Vatican City has an open border with Italy. In 2006, it expressed interest in joining the Schengen Agreements with a view to closer cooperation on the exchange of information and similar activities under the Schengen Information System.  Exceptionally, Italy allowed people to visit Vatican City without being accepted for an Italian visa, and then to be escorted by police between the airport and the Vatican or by helicopter. [Citation required] However, there is no customs union (including customs) between Italy and the Vatican, so all vehicles are controlled at the Vatican`s borders. In June 2012, EU interior ministers decided to set up a new Schengen Assessment Mechanism (EMS) that would give national governments the power to restore border controls without the agreement of the Commission or Parliament. MEPs saw this as a short circuit of the democratic process and blocked five draft laws on justice and home affairs in retaliation. Discussions on these bills have resumed in the meantime, but agreement has not yet been reached on the SEM. Schengen states that share a common land border with a third state are allowed, in accordance with the European Union Regulation 1931/2006, to conclude or maintain bilateral agreements with neighbouring third countries for the purpose of implementing a border area system.  Such agreements define a border area of up to 50 km on both sides of the border and provide for the granting of permits for small border traffic for the inhabitants of the border area. Authorizations can be used to cross the EU`s external border within the border area, are not stamped when crossing the border and must include the name and photo of the holder, as well as a statement indicating that the holder is not allowed to travel outside the border area and that any abuse is punishable. Visa liberalisation negotiations between the EU and the Western Balkans (excluding Kosovo) began in the first half of 2008 and ended in 2009 (for Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia) and 2010 (for Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina). Prior to the total abolition of visas, the countries of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia) had signed “visa easing agreements” with the Schengen states in 2008.