Schengen – Dream or Nightmare in a Populist Age?

Public Debate
Thursday, 15 September 2011, 7 pm

RadioKulturhaus, Argentinierstraße 30a, 1040 Vienna

Schengen has turned Europe into a different place. 14 years ago, each and every Austrian border was manned by border guards. With Switzerland acceding to Schengen, the last “hard” borders of Austria have disappeared. Residents of Schengen countries can now travel from the Ukrainian border to Finisterrae at the Atlantic without showing a passport. For many Europeans a dream, seemingly utopian less than 20 years ago, has become true.

Recently, the principles of Schengen and the free movement of persons have come under fire from the Italian prime minister and the French president, triggered by the inflow of refugees from the Southern Mediterranean. What has Schengen achieved, and at what cost? Are these achievements now under threat?

This public debate is organised by ERSTE Foundation and the European Stability Initiative (ESI).

Ruben Zaiotti, author of “Cultures of Border Control: Schengen and the Evolution of European Frontiers”
Bajram Rexhepi, minister of internal affairs of Kosovo, former prime minister and former mayor of the divided city of Mitrovica
Tanja Fajon, Slovenian member of the European Parliament, honorary citizen of Sarajevo for her work on Balkan visa liberalisation
Dejan Anastasijevic, Serbian journalist and author, previously writer for Time and Vreme, currently head of the Brussels office of Tanjug

Moderator and introduction: Gerald Knaus, European Stability Initiative

The website is a rich source for information on the current status quo of the Visa liberalisation – and looks back at how it was achieved.

The event will take place in English. ERSTE Foundation is delighted to invite you for a glass of wine afterwards. Entrance is free, but please register at +43(0)1 501 70-337 or via email at We look forward to welcoming you to this event.