Publications

151 Publications
Kosovo

Invented pogroms - Statistics, lies and confusion in Kosovo

19 Feb 2024

In July 2023, Serbian president Vucic demanded that NATO and the UN protect Kosovo Serbs from “pogroms.” However, international observers found no evidence of “ethnic cleansing” or “Albanian terror,” yet Vucic cited increased Kosovo Serb departures without evidence. But what about evidence for these numbers and what do they truly reveal?

Election monitoring

Seven Baku rules - How (not) to have elections

7 Feb 2024

Presidential elections in Azerbaijan are uncompetitive and not wholly fair, though it is a matter of how to define “fairness”. Although a presidential term in Azerbaijan is seven years, the experience of elections since 1993 suggests that once a president is elected, it is de facto for life.

Council of Europe

When Aliyev’s MPs were shown the door - A historic PACE debate

24 Jan 2024

On the first morning of PACE's 2024 session, Frank Schwabe, a German Social Democrat, proposed a motion to question Azerbaijan's delegation's credentials due to a "serious violation of the Council of Europe’s basic principles." Urging to suspend Azerbaijani participation, his action led to a historic debate and decision.

Migration

A wise court – Rwanda, Safe Third Countries and a Channel breakthrough in 2023

30 Jun 2023

The UK Court of Appeal sanctioned the principle of transferring asylum seekers to third countries, like Rwanda, to reduce irregular migration, while ruling Rwanda not yet a safe third country. The Court's decision contests the UNHCR's stance that externalizing the UK's refugee obligations violates international law. It suggests an alternative: returning asylum-seekers to countries like France and Germany, with the UK taking more refugees in return.

Western Balkans

Hysteria, Bosnia and OHR - On the formation of governments after elections

25 Apr 2023

The difficulty of forming a Federation government is not an emergency. This crisis has nothing whatsoever to do with “peace implementation”. Thus, nothing in this situation justifies foreign intervention. In fact, it is plainly obvious what OHR should do: nothing at all, except to announce that it will not get involved.

EU enlargement

Scoreboard - The true state of accession - What the Commission assessments reveal

17 Mar 2023

Each year the European Commission assesses 33 policy areas – laws, institutions, policy implementation – into which the accession negotiations are divided. Getting to a state of good preparation in each chapter is not about boxes being ticked but about meeting the standards on which the trust relies that makes removing all barriers between countries and economies possible.

Migration

Olga in Paris – Why are there so few Ukrainian refugees in France?

14 Feb 2023

Following Russia’s brutal invasion, millions of Ukrainian refugees left their country. By the end of 2022, 4.9 million of them had applied for protection in the European Union and in other European democracies. But more Ukrainians applied for protection in the Czech Republic than in France, Italy, and Spain combined. What explains this uneven distribution of temporary protection applications?

EU enlargement

The Balkan Turtle Race – A warning for Ukraine

13 Jul 2022

Zeno, an Athenian philosopher, once imagined a race between Achilles and a slow-moving turtle. The turtle was given a head start, which decided the race. However slowly the turtle moved, Zeno argued, Achilles would never be able to catch up. This is how the current EU accession process for the Western Balkans works. This is dangerous. It is also easy to remedy, if there is the will.

Rule of law

The Polish Bulldozer – Towards a win-win-win for Poland, the EU and the European Commission

18 Dec 2021

The European Commission must turn to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and ask for an unprecedented penalty payment from a government which is refusing to implement one of the most important ECJ judgements in the history of European integration. By calling minister of justice Zbigniew Ziobro’s bluff the European Commission and the ECJ not only save the rule of law in Poland and preserve the EU’s legal order but also break his spell over a shrinking radical minority.

Rule of law

A 5 billion Euro penalty to save the rule of law – How infringement penalties are set

5 Aug 2021

When member states violate EU law or refuse to implement judgements by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) EU institutions are not powerless: the European Commission can propose, and the ECJ impose, financial sanctions.

Rule of law

Inside the system Ziobro built

5 Aug 2021

No member state in the history of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive control as the current Polish government. In a few years, PiS has changed the whole system of appointment, promotion and disciplining of judges and prosecutors, with a view to strengthening executive control. It captured the Constitutional Tribunal.

Council of Europe

“As simple as it is appalling.” The Navalny debate highlights

22 Apr 2021

What should happen next? What does it mean to say that “all options are on the table” to ensure that Navalny is released and that judgements are implemented? Or that “there are possibilities” of action for the body responsible for the execution of all Strasbourg Court judgements, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, currently chaired by Germany?

Rule of law

An Article 19 Mechanism - The need for a robust defence of EU rule of law

23 Jul 2020

The EU faces three major crises today. One is a public health crisis, which threatens hundreds of thousands of lives. One is an unprecedented economic and social crisis, which puts at risk the employment and livelihoods of tens of millions of Europeans. And then there is a crisis of core values that underpin the European project: the rule of law and the checks and balances of liberal democracy. These are under attack today from inside and outside the Union.

Europe

The wizard, the virus and a pot of gold - Viktor Orban and the future of European solidarity

18 Apr 2020

30 March 2020 was a dark day in the history of EU assistance. It highlighted the fact that this system of solidarity had gone fundamentally wrong. Europeans now need to find better ways to defend the values enshrined in their treaties, not with pious words and empty threats, but in the language of power and money that politicians like Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban will understand.

Migration

The Aegean Tragedy – Key facts and key steps

24 Jan 2020

Priorities this winter: end the humanitarian emergency on the islands; avoid a new humanitarian emergency on the mainland; reduce the number of people crossing the Balkan route; ensure that there are no push backs at any border in South East Europe.

EU enlargement

Hamster in the Wheel - Credibility and EU Balkan policy

15 Jan 2020

Balkan enlargement was in crisis even before EU leaders failed to agree in 2019 on opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. Unless there is a change in methodology and pace, no Western Balkan country is likely to be a member of the EU by 2030. 

Migration

How to implement the EU-Turkey Statement: Phase II – Key facts and key steps

24 Dec 2019

Priorities this winter: end the humanitarian emergency on the islands; avoid a new humanitarian emergency on the mainland; reduce the number of people crossing the Balkan route; ensure that there are no push backs at any border in South East Europe.

Rule of law

Poland’s deepening crisis - When the rule of law dies in Europe

14 Dec 2019

No member state in the history of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive control as the current Polish government. The Polish case has become a test whether it is possible to create a Soviet-style justice system in an EU member state; a system where the control of courts, prosecutors and judges lies with the executive and a single party.

Western Balkans

How are they doing? European Commission assessments of Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Albania (May 2019)

29 May 2019

The European Commission's 2019 assessments show varied progress in Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Albania across several areas. Fundamentally, Albania and Serbia both scored highest with 3.6, followed by Montenegro (3.4) and North Macedonia (3.3). In the 33 chapters evaluated, Albania scored highest with an average of 3.5, while the others averaged 3.0. Altogether, Albania (3.5) again led in total average score, while Serbia (3.1), North Macedonia (3.1), and Montenegro (3.0) followed.

Western Balkans

How are they doing? European Commission assessments of North Macedonia, Serbia and Albania (April 2019)

29 Apr 2019

The European Commission assessments of April 2019 indicate that Albania leads North Macedonia and Serbia in terms of reforms and meeting EU standards. For fundamentals and 33 chapters of reforms, Albania scores an average of 3.6, higher than Serbia and North Macedonia, both averaging at 3.1. Most areas in all countries are "moderately prepared," but Albania shows better capacity to cope with competitive EU market pressures and has a better functioning market economy.