ESI senior analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer was invited to a conference entitled "Montenegro on the path towards the White Schengen List" organised by the Open Society Institute and the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) in Przno, Montenegro.
Alexandra presented ESI's White Schengen List Project and congratulated Montenegro's government for having met all roadmap benchmarks and, in all likelihood, having ensured visa-travel for Montenegrins from 19 December 2009 on. In reference to the theme of her panel – "The region's European perspective – the significance of visa liberalisation" – she stressed three points:
- She said the process was a good exercise for Montenegro in implementing the acquis, a process Montenegro will start intensively once it is declared a candidate country and membership negotiations begin; she explained that many of the roadmap requirements are part of the Justice and Home Affairs chapter.
- Secondly, Alexandra said Balkan governments, while implementing and respecting EU legislation and standards, must be demanding towards the EU, otherwise they would have got neither the visa process nor make much progress on the accession path.
- She also emphasised that the roadmap reforms that Montenegro has carried out need to be sustained – it would be catastrophic if the government lost its drive after the abolition of the visa requirement – and that they make Montenegro, but also the EU safer.
Other participants included Srdjan Darmanovic, President of CEDEM, Ivan Brajovic, Minister of Interior in the Government of Montenegro, Vladimir Todoric, Director of the Legal Forum, Belgrade, and Clive Rumbold, Deputy Head of the Delegation of European Commission to Montenegro.