission made a good enough assessment of Serbia before the country's citizens had to start visa-free travel to the EU.
“Had the Commission do a good job? It could have done a better job, I would say, "said Tobias Billstr�m to radio Sweden. 

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