Preparing for the EU’s next enlargement
on 22 November 2023 in Tallinn, Estonia.
Venue: Nordic Hotel Forum (Viru square 3, Tallinn)
Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine has launched geopolitical changes, the results of which will only become fully apparent in the years to come. The European Commission has recommended the opening of accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. It has recommended the opening of accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, once the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria is achieved. The Commission has also recommended granting candidate status to Georgia on the understanding that the government implements important reforms. And there is a push for the accelerated European integration of candidate countries in the Western Balkans. How can we ensure that EU enlargement will proceed as these countries expect? How can we ensure that applicants continue to reform and that these reforms are visible to others? What institutional and policy reforms are required for the EU to absorb candidate countries? By when, realistically speaking?
Organised on the back of the publication of the European Commission’s enlargement package and a few weeks ahead of a highly anticipated European Council summit in December, this turbulent but hopeful time is a good moment to try and offer clarity about the way forward.
The conference is jointly organised by the International Centre for Defence and Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia in partnership with the European Commission Representation in Estonia, Embassy of Sweden in Tallinn and Embassy of Romania in Tallinn.
Participation at this event is by invitation only.
09:30-09:45 Introduction and welcome
Indrek Kannik, Director, ICDS
Margus Tsahkna, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Vivian Loonela, Head of European Commission Representation in Estonia
Ingrid Tersman, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden in Estonia
09:45-11:15 Panel I: Matching geopolitical realities and reform needs
Daniela Gîtman, State Secretary, Ministry of European Affairs of Romania
Stela Leucă, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Chair of the Committee on Integration of Ukraine to the EU, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (remote)
Jorida Tabaku, Chair of the National Council of Integration and Chair of the European Affairs Committee, Parliament of Albania
Jonatan Vseviov, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Moderator: Kristi Raik, Deputy Director, ICDS
11:15-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-13:00 Panel II: Promise and limits of ‘gradual integration’
Thomas Hagleitner, Head of Unit for Western Balkans Policy and Regional Strategy, DG NEAR, European Commission
Mirna Vlašić Feketija, Minister Plenipotentiary, Embassy of Croatia in Sweden
Maryna Rabinovych, Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Agder and Kyiv School of Economics
Moderator: Steven Blockmans, Senior Fellow, ICDS and CEPS
14:00-15:30 Panel III: How should the EU prepare to absorb new members?
Mikel Iriso, Senior Advisor of Institutional Affairs, Secretariat for the EU, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain
Klen Jäärats, Prime Minister´s EU Sherpa and Director of the EU Secretariat, Government Office of Estonia
Gaetano D’Adamo, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Budget, European Commission
Christophe Hillion, Professor of European Law, University of Oslo and Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Moderator: Vivian Loonela, Head of European Commission Representation in Estonia
15:30-15:45 Coffee break
15:45-16:45 Panel IV: Between the devil and the deep blue sea: Ukraine’s rocky road from Eastern Partnership to EU membership
Serhiy “Padre” Dmytriyev, Chaplain, Armed Forces of Ukraine (remote)
Jaanika Merilo, Advisor to Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Government of Ukraine
Dirk Schuebel, Special Envoy of the Eastern Partnership, European External Action Service
Tanel Tang, Team Leader for Policy Coordination, Ukraine Service, DG NEAR, European Commission
Moderator: Gert Antsu, Director for Ukraine, Moldova and South Caucasus, Special Envoy for Eastern Partnership, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
16:45-17:00 Closing remarks
Gert Antsu, Director for Ukraine, Moldova and South Caucasus, Special Envoy for Eastern Partnership, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Călin Stoica, Ambassador of Romanian in Estonia
17:00 Reception offered by the Embassy of Romania in Estonia
(in alphabetical order)
Director for Ukraine, Moldova and South Caucasus, Special Envoy for Eastern Partnership, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Gert Antsu is the Director for Ukraine, Moldova and the South Caucasus at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has served as the Estonian Special Envoy for Eastern Partnership since 2019. He previously worked as Ambassador to Ukraine (2016-19) and Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland (2012-16), as well as Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union. Mr Antsu also served as the Director for EU Affairs at the Government Office. Before Estonia’s accession to the EU, he trained Estonian civil servants and taught courses on EU affairs at several universities. Having studied at the College of Europe in Natolin (Poland) and the Aarhus University (Denmark), he holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Tartu.
