Films and exhibitions
- White Wedding, an exhibition by Kosovo artists on the problem of visa liberalization in Kosovo, Pristina – Brussels, February 2010
- Balkan Cage, a short film by Boris Kaeski (1'46"), November 2008
- Return to Europe: The European visa regime (Bosnia), 2008
- Return to Europe: Costs of isolation in Kosovo, 2008
- Return to Europe: No Balkan Ghetto – It depends on us (Trailer), 2007
- Should I stay or should I go, a short film by Peter Gerlach (1'30"), supported by OBESSU (Organising Bureau of the European School Student Unions), 2005
Using the Western Balkan experience and ESI's Schengen White Project as an example, a number of networks of think-tanks and NGOs have come together to help the EU's Eastern Partners (Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus) achieve visa liberalisation:
Since its creation in 2008, the Ukrainian NGO "Europe without Barriers" (EWB) promotes efforts towards the abolition of visa restrictions between the European Union and Ukraine. Initially created as a consortium of nine Ukrainian NGOs, it became a full-fledged independent NGO in 2009.
In November 2010 the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland launched the "Coalition for a European Continent Undivided by Visa-Barriers". It comprises more than 30 NGOs coming from all over Europe. By its own description, the "coalition takes joint actions to speed up the process of EU visa liberalization with the countries of the Eastern Partnership (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) and Russia. We want to make ourselves better heard by decision-makers and make a stronger stand for a visa-free Europe."
In March 2011, a new multi-NGO project "No Visa" was launched by PASOS (Policy Association for an Open Society), with the support of the OSI- Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative. As a consortium of 8 different NGOs, the project advocates for establishing visa-free travel regimes between the EU and the six Eastern Partnership countries.
The projects have generated a lot of worthwhile studies, among them:
- International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS), Mission Impossible? A visa liberalisation view from within the EU, by Raul Hernandez i Sagrera, European Focus Nr. 14, June 2011
- Policy Association for an Open Society (PASOS), How to achieve visa-free regime with the European Union? The Western Balkan countries experience for Ukraine (Comparison Serbia roadmap/Ukraine action plan by Group 484 from Serbia) (Part 1; Part 2), March 2011.
- Stefan Batory Foundation // Europe Without Barriers, "Learning from the Western Balkans Experience", by Alexandra Stiglmayer, Batory Foundation Policy Brief (January 2011).
- Europe without Barriers; Center for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy of Ukraine, "Visa-free Travel with the EU is Achievable", by Alexandra Stiglmayer in, "Visa-free Europe for the Eastern Partnership: A Way to Achieve", Kiev (2010).
NGOs in the Western Balkans and the EU monitored the efforts of their governments to implement the visa roadmaps and qualify for visa-free travel. They acquired expertise and played a crucial role in promoting reforms in their countries.
- European Movement in Albania, How does visa-free travel in the Schengen area affect Albanian citizens? (Findings of a survey), 21 April 2011
- European Movement in Albania, Informative Booklet on the Visa Liberalisation Process, February 2011
- Reactor, Taking Down the Schengen Wall, Skopje, 24 April 2009
- Analytica, Ending 'Ghettoisation' of the Western Balkans. Visa Liberalisation Prospects, Skopje, 20 March 2009
- Policy Association for an Open Society (PASOS)/European Institute Bulgaria, Could EU visa-free travel become a key incentive for Western Balkans countries to establish better democratic institutions and the rule of law?, Policy Brief, 5 March 2009.
- Group 484, Towards White Schengen List, Serbia Progress Report on Visa Liberalisation Process, Belgrade, December 2008
- Center for Research and Policymaking (CRPM), Macedonian Progress with regard to the Benchmarks set in the Roadmap on Visa Liberalisation, October 2008
- Agenda Institute, Towards visa free regime, Tirana, December 2007
- Analytica, Grassroots Europeanisation in the Western Balkans is just starting: Visa facilitation, Brief, Skopje, May 2007.
- Institute of International Politics and Economics, European Movement in Serbia, Group 484, Visa Policy and the Western Balkans, Belgrade 2006
- Group 484, Towards the white Schengen list, Belgrade, December 2005
- International Crisis Group, EU Visas and the Western Balkans, 29 November 2005
Some had also taken a hard look at the visa facilitation agreements.
- European Movement in Albania (EMA), One year from the Visa Facilitation Agreement. What has really changed?, January 2009
- European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) project: Does it really matter? Visa facilitation in the Western Balkans - Monitoring of the new agreements, 2008
Examining the levels of crime in the Balkans in 2008, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime came to the surprising conclusion that most of the region is safer than Western Europe with regard to conventional crime, and that organised crime activity is diminishing.
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Crime and its Impact on the Balkans, May 2008
Based on a survey of 28,000 people in 2010, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime produced a report on corruption in the Western Balkans. It came to the conclusion that corruption is of major concern for citizens of the region, ranking third in the list of most pressing issues, after unemployment and poverty, but well ahead of security and education.
United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Corruption in the Western Balkans: Bribery as experiences by the population, May 2011
The Balkan Monitor of Gallup, one of the world's leading polling institutes, analysed attitudes towards migration in the Western Balkans in 2006 and 2008. The data shows that, unlike widely believed, relatively few people have concrete plans to leave their home countries.
- Gallup Balkan Monitor, Insights and Perceptions: voices of the Balkans, 2010 findings
- Gallup Balkan Monitor, Focus On: The impact of migration, June 2009 (report)
- Gallup Balkan Report, The Western Balkans: the impact of migration, 26 June 2009
Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, president of the Romania's largest think-tank SAR (Romanian Academic Society), examined in 2005 how many people from the Balkans would be willing to emigrate to the EU:
- Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Seeking the Virtuous Circle: Migration and Development in South Eastern Europe. In: Development and Transition, A newsletter published by UNDP and the London School of Economics, Issue 2, November 2005, pp. 7-11. The article is based on a study done for UNDP
The Secretariat of the EU Council publishes annually detailed statistical information about Schengen visa applications, approvals and denials.
A number of foundations and NGOs are trying to work against the isolation of the citizens of the Western Balkans, in particular the young generation. In collaboration with the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the Robert Bosch Stiftung annually organises a one-month trip in Europe for several hundred students from the Western Balkans, helping them to get a visa and the mandatory health insurance, and providing them with train tickets and some pocket money.
- Robert Bosch Stiftung, Travel to Europe
Please let us know if you think that other core texts and essential reading should be added here, by contacting Alexandra Stiglmayer, ESI Senior Analyst in Brussels.