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Parliamentary questions
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29 November 2019
Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002737/2019

The Commission systematically monitors the ongoing compliance with the visa liberalisation requirements by third countries under the Visa Suspension Mechanism(1). In the case of Albania, the need for information campaigns on the rights and obligations of visa-free travel was identified in the first and second reports under the Visa Suspension Mechanism in 2017 and 2018(2).

As a follow up to these recommendations, the Albanian authorities have organised public campaigns, which included the production and distribution of leaflets and posters with information on the rights and obligations of Albanian citizens while traveling in the Schengen area, as well as penalties for violations of these obligations(3). Similar content is published on the Albanian authorities’ websites and social media accounts. In 2017 and 2018, the Albanian authorities implemented a project ‘Prevention of unsafe migration from Albania to EU countries’ in cooperation with the International Organisation for Migration(4).

At the same time, the Commission is also carrying out information and awareness raising campaigns on the risks of irregular migration in key countries of origin and transit for migrants(5). Recently, in July 2019, a call for proposals in the framework of the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund has been launched to fund such projects in the Western Balkan region too, including Albania(6). The call invites initiatives focusing on informing at an earlier step of migrants’ journey in order to counter smugglers and traffickers’ narratives; debunk myths on life and work in the EU; and provide objective information about European migration and asylum policies.

(1)In accordance with Article 8(4) of Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018, listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement, OJ L 303, 28.11.2018, p. 39.
(2) COM (2017)815 final and COM(2018)856 final.
(3)The Albanian National Strategy on Migration and its Action Plan for 2019-2022, adopted in June 2019, also includes among its key priorities the organisation of regular awareness-raising campaigns to inform Albanian citizens of the rules and conditions of visa-free travel in the EU.
(4)In the framework of this project, awareness-raising meetings and workshops were held in the regions of Durres, Diber, Kukës, Elbasan, Shkodra, Korça, Vlora, Fier, Gjirokastra, Tirana, Berat, Lezha with the participation of various government agencies and institutions.
(5)AMIF 2017, AMIF 2018.
Last updated: 2 December 2019Legal notice