25 March 2013
Ghent – Guest lecture on EU policy of visa liberalisation
Ghent University main building. Photo: flickr/Otaniemi Owl
Ghent University main building. Photo: flickr/Otaniemi Owl

On 25 March 2013, ESI Senior Analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer gave a guest lecture on the EU policy of visa liberalisation at the Centre for EU Studies (CEUS) of Ghent University in Belgium.

She described the origins of this policy, which was first applied in the Western Balkans, but was so successful that it has been also offered to EU's Eastern partner countries and Turkey. She discussed the benefits for both sides: for the EU, these are an increase in internal security and soft power as well as close cooperation in many justice and home affairs areas with a neighbouring country, and for this country it is, besides visa-free travel, improvement and modernisation in these areas and cooperation with the EU and EU agencies such as Frontex, Europol and Eurojust.

Alexandra also explained how the process, which is based on a roadmap setting out the conditions, has worked in practice. She talked about the increase in asylum claims in the EU from citizens of Western Balkan countries following visa liberalisation and the solutions that exist. She also discussed the situation with Turkey, which is on the edge of launching a roadmap process with the EU, but still has concerns about a few issues; the background leading to the current situation, and the specific benefits that Turkey and the EU would reap from a visa liberalisation process.

More information is available at www.esiweb.org/whitelistproject.

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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