One step towards freer movement in the Balkans

Bosnia and Macedonia have signed an agreement that will allow passport-free travel for citizens of both countries. However, no such agreement is on the horizon for Kosovo.

Tijana Cvjeticanin
Tijana Cvjeticanin Istinomjer, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Source: Istinomjer
One step towards freer movement in the Balkans - NewsMavens
Border between BIH and Montenegro. Wikimedia Commons.

Why this story matters:

To get from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Macedonia, you have to pass through a combination of Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo and Serbia. There is also no direct flight between the two countries.

But in a show of good will, and mirroring an agreement with Serbia, BiH has made travel to Macedonia passport-free. BiH also allows non-passport travel to and from Montenegro.

This stands in stark contrast with the rigid visa regime that BiH still has with Kosovo. 

Civil society organizations and some public figures continue to appeal to BiH authorities to end unreasonable travel restrictions between the two countries. But as long as political representatives from Republika Srpska refuse to recognize Kosovo in any capacity, aligning with Serbia's denial of its independence, there is little hope that these borders will open any time soon.

politics,conflict

Details from the story:

  • For several years, members of current BiH state administration have urged closer ties with Macedonia.
  • Officials pledged to allow travel between the two nations without passports, but the process took longer than promised.
  • On March 12, in Skopje, Macedonia's capital, ministers of the exterior from both countries signed an agreement allowing border crossing with a personal ID card. 
  • A protocol on education also was signed so students from each country can study in the other.
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