The announced new system of entry into the Schengen area “does not mean a return of visas.”

This is according to the EU commissioner for migration and internal affairs, who delivered “a message to citizens” in the Western Balkans.

“The Western Balkans is a key region and a close partner of the EU. All our intentions are with the goal of preserving this closeness and partnership, as well as to simplify the movement and contacts between people between the EU and the Western Balkans,” Dimitris Avramopoulos has been quoted as saying by Tanjug on Tuesday.

He recalled that a year ago, the European Commission proposed setting up the EU Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) “to boost European capabilities in terms of security and migration risks that were based on an increased number of travelers without visas.”

Enhanced security, Avramopoulos continued, benefits both the EU and the countries that have a visa-free regime, in order to preserve “reciprocal movements.”

“ETIAS is not a visa, but a simple and cheap, convenient mechanism for travelers that applies to all countries whose citizens travel without visa to the Schengen area, including the United States and Canada,” he said.

In his “message to the citizens of the Western Balkans” Avramopoulos said this new system was “only a small procedural step that will in a huge number of cases facilitate travel to the EU, consolidate common security while avoiding bureaucracy, and delays while entering the EU.”

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