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.