Stockholm - ESI presentation at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) on “Europe and the Western Balkans - Where are we heading?”

20 February 2020
Gerald Knaus at Sida in Stockholm. Photo: ESI
Gerald Knaus at Sida in Stockholm. Photo: ESI

ESI's Gerald Knaus travelled to Stockholm to meet with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) heads of development cooperation in the Western Balkans, Turkey, Eastern Europe and Latin America. At this meeting, Gerald presented ESI's most recent work focusing on Europe and the Western Balkans.

He spoke on three issues:

  • The policy of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to stop migrants and refugees coming to Europe and to strengthen nationalism across the EU.
  • The threat to the rule of law in Poland and how the actions of Polish Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro are putting at risk the independence of the Polish courts and the effect it has on the democratic pillars of the EU.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron's view on the Western Balkans and EU enlargement. Gerald presented ESIs proposal "Hamster in the Wheel. Credibility and EU Balkan policy" for a new approach that the EU should adopt for the Western Balkans. The main idea is to allow the countries of the region to join the European single market with the objective of EU accession.

While in Stockholm, Gerald also met with senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice to present ESI's "Gambia Plan". In addition, he met with MPs from the Moderat party to discuss the challenge to European democracy posed by the Polish reconstruction of the justice system where the control of courts, prosecutors and judges now effectively lies with the executive and a single party.