News archive - Quest for Visa Liberalisation

The participants of WUS Austria’s Balkan Case Challenge (BCC), a case study competition for students from South East Europe und Austria, developed in 2006 a Visa Liberalisation Resolution in order to raise awareness on the EU-entry regulations for members from the Western Balkans.

The Visa Liberalization Resolution was widely distributed and the reactions prove that the Visa Resolution hit the nail on the head. Olli Rehn (Member of the EU Commission and responsible for EU-enlargement activities), Patrick Child (Head of Office of EU Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner), the Austrian Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Christoph Leitl (President of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Commerce), as well as representatives of the European Parliament such as Hannes Swoboda (Member of the European Parliament – Austria ) and the European Parliament itself represented by Jean-Louis Cougnon (Head of Divi-sion and responsible for the correspondence with citizens) are among the respondents.

Feedback and Perspectives

They all outline
that the current visa policies do not correspond to the challenges either of the Western Balkans or of the EU.
that for the stability of the region and the growth of development and economic wealth of South Eastern Europe and the EU, it is essential to open up opportunities for young academics from the Western Balkans.
that visa restrictions do not prevent crimes but acknowledge transfer and challenging potentials.
On November 13, 2006 the European Council adopted mandates for the Commission to negotiate agreements on visa facilitation with the West-ern Balkan Countries. The negotiations have started during the first half of 2007. Olli Rehn considers that the agreements could enter into force before the end of the year. In addition to that, Olli Rehn expressed clearly his total awareness of the visa problems that students are confronted with and assured the help of the European Commission. ‘Young people should have the opportunity to travel and broaden their horizons. The European Commission is committed to helping them to do this.’ WUS Austria continues visa liberalisation activities and the promotion of the subject, by raising the issue again at the launch of the 2007 BCC on May 21 in Vienna in a discussion with Ursula Plassnik,
the Austrian Minister for European and International Affairs

Article published in eJournal spring 07.

Entry created by Veronika Nitsche on June 1, 2007
Modified on May 31, 2007