18 December 2009
ESI conference in Pristina: "Visa-free travel for Kosovo: Time for a breakthrough"
Ulrike Lunacek, Zenun Pajaziti, Renzo Daviddi, and Ivica Bocevsk
Ulrike Lunacek, Zenun Pajaziti, Renzo Daviddi, and Ivica Bocevsk

Kosovo is one of the most isolated places on earth. Most Kosovo citizens have personally experienced the frustration and uncertainty that accompanies the costly process of applying for a Schengen visa.

In October, the Commission put forward a proposal to launch a 'visa dialogue' with Kosovo. In November, the European Parliament demanded that Kosovo is offered a Visa Roadmap; the first concrete step on the path towards visa-free travel. In December, the Council confirmed Kosovo's perspective of eventual visa liberalisation, once all the conditions are met.

But is the commitment to visa-free travel real? Will Kosovo be judged, as the other countries in the region, on its merits in implementing the reforms? And, what can we learn from the Macedonian example?

To address these issues, ESI organised a panel discussion at Hotel Victory in Pristina together with:

  • Ulrike Lunacek, Kosovo Rapporteur, European Parliament
  • Zenun Pajaziti, Minister of Interior, Kosovo
  • Renzo Daviddi, Head of the European Commission Liaison Office, Kosovo
  • Ivica Bocevski, former Macedonian Vice Prime Minister responsible for European Affairs
  • Moderated by: Verena Knaus, Senior Analyst, European Stability Initiative (ESI)

The aim of the conference was to take stock following the announcements by the European Commission and the Council of "a structured approach to bring Kosovo's citizens closer to the EU through a visa dialogue with the perspective of eventual visa liberalisation".

The conference took place within the framework of ESI's Schengen White List Project and was kindly supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com