On 29 April 2011, ESI's Gerald Knaus and Martin Chatel met with former French foreign minister Hubert Védrine at the office of his consulting company in Paris to discuss French relations with Turkey. The discussions went back to Mr. Védrine's term as foreign minister from 1997 to 2002, when France pushed for granting EU candidate status to Turkey, which it eventually received at the Helsinki Summit in December 1999. The future of the Schengen Agreement and EU achievements and challenges in the area of freedom of movement, including visa liberalisation, were also discussed.
Gerald and Martin also met Yves Bertoncini (Secretary-General of Notre Europe), Piotr Smolar (Journalist at Le Monde covering Eastern Europe, Russia and the Caucasus) and Christian Lechervy (Deputy Director for Policy Planning at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
Gerald Knaus also participated in a conference on the future of enlargement at the Institute d´Etudes Politique de Paris (Sciences Po), entitled "Candidate Countries: With or Without You?". This event, supported by ESI, was part of the annual conference of the Sciences Po Master's programme in European Affairs. Gerald spoke about the current state of EU-Turkey relations and Turkish policies in the run-up to the Turkish parliamentary elections on 12 June 2011.
The panel comprised Mongi Bousnina (professor of geopolitics, University of Tunis, former minister of culture of Tunisia), Heather Grabbe (director of the Open Society Institute Brussels), Sylvain Kahn (professor of European integration history at Sciences Po) and Philippe Perchoc (President of Nouvelle Europe).