2 November 2010
ESI in Barcelona: Visa liberalisation for the Western Balkans
Barcelona. Photo: flickr/Jakob Lange
Barcelona. Photo: flickr/Jakob Lange

On 2 November 2010, ESI Senior Analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer presented the Schengen White List Project at a debate organised by the Spanish think-tank CIDOB in Barcelona. She explained ESI's approach, which was based on the principle "strict but fair", and made the point that the process was much more difficult for Albania and Bosnia – which are due to be granted visa-free travel by EUI interior ministers at a meeting on 8 November 2010 – than for the first three countries. Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have benefitted from visa-free travel since 19 December 2011.

Albania and Bosnia have been met with much more distrust due to the difficult political situations in both countries and an increased influx of asylum seekers from Serbia and Macedonia into the EU in 2010, but also due to rising populism in the EU. Alexandra argued that only the countries' record in meeting the conditions from the visa road maps mattered since the process was designed as a technical one. The European Commission has certified that both countries have met all conditions.

CIDOB is conducting a project termed "The visa queue" in the framework of which it plans to examine the effects of EU and Spanish visa and admission policies.

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