JEF campaign against visa

A contribution by JEF Bosnia

, by Irena Rakić

JEF campaign against visa
A Bosnian passport Copyright : Dragan Markelic

October 2010 was a happy day for many JEF-ers since the JEF Resolution on Visa liberalisation was adopted in Malta; but also for all the Bosnians and Albanians, due to the Visa liberalization that was finally approved by the EU Parliament.

The free Visa action was organised when Bosnia and Herzegovina was in the process of gaining the Visa-free regime and JEF-Bosnia and Herzegovina wishes to thank JEF, but also show their support to all the countries still struggling to gain their portion of freedom.

It is crucial to nourish the awareness of the importance of freedom of movement and the internationalism that we value so much.

Fulfilling the requirements towards Visa liberalisation can be a motivation for fulfilling all the other liabilities towards the European path and a thrust towards internal reforms.

It also encourages the European idea within the country, idea that would be weakened if the Visa-free regime would have been voted against.

Families are arranging reunions after so many years, parents visiting their children who moved away, people are visiting new countries, meeting new cultures, bringing back travelling stories, souvenirs...

For the first time, students and young people are able to freely study abroad without the long, painful admission process packed with formalities they have to follow because they need to submit all the Visa-related papers.

National NGO activists are able to spread their ideas and campaigns beyond the local borders and to promote the idea of the European Union because it is now much closer, much more real and perceptible.

The process towards visa liberalization isn’t only time consuming, it also turns out to be quite pricy and at the end point it encourages taking another country’s nationality in order to gain free mobility.

Safija Karamanovic, a retiree from Sarajevo, said she felt happiness and relief at the decision. “My daughter is married and has lived in Munich since the war and every time I wanted to visit her and had to get a visa I felt like a second rate citizen,” Karamanovic said. “Now I will finally have a chance to visit my child more often…without the horror” of getting a visa, she added. (Sabina Arslanagic for BalkanInsight)

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a big diaspora abroad and it is crucial to all European countries that can relate to our case to establish the visa-free regime in order to enable free mobility of the citizens living permanently in other countries and to encourage return to the country of original citizenship.

This means much more than just free travelling – a part of our dignity has been restored and we do not feel like we’re being physically and psychologically, as well as politically and economically isolated – by the borders of our own country into some sort of international isolation.

But, we must understand that visa liberalisation does not also mean “economical boost” because it does not give you the right to work or reside in a foreign country, but only a 90 day long pass to any of the Schengen countries, most likely, for touristic travelling. An overstay might result in a travel ban for the whole Schengen area.

We are proud to report that Bosnia and Herzegovina has set an example to its region in carrying out the Roadmap of the Visa-free regime set by the EU, which was confirmed by Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, during her visit to Sarajevo this year.

Despite all the fraudulent asylum seekers from Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia, who were nullifying their identification documents and representing themselves as citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to migrate for Belgia and France, our national newspapers report that UNHCR Bosnia and Herzegovina has only recorded 120 asylum seekers, a number that has been much greater before the Visa liberalisation.

In addition, Bosnia has no problems with the limited stay on the territory of Schengen. So far, no case of the Visa-free regime Roadmap violation has been recorded.

“What we did was a good informational media campaign in which we explained to our citizens the rules of the visa-free regime, but also the risks they’re taking if they go down a different path,” – says Bakir Dautbašić, the president of the monitoring team for the implementation of the Visa-free regime Roadmap in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We still have numerous improvements to make but this step forward has definitely been a tremendous motivation for us.

The most important technical requirement was that the Bosnian citizens aquire a biometric passport. Till the 4th of may 680.948 passports have been issued.

Changes are being made and fights are being won. We are all moving forwards and hereby we call upon all our fellow JEF-ers, and those to become, to join us in this year’s Visa-free action and support all those countries who are in need just like Bosnia and Herzegovina was.

“JEF – for a visa-free Europe.” – we’re getting there :)

Your comments

pre-moderation

Warning, your message will only be displayed after it has been checked and approved.

Who are you?

To show your avatar with your message, register it first on gravatar.com (free et painless) and don’t forget to indicate your Email addresse here.

Enter your comment here

This form accepts SPIP shortcuts {{bold}} {italic} -*list [text->url] <quote> <code> and HTML code <q> <del> <ins>. To create paragraphs, just leave empty lines.

Follow the comments: RSS 2.0 | Atom