Caviar Diplomacy, the Council of Europe, and Navalny

Countries blatantly violating its rules should be expelled

On 5 May 2019 the Council of Europe had its 70th birthday. Its health is rapidly deteriorating. In June its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) gave up most of its powers to independently impose sanctions on member states, giving in to blackmail and threats from Russia. This is unacceptable for an institution whose main purpose is to uphold human rights, democratic standards and the rule of law. Members that violate and undermine its basic principles should have no place in the Council of Europe.

On 5 May 2019 the Council of Europe had its 70th birthday. Its health is rapidly deteriorating. In June its Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) gave up most of its powers to independently impose sanctions on member states, giving in to blackmail and…

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No border changes

Why Kosovo and Serbia must not discuss territory

The two decade old consensus of no border changes in the Balkans keeps being challenged. Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic, Kosovo's former president Hashim Thaci and some leading US and EU officials have supported border changes in recent years. In a region where most states are multi-ethnic this is dangerous. The EU should take a clear stance against.

The two decade old consensus of no border changes in the Balkans keeps being challenged. Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic, Kosovo's former president Hashim Thaci and some leading US and EU officials have supported border changes in recent years…

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EU-Turkey Statement 2.0

How the EU and Turkey must cooperate in their mutual interest

The EU-Turkey statement in March 2016 has drastically brought down numbers of people trying to cross the Aegean and thereby also the numbers of people drowning. Then it broke down in March 2020. What is needed now is a revised statement 2.0 that addresses the shortcomings and builds on the successes of the first statement.

The EU-Turkey statement in March 2016 has drastically brought down numbers of people trying to cross the Aegean and thereby also the numbers of people drowning. Then it broke down in March 2020. What is needed now is a revised statement 2.0 that…

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Why Orban had to leave the EPP

Europe's centre-right is better off without Fidesz

Hungary’s Fidesz left the European People’s Party EPP. This is good news. For years, Viktor Orban’s islamophobia and “illiberal democracy” have made a travesty of Christian democratic values. ESI has written about “Europe’s most dangerous man” since September 2015 and made the case for Fidesz’ expulsion from the EPP. With Fidesz now gone, the EPP should actively try to find a new partner in Hungary.

Hungary’s Fidesz left the European People’s Party EPP. This is good news. For years, Viktor Orban’s islamophobia and “illiberal democracy” have made a travesty of Christian democratic values. ESI has written about “Europe’s most dangerous man”…

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Open EU Single Market to the Balkans

For a merit-based EU accession process that offers a credible goal

The EU accession process should offer membership in the Single Market as an interim goal to any of the six Western Balkan nations interested in it. The best chance to achieve this lies with the upcoming Slovenian EU presidency and an EU-Balkan summit in late 2021.

The EU accession process should offer membership in the Single Market as an interim goal to any of the six Western Balkan nations interested in it. The best chance to achieve this lies with the upcoming Slovenian EU presidency and an EU-Balkan…

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How the rule of law dies in Poland

Support the CJEU to protect the rule of law in Poland

The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has forced Poland to undo some steps in the demolition of judicial independence. But Poland's judiciary is still under siege. No member state of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive control. EU member states and all parliamentary groups should support the European Commission and the Court in their ongoing battle to protect the rule of law in Poland.

The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has forced Poland to undo some steps in the demolition of judicial independence. But Poland's judiciary is still under siege. No member state of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to…

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New deal with Africa

Legal access and fast return

The idea for a genuine common EU asylum policy is dead. Instead a coalition of EU member states should establish common asylum centres where asylum seekers enter the EU. After fair, yet quick procedures, those receiving protection should be distributed to EU countries on a voluntary basis; those not receiving protection should be quickly returned to their countries of origin. In order to ensure co-operation from those countries, tangible benefits such as legal access for their citizens to the EU have to be offered.

The idea for a genuine common EU asylum policy is dead. Instead a coalition of EU member states should establish common asylum centres where asylum seekers enter the EU. After fair, yet quick procedures, those receiving protection should be…

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Start EU accession talks with North Macedonia

Keep your word. Strengthen reformers

None of the West Balkan countries currently meets the criteria for EU accession. None of them will join without huge efforts to strengthen their democratic and judicial institutions. None of them will be prepared to join anytime soon. Yet, there are strong arguments for all EU member states to support the start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible.

None of the West Balkan countries currently meets the criteria for EU accession. None of them will join without huge efforts to strengthen their democratic and judicial institutions. None of them will be prepared to join anytime soon. Yet, there…

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How to preserve the right to asylum

A new reception and asylum system: speed and quality

The EU needs a reception and asylum system that enables member states at the external border to determine quickly who needs protection in the EU and who does not: a system that combines speed and quality. Ter Apel, the Netherlands' main asylum processing centre, illustrates that this is possible.

The EU needs a reception and asylum system that enables member states at the external border to determine quickly who needs protection in the EU and who does not: a system that combines speed and quality. Ter Apel, the Netherlands' main asylum…

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