25 November 2010
Warsaw: ESI participates in launch of visa-free coalition
Alexandra Stiglmayer, participants. Photo: Stefan Batory Foundation
Alexandra Stiglmayer, participants. Photo: Stefan Batory Foundation

On 25/26 November 2010, ESI, represented by Senior Analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer, participated in the launch for a coalition for visa-free travel in Europe. The launch of this coalition by 26 NGOs from the EU, the EU's Eastern Partnership countries and Russia was an initiative of the Stefan Batory Foundation in Warsaw, which sees the benefits of combining efforts and energies to achieve the abolition of the Schengen visa requirement for all European countries.

In its founding declaration, the coalition called on the upcoming Hungarian and Polish EU Presidencies to take concrete steps towards visa–free travel within Europe, stating:

"We believe that for the security of our continent and for the continued democratic transformation and modernisation in Eastern Europe – a process to which people-to-people contacts are vital – effective action is needed linking the demands for implementation of reforms with a clear perspective of visa abolition."

The coalition, which received the official name "Coalition for a European Continent Undivided by Visa Barriers", intends to set up a website, share information, conduct activities together and coordinate actions that are related to visa liberalisation. ESI is not a member of the coalition, but plans to join the Research Council when it is established.

Alexandra shared with the participants ESI's experience with the Schengen White List Project and the lessons learnt from the visa liberalisation process for the Western Balkans.

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