30 June 2011
Public ESI event in Brussels: Freedom of movement in a populist age – Why Balkan visa liberalisation is (still) a success
Brussels airport. Photo: flickr/Jules Stoop
Brussels airport. Photo: flickr/Jules Stoop

The European Stability Initiative (ESI) organised a lunch-time presentation of its forthcoming report:

Freedom of movement in a populist age:
Why Balkan visa liberalisation is (still) a success

On Thursday, 30 June 2011,
12.15 to 13.45 hours,
at the Hotel Silken Berlaymont,
Boulevard Charlemagne 11/19, 1000 Brussels

Until recently there was a European consensus: the process of putting the Western Balkan states on the Schengen "white list" was a success. The Balkan countries implemented far-reaching reforms, their citizens received visa-free travel in return. EU conditionality worked. Everybody won. European security increased.

Then doubts crept in. Following the lifting of the visa requirement, the number of citizens from the region applying for asylum in the EU increased. This was not expected. As a result, some member states have called the very idea of visa liberalisation into question. Scepticism about offering a similar process to other countries has risen.

As some European leaders put into doubt the basic idea behind Schengen – that increased freedom of movement and increased security can be compatible – the prospect for further progress looks ever more uncertain.

Over the last three years, ESI has studied the visa liberalisation process for the Balkans. During the past year, we have in particular researched the surge in asylum seekers from the Balkans. To learn the facts, to discuss policy options and solutions, and to explore the wider implications we look forward to welcoming you at this lunch-time event. ESI senior analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer, in charge of ESI's Schengen White List Project, will present our findings.

Background information is available at www.whitelistproject.eu and www.esiweb.org.

ESI on visa-free travel and visa

 

This event was supported by the

Robert Bosch Stiftung

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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