13 November 2009
ESI in Montenegro: The region's European perspective the significance of visa liberalisation"
View of the audience. Alexandra Stiglmayer second from the right. Photo: CEDEM
View of the panel. Alexandra Stiglmayer second from the right. Photo: CEDEM

ESI senior analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer was invited to a conference entitled "Montenegro on the path towards the White Schengen List" organised by the Open Society Institute and the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) in Przno, Montenegro.

Alexandra presented ESI's White Schengen List Project and congratulated Montenegro's government for having met all roadmap benchmarks and, in all likelihood, having ensured visa-travel for Montenegrins from 19 December 2009 on. In reference to the theme of her panel – "The region's European perspective – the significance of visa liberalisation" – she stressed three points:

  • She said the process was a good exercise for Montenegro in implementing the acquis, a process Montenegro will start intensively once it is declared a candidate country and membership negotiations begin; she explained that many of the roadmap requirements are part of the Justice and Home Affairs chapter.
  • Secondly, Alexandra said Balkan governments, while implementing and respecting EU legislation and standards, must be demanding towards the EU, otherwise they would have got neither the visa process nor make much progress on the accession path.
  • She also emphasised that the roadmap reforms that Montenegro has carried out need to be sustained – it would be catastrophic if the government lost its drive after the abolition of the visa requirement – and that they make Montenegro, but also the EU safer.

Other participants included Srdjan Darmanovic, President of CEDEM, Ivan Brajovic, Minister of Interior in the Government of Montenegro, Vladimir Todoric, Director of the Legal Forum, Belgrade, and Clive Rumbold, Deputy Head of the Delegation of European Commission to Montenegro.

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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