As far back as 2003, the EU pledged to begin discussions with the governments of the Western Balkans on the reforms necessary to lift the visa requirement for entering the Schengen area. In 2008, the EU at last formulated a series of strict requirements, assigning each country a specific “visa roadmap” – visa-free travel being the reward for meeting the benchmarks.
ESI’s Schengen White List Project wants to contribute to the abolition of the visa restrictions for the Western Balkans on the basis of this approach. We want to make sure that the EU-led process is merit-based – in other words, strict but fair.
On 15 July 2009 the European Commission proposed to lift visa requirements for Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, while maintaining it for Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Kosovo was not even included in the process. To read more about the current state of the debate and how the current approach can be improved, visit our special webpage on the Schengen White List Project.