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.