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News 25 Oct 17

Balkan States’ Passports Rank as Average in Global Survey

An online index that ranks states' passports based on how many countries people can enter with them has placed most Balkan states somewhere in the middle - with the exception of Kosovo.

Filip Rudic
BIRN
Belgrade
Illustration. Photo: Passport Index/Facebook

Balkan countries that are members of the EU fared significantly better than their non-EU neighbours in the latest Passport Index, which ranks countries based on how many other states can be accessed with their respective passports.

On the list, ranked from one to 94, Croatia took 14th place, as 144 countries can be visited using a Croatian passport without a visa.

Bulgaria and Romania, also members of the European Union, shared 15th spot, as their passport holders are able to visit 143 countries without a visa.

Non-EU states from the Balkans gravitated towards the middle of the pack.

Serbia ranked 38th with visa-free access to 113 countries, while Macedonia shared 41th place with the Russian Federation, citizens of both being able to access 108 countries, while Montenegro was close behind in 43rd place, with its citizens able to visit 105 states.

Bosnia and Herzegovina took 46th place with visa-free access to 101 countries, while Albania ranked one slot lower at 47, with 96 countries accessible.

The worst-ranked country in the Balkans was Kosovo (84th), whose independence is challenged by Serbia, hindering it from joining international bodies and gaining more recognition.

Kosovo’s rank makes its passport the least ‘powerful’ in Europe, allowing visa-free access to only 41 countries.

The Passport Index ranked 193 United Nations member countries and six territories - Taiwan, Macao, Hong Kong, Kosovo, the Palestinian Territories and the Vatican - sorting them into 94 positions.

The most powerful passport belongs to Singapore, followed by Germany, with Sweden and South Korea in joint third place.

In last place is Afghanistan, with Iraq and Pakistan ahead of it in 93rd, Syria in 92nd and Somalia in 91st.

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