The seventh ESI Communicating Europe workshop was held in Stockholm on May 25-26 2009 – ahead of the Swedish EU Presidency discussed the consensus in Sweden on further EU enlargement. The speakers included the influential Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Göran Lennmarker who said that all countries which want to join and meet the requirements should be allowed to join the EU – points he reiterated on the Croatian TV programme TV Paralele, on June 7.
Senior officials from the Swedish Foreign Ministry outlined the planning for the Swedish EU Presidency and their aims to push the enlargement agenda – where possible. The countries in SE Europe have a key role: "the EU integration process is a qualifying process not a negotiation," a senior Swedish diplomat said. He encouraged the 20 participants from seven West Balkan states to be proactive in making the case for enlargement.
The workshop was held in the British Embassy conference centre and was sponsored by the Strategic programme Fund of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Andrew Mitchell, the British Ambassador to Sweden and Regional Director, also hosted a dinner for the participants. The group included senior policy-makers and TV presenters and editors from seven Balkan states.
The speakers also included business leaders including Peter Eghardt, the President of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, and Daniel Sachs, the CEO of the investment capital company Proventus, who both outlined Sweden's mix of free market policies and a strong welfare state.
The next Communicating Europe event is scheduled for mid October 2009 in The Hague. For more information please contact Chris Langdon.