26 November 2010
Warsaw: Visa-free travel for the EU's East?
Alexandra Stiglmayer (middle). Photo: Stefan Batory Foundation
Alexandra Stiglmayer (middle). Photo: Stefan Batory Foundation

On 26 November 2010, ESI Senior Analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer was one of the speakers at a debate in Warsaw on the prospects for visa-free travel for the EU's Partnership countries and Russia. The discussion "Visas in EU relations with countries of the Eastern Partnership and Russia" was organised by the Stefan Batory Foundation in Warsaw.

Alexandra said it would not be easy for the Eastern Partnership countries to meet all the conditions for visa-free travel, but that the EU's action plan for Ukraine, and the action plan for Moldova expected in January 2011, were chances that the two countries needed to use. She said it was important to insist on a technical process and meet all the criteria, then the opponents would be left without arguments against lifting the visa requirement. She also stressed that it was a deal of mutual benefits: once the EU's neighbours would have fulfilled all the requirements, they would be genuine partners for the EU, helping it to protect itself against external threats and closely collaborating with EU law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities. She also discussed the Western Balkan experience and presented ESI's Schengen White List Project, which is supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

The other speakers were: Stanislaw Lukasik, Head of Division, Consular Department, Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Krzysztof Lewandowski, Head of Division, Migration Policy Department, Polish Ministry of Interior and Administration; Oleksandr Sushko, "Europe without Barriers", an NGO in Ukraine; and Oazu Nantoi, Member of the Moldovan Parliament and analyst at the Institute of Public Affairs. The event was moderated by Marcin Wojciechowski, a journalist from Gazeta Wyborcza.