Senior Fellow, the Centre for European Policy Studies and the International Centre for Defence and Security
Dr Steven Blockmans is a senior fellow at CEPS (Brussels) and ICDS (Tallinn), visiting professor at the College of Europe (Bruges & Natolin), and editor-in-chief of the European Foreign Affairs Review. He is a frequent commentator on EU affairs at major media outlets and regularly briefs senior policy practitioners from the European Union, its member states and G20 country governments. He has testified at the foreign affairs and international trade committees of the European Parliament and the UK House of Commons. He was also a member of a track 1,5 process between the EU and Russia. He is the author of Tough Love: the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans (Asser Press 2007) and The Obsolescence of the European Neighbourhood Policy (Rowman & Littlefield 2017). He was a long-term expert on legal approximation in the framework of an EU-sponsored project in support of the Ministry of European Integration of Albania.
Deputy Head of Unit, DG Budget, European Commission
Gaetano D’Adamo is Deputy Head of Unit for the Multiannual Financial Framework in the Directorate-General (DG) for Budget at the European Commission. At the Commission, he previously worked in Economic and Financial Affairs, first as an Economic Analyst for Structural Reforms and then as a Policy Officer on the G20 and International Financial Architecture. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Bologna (Italy). Before joining the Commission, he was a researcher at the European Central Bank and assistant professor for European economics at the University of Valencia (Spain) from 2011 to 2014.
SERHIY “PADRE” DMYTRIYEV
Chaplain, Armed Forces of Ukraine
Serhiy Dmytriyev is the Chairman of the Board of Eleos-Ukraine, an organisation responsible for the social work of the Church. Father Serhiy has the rank of lieutenant and has been serving as a chaplain (callsign Padre) in the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2014.
State Secretary for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania
Daniela Gîtman has been State Secretary for European Affairs since 2022. Prior to that, she held the position of State Secretary for Inter-Institutional Affairs and State Secretary for Global Affairs. Between 2016 and 2022, her activity in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters was concentrated on initiating and coordinating a series of flagship policies and projects consolidating Romania’s relationship with the UN and its specialised agencies, both in her capacity as State Secretary, as well as Special Representative of the MFA responsible of promoting Romania’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC. As a career diplomat, since 1993, throughout her professional activity, Ms Gîtman held various responsibilities both at the MFA’s Headquarters and within several foreign diplomatic missions of Romania. She served as Ambassador of Romania to the Czech Republic, Deputy Head of Mission and subsequently, Chargé d’Affaires ad-interim at the Embassy of Romania in the USA.
Head of Unit for Western Balkans Policy and Regional Strategy, DG NEAR, European Commission
Thomas Hagleitner is the Head of the Unit for Western Balkans Policy and Regional Strategy, European Commission-Directorate General for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR). Having studied at the University of Vienna and the College of Europe in Bruges, he has been working for the European Commission since 1995. After some years at the Secretariat General, Mr Hagleitner has been mainly focused on the Enlargement policy and notably the Western Balkans for 15 years. He has dealt in particular with the Croatian accession process, from the application to accession, as well as the EU’s overall enlargement strategy. Mr Hagleitner has been responsible for the accession negotiations with Montenegro in the Commission’s DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiation for 7 years.
Professor of European Law, University of Oslo and Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Christophe Hillion is a professor of European law at the University of Oslo and a research professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). He has published on constitutional law and the external action of the European Union. His present research focuses on the enforcement of the rule of law and democracy in the EU and on the interactions between the EU and its European partners such as Norway, the UK, and Ukraine. He regularly advises European governments and institutions on these topics.
Senior Advisor, Secretariat for the EU, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain
Mikel Iriso has worked for the Deputy Directorate General (DG