2 October 2014
Sweden Workshop on statistics and enlargement in Stockholm - Visby conference on war in the Eastern Neighbourhood
Stockholm panorama. Photo: flickr/Jordi Escuer
Stockholm panorama. Photo: flickr/Jordi Escuer

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.

Sweden  flying to Gotland. Here with Stephen Nix, head of IRI Eurasia, David Kramer, head of Freedom House, and Carl Bildt. Photo: ESI
Sweden – flying to Gotland. Here with Stephen Nix, head of IRI Eurasia, David Kramer, head of Freedom House, and Carl Bildt. Photo: ESI
Visby 2014 Seminar. Photo: ESI
Visby 2014 Seminar. Photo: ESI
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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