TIRANA, Albania, April 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania has issued the following statement regarding the vote in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands seeking initiation of "emergency brake" procedures with respect to visa liberalisation with Albania:
The Ministry would like to inform Albanian citizens that the vote in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands to request the European Commission to initiate emergency brake procedures for visa liberalisation does not affect the actual procedures for free movement of Albanian citizens to the Schengen area. Albanian citizens will continue to move freely to Schengen countries according to current practice and by fulfilling the conditions currently in force.
An EU Member State may request the European Commission to open the procedure for the suspension of the visa-free travel only on the basis of the conditions laid down in EU legislation. No conditions are met for submitting this request from the Netherlands for the Republic of Albania.
Moreover it is the European Commission that will examine the request and provide a response. Based on objective facts and according to official figures, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania is confident that this resolution cannot find support in the European Commission since, in the case of Albania, none of the criteria that would lead to the application of the temporary suspension mechanism are fulfilled.
Illegal migration of Albanian citizens to the Netherlands has decreased continuously, while the temporary suspension mechanism applies in cases where illegal migration has risen by more than 50%. Crime figures also record a substantial decline.
Additionally, the criterion relating to cooperation between law enforcement authorities of both countries has been considered excellent by both Albanian and Dutch officials. Dutch politicians have cited as their reason to question visa-free travel the alleged impact of Albanian criminals on Dutch society. In reality, of the 244,500 suspects that were arrested in The Netherlands in 2018, only 470 were Albanian, or 0.019%. See: https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/82315NED/table?ts=1537951241511
The Government of the Republic of Albania is committed to continue intensifying its cooperation with the authorities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and as well as with other EU member states in combating illegal cross-border activities.
Unfortunately the electoral climate in the Netherlands has had its own impact and although we regret the insertion of Albania into domestic party agendas, there is no doubt that beyond the European elections horizon the facts will prevail over electoral cliches.
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs wants to make use of this opportunity to once again call on Albanian citizens to comply with the travel document requirements before departure for the Schengen zone.
More information on the required travel documents is available at the official website of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. https://punetejashtme.gov.al/levizja-e-lire-ne-vendet-e-hapesires-shengen/