Stockholm – ESI meetings on migration and EU enlargement

14 November 2023
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström and Gerald Knaus
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström and Gerald Knaus. Photo: ESI

ESI’s Gerald Knaus and Adnan Cerimagic met with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström and State Secretary Christian Danielsson to discuss migration and EU enlargement policy.

Gerald outlined how to create better migration agreements, presenting ESI’s proposals for safe third countries and humane borders. He said that the task now is to build on the UK Supreme Court’s decision on the UK government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda and to begin at the English Channel between the EU and the UK. Last winter, 1,500 people a month arrived in the UK by boat. If a few EU countries were to offer London the option to immediately accept anyone who departs, the smugglers’ business would collapse. This would demonstrate that such agreements are effective in Europe. Subsequently, the EU and the UK could utilize the infrastructure in Rwanda to prevent deaths in the Mediterranean through UNHCR asylum procedures in Rwanda. If this proves successful, other countries could follow Rwanda’s example.

In addition, Gerald argued that EU countries should be capable of fast and fair asylum procedures, strategic deportations, and generous assistance for countries of first asylum. This way the EU can establish policies that are both humane and effectively manage its borders.

Stockholm. Photo: ESI

Gerald and ESI’s senior analyst, Adnan Cerimagic, also presented ESI’s proposals on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue warning of the threat of violence in the Balkans, and how crucial it is to continue the path for EU enlargement in the region by integrating these countries into the EU Single Market and ensuring compliance with the EU’s Four Freedoms. This strategy aims to make the benefits of the EU more tangible for these countries, encouraging reforms and alignment with EU standards in a more manageable and gradual manner.