Could EU visa-free travel become a key incentive for Western Balkans countries to establish better democratic institutions and the rule of law?
News Source: European Institute, Sofia, Bulgaria , PASOS Secretariat, Prague, Czech Republic
Experts from Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia presented in Brussels the main findings and recommendations of a PASOS/European Institute study on EC Roadmaps on visa liberalisation in the Western Balkans.
The presentation was hosted at the Open Society Institute Brussels on 5 March 2009. The leading expert of the project, Nadya Dimitrova (European Institute, Bulgaria), together with country reporters – Sanja Kostovska (Center for Research and Policy Making, Macedonia) and Ditmir Bushati (Institute for Contemporary Studies, Albania) – presented their findings to representatives of the European Commission Directorate of Enlargement, as well as to the representatives of the Western Balkans missions to the EU.
The European Institute (a PASOS member in Bulgaria), drawing on the lessons learned from the Bulgarian experience, co-ordinated and implemented a short research project to assess how countries in the Western Balkans elaborated, introduced and applied EU standards in the area of visa policy. Based on the individual country assessments by partner institutes in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, the European Institute prepared a policy brief (see link below to PDF file), with specific recommendations for the European Commission, for the Czech EU Presidency, and for the national governments of the five Western Balkans countries. The project was commissioned from the European Institute by the PASOS Board of Directors, and funded through a grant to PASOS from the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative (LGI) of the Open Society Institute (OSI).
The research was undertaken by the following partner policy institutes:
- Institute for Contemporary Studies, Albania
- Association Alumni of the Center for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies (ACIPS), Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Center for Research and Policy Making, Macedonia
- Jefferson Institute, Serbia
- CEDEM Center for Democracy and Human Rights, Montenegro