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Next to a Volcano – Iceland, Russia, and a Red Line Declaration for the Council of Europe2/2023 16 May 2023
No member state of the Council of Europe should be able to get away with imprisoning politicians, journalists and human rights defenders on false grounds, or to ignore judgements on such arrests by the European Court of Human Rights. From now on, this must have consequences.
Refugee continent – Olga in Paris – Turkish catastrophe1/2023 21 February 2023
In 2022 European democracies welcomed more refugees in one year than any other continent in recent decades. This has one principal cause: the Russian attack on Ukraine in February. Until Ukraine can win its war, European states need to be ready to help those who seek safety. Next to the challenge of handling potentially many more Ukrainian refugees, the issues of supporting devastated refugee host communities in Turkey must today be at the top of the European political agenda.
Putin’s Cholodomor – Homes for Ukrainians – A plan for winter7/2022 29 December 2022
Putin hopes to divide European societies. His instrument is terror against Ukrainian civilians. A Europe-wide campaign that shows that civil societies, backed by governments, are prepared to host more Ukrainian refugees is a powerful signal to Russia that its horrific blackmail will fail.
Elephants in Skopje – Balkan turtle race and Ukraine6/2022 15 July 2022
All Western Balkan states are stuck. Their accession process resembles a bus without wheels, with North Macedonia discussing conditions for moving up a row of seats inside a vehicle going nowhere. It is time for the EU to acknowledge this reality and take action. This dysfunctional process and the Bulgarian veto are the two elephants in Skopje everyone knows about, but that no one wants to discuss openly.
Ukraine, Europe and a second Treaty of Rome5/2022 16 June 2022
The EU must prepare to defend its members against the threat of a revanchist Russia. At a time of Russian military aggression and ever more ominous threats coming from Moscow, European leaders should think of Ukraine as an ally, not a burden.
47 again? Russia out, Kosovo in4/2022 16 May 2022
It is striking how differently Russia and Kosovo have been treated by the governments of Council of Europe member states in recent years. For many years, Kosovo governments have been actively discouraged from applying for Council of Europe membership by other members. The result: Kosovo remains outside.
An urgent airlift for Ukrainian refugees – how Putin’s cynical plot will fail3/2022 22 March 2022
Putin’s cynical goal of blackmailing Ukraine and the EU through brutal warfare leading to mass displacement must fail and must be seen to fail. An Airlift 2022, the most generous refugee reception policy worldwide in decades, would be an appropriate response. It would be a humane response to inhumane cynicism.
Expelling Oceania – The Council of Europe and Russian aggression2/2022 9 March 2022
The Council of Europe must not harbour a dictatorship that is invading a neighbouring state, committing massive war-crimes, while suppressing the human rights of its own citizens to hide its aggressive war from its public. Member states of the Council of Europe must move to expel Russia from their organisation.
Suspend Russia! The Council of Europe and the new cold war1/2022 23 February 2022
Russian president Vladimir Putin declared war on the principles enshrined in core treaties on which European stability is based: the Statute of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights. If they are to remain credible, the member states of the Council of Europe must react and suspend Russia for violating its most solemn commitments.
Albright on hope – Europe whole and free – An award – Our deal in the Aegean10/2021 31 December 2021
After a tumultuous and troubling 2021, with instability and fear returning to the Balkans, with a European Union seemingly lost and bereft of ideas for its neighbours, and with the very real threat of a Russian aggression looming over Ukraine, the vision, expressed since 1990 by Vaclav Havel and Madelaine Albright, remains as urgent and relevant as ever.
Winter is coming – Polish Bulldozer – win-win-win for the rule of law9/2021 20 December 2021
Time is not on the side of the rule of law in Poland. Justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro no longer pretends to care about European law and courts. It is time for European institutions to prove that European law and institutions are stronger than the chaos that he has already brought to his country’s courts. But time is running out.
5 billion to save the EU – Poland, Penguins and the Rule of Law8/2021 6 August 2021
Poland has become a test case today whether it is possible to create a justice system in an EU member state without independent courts. The Commission should propose, and the ECJ impose a fine of € 880 million every two months until the Polish government implements the 15 July ruling.
Essay 2 - The popularity of pushbacks – lessons from Australia6/2021 7 June 2021
There is a possibility that the current consensus in Australia – that only pushbacks and the harshest deterrence reduce irregular migration, which is both morally and politically desirable – will be embraced elsewhere, in Asia and in Europe. If this happens refoulement will be normalised around the world.
Essay 1 - The promise and the agony – saving the refugee convention4/2021 26 May 2021
Adherence to the global refugee protection system has always been fragile. And yet, today the system risks collapse, as pushbacks are carried out routinely across the world, including in Europe, in Australia and in the US. How to protect the Geneva refugee convention today?
Navalny's life – the choice in Strasbourg3/2021 20 April 2021
If the Russian state is allowed to ignore the European Court of Human Rights, again, and to kill another critic of the government, it will have shown that the Council is a club of states for whom the respect for fundamental rights is wholly optional.
The strangest love affair – autocrats and parliamentarians, from Berlin to Strasbourg2/2021 2 April 2021
In recent weeks, the unbelievable story of corruption of parliaments across Europe by the Caspian autocracy of Azerbaijan has created big waves in Germany. For the Aliyev regime, almost two decades of efforts to aggressively undermine democratic institutions remained without consequences.
Slovenia, Serbia and an EU-Balkan breakthrough in 20211/2021 9 March 2021
The EU has a strong political and economic incentive to offer to any interested Western Balkan nation the chance to join its Single Market as an interim goal in a reformed two-stage EU accession process. Countries and economies can catch up. For this it must be credible, merit based and serious. It has happened before. It can happen again.
An Article 19 Mechanism to save the rule of law in the EU6/2020 5 August 2020
It is crucial to have a rule of law protection mechanism that unambiguously and concretely protects national judiciaries and the effective application of EU law at the national level.
Beyond the silent cash-machine – smart solidarity5/2020 27 April 2020
Europe needs more solidarity and financial transfers, these must strengthen the values that connect Europeans, not undermine them.
A Mitsotakis Plan – who needs to act?4/2020 3 April 2020
Why should Germans, Dutch, Swedes and their leaders care about a possible tragedy on distant Greek islands where more than 40,000 refugees and migrants live crammed together in dismal sanitary conditions?