The proposal of the European Commission, adopted by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, to introduce authorisation for citizens from the Western Balkans countries travelling to the Schengen area sounds like abolishing the visa-free regime through the back door.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is not a visa. A visa free traveller does obviously not need a visa to enter the Schengen area, and ETIAS will not change this. ETIAS will be an automated IT system created to identify any risks associated with a visa-exempt visitor travelling to the Schengen Area. This concerns citizens of all visa free countries, currently over 60 countries including the US and Canada.
ETIAS is expected to be operational as of 2020, pending the adoption in the European Parliament and Council.