ESI's Kristof Bender and Gerald Knaus came to Stockholm for an ESI workshop organised together with the Swedish MFA. There is a sense today in many EU member states and accession countries that the impact of the regular monitoring of the Copenhagen economic criteria on policy debates in accession countries is limited. The idea of the workshop was to discuss two concrete proposals:
- How could a set of meaningful economic indicators help establish clearly whether a country is moving towards being a "functioning market economy", and can thus be considered meeting the Copenhagen economic criteria? How can such indicators be defined in a way that is considered both sufficiently strict in EU member states and fair in accession countries … and which both inspires the right policy debates in countries and allows for comparisons, thus encouraging positive regional competition and mutual learning?
- How can such an effort be supported by a pilot project in the field of Statistics (chapter 18) and an improvement of the annual monitoring of progress by the Commission? How to best draw up a roadmap setting out the acquis in this field, modelled on the visa liberalisation roadmaps developed by DG Home, which had such a strong impact on reform efforts?
The aim of the workshop was to find ways to increase the trust in the enlargement process in EU member states, while finding ways to help policy makers encourage reform efforts irrespective of the formal status of countries in the EU accession process.
Besides the very positive experience of visa liberalisation roadmaps there is the inspiration from the way in which the OECD's PISA reports have managed to motivate serious public debates on education and inspire concrete reform debates in the area of education policy.
Participants included Gjergji Filipi, Director General, INSTAT (Institute of Statistics of Albania), Helena Alvin, Strategy and Policy Unit at DG Enlargement, European Commission, Jens Olin, Swedish Statistical Office, Mikael Elofsson, Head of unit for Western Balkans and Turkey, SIDA, Johan Berglund, Deputy Director, EU Department, Swedish MFA, and others.
On 3 October, Gerald travelled to Visby for the annual Visby conference organised by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation. This year's conference was entitled "Round-Table Conference on war in the Eastern Neighbourhood – How to restore peace in Europe".
Participants included Carl Bildt, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, David J Kramer, President, Freedom House, Boris Nemtsov, Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, and others.
- Rumeli Observer: Enlargement reloaded – ESI proposal for a new generation of progress reports (31 January 2014)
- Video presentation: Enlargement and the benefits of competition
- ESI report: Vladimir and Estragon in Skopje. A fictional conversation on trust and standards and a plea on how to break a vicious circle (17 July 2014)