29 November 2011
ESI in The Hague: Discussing Macedonia and Turkey
The Hague. Photo: flickr/Andrew Griffith
The Hague. Photo: flickr/Andrew Griffith

ESI deputy chairman Kristof Bender attended a conference in The Hague organised by the Clingendael Institute: "Beyond the deadlock? Perspectives on future EU enlargement." He spoke on a panel on Turkey and Macedonia, chaired by former MEP Jan Marinus Wiersma, together with Joost Lagendijk, Senior adviser at the Istanbul Policy Center and former MEP, and the ambassadors of Turkey and Macedonia, Ugur Dogan and Nikola Dimitrov.

Besides taking stock of the accession process of these two countries, Kristof presented ESI's proposal to resolve Macedonia's name dispute with Greece and argued why a constructive way forward in the relations between the EU and Turkey would be a "visa road map" for Turkey, following the model applied to the Western Balkan countries (see: ESI's Schengen White List Project). A visa roadmap would represent a politically attractive agenda for reform. It would play to the shared interest of both the EU and Turkey – to improve cooperation in the fight against organised crime and illegal migration. Although very demanding in terms of the reforms they necessitate, the conditions of the roadmap are also relatively precise. In the case of the Balkans the visa roadmap process has proven to be EU conditionality at its best: strict but fair. Most importantly, the roadmaps have managed to deliver what they promised and – thanks to the increased cultural exchange triggered by visa-free travel – sustained the pro-European dynamic in the region.

An article by Kristof entitled "Blocked forever? Two proposals on how Macedonia and Turkey could move forward on their way to the EU" was enclosed in the Clingendael Institute's publication "Beyond the deadlock? Perspectives on Future EU Enlargement" (see pp. 19-21).

In The Hague, Kristof also had meetings with Jaap Werner, Director for Europe at the Dutch Foreign Ministry, and members of his team working on the Balkans.

About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com