ESI in Turkey - ESI on Kosovo

4 September 2004

Meeting in Istanbul this summer we have launched our latest new project: ESI Turkey. In what will be ESI's largest commitment, we will explore the process of transformation occurring in Turkey. We have five analysts devoted to this, including three new Turkish staff.

In addition, during the summer we have added three new senior positions. We are joined by Joachim Hütter, until recently Head of the Division for Europe and Latin America in the United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations in New York, who will be a senior adviser on policy and will assist us in working with UN institutions. Rolf Paasch is an experienced international correspondent for Frankfurter Rundschau , and will assist ESI in our policy work. Minna Järvenpää, one of the founding members of ESI, rejoins the team after a period in UNMIK to develop our outreach work in Brussels.

This August we have winded down the Lessons Learned and Analysis Unit (LLA) in Kosovo, after three years of advising and supporting the EU Pillar of UNMIK. The final LLA paper, Towards a Kosovo Development Plan, was presented in July in Kosovo. The presentation was attended by some 120 Kosovo and international decision makers and economics experts, including the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The paper offers an overview of the state of the Kosovo economy and a concrete proposal for how to move forward (see the attached executive version).

Verena Knaus is now leaving Kosovo to support the Turkey project. In Kosovo we are devoting increasing efforts to building up local research capacity. We are also directly supporting new groups of local researchers in Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia to contribute to the production of a 'New Economic Geography' of the region.

We continue to focus on EU policy towards South Eastern Europe. In June, we helped Wilton Park organise a conference on the EU integration process in Dubrovnik, hosted by the Croatian government. On the back of Croatia's success in becoming an official candidate and Macedonia's membership application, there is a new momentum in the region. The second attachment is the ESI discussion paper which was presented at the conference.

July 2004 marked exactly five years since our small and dedicated group first met in a Sarajevo café and decided to create a think tank. Over these years, we have worked to build understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing South Eastern Europe.

We would like to thank the foundations and governments whose generous support has made our achievements possible. And we thank our readers, and look forward to your feedback over the next five years of ESI.

Best wishes,

Your ESI team

Gerald Knaus