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Parliamentary questions
9 February 2012
E-012329/2011
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission

The Commission, the Member States and the Western Balkan countries are working together to reduce the risk of abuse of the visa-free regime without compromising international standards of protection. More information on this cooperation can be found in the second Commission Staff Working Paper on the Post-Visa Liberalisation monitoring for the Western Balkan countries(1).

In reply to the specific questions,

1. No, it has not. The Schengen Borders Code(2) regulates the conditions for entry and exit to and from the territory of Member States of the European Union.

2 and 3. While candidate countries have the legal obligation to apply EU acquis only upon accession, they need to progressively align their national legislation with EU requirements within the Stabilisation and Association Process. Such progress is regularly assessed by the Commission(3). The Commission is not competent to decide on individual cases, as referred in the question. However, special attention is given to the existence of effective legal remedies and proper implementation of the decisions of the competent national and international supervisory authorities.

4. The promotion and protection of human rights are at the heart of the EU (cf the EU Annual Human Rights Report(4)). Measures reported by the western Balkans countries and by the Member States are equally applicable to all travellers regardless of their origin and therefore do not discriminate one or the other group. The fact that the majority of the asylum applicants from the Western Balkan countries are of Roma origin does not in itself mean that measures to tackle abuse of the visa-free regime are discriminatory.

(1)http://www.europarl.europa.eu/registre/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/sec/2011/1570/COM_SEC(2011)1570_EN.pdf
(2)Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders, OJ L 105, 13.4.2006.
(3)http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/press_corner/key-documents/reports_oct_2011_en.htm
(4)http://eeas.europa.eu/human_rights/docs/2011_hr_report_en.pdf

OJ C 285 E, 21/09/2012
Last updated: 17 February 2012Legal notice