The European Union has scrapped visa requirements for citizens of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. But Bosnia and Albania are disapointed that the new rules do not apply to them.

Citizens of the three Balkan countries will be able to travel freely to any of the 25 EU member states, which are part of the so-called Schengen zone, after EU interior ministers agreed to lift previous visa restrictions.

The Schengen zone also includes three non-EU members - Iceland, Norway and Switzerland - but not Britain and Ireland.

Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro are eager to join the European Union and view the new visa-free travel options, which come into effect on December 19, as an important milestone toward that goal.

In October, the European Commission had recommended that any citizen of the three countries who holds a modern biometric passport be granted visa-free travel.

Before visa requirements were introduced in 1991, citizens of Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia enjoyed visa-free travel to Western Europe for 40 years as part of the Yugoslav Federation, the only communist country that permitted its citizens to travel freely abroad.

Great, more border openings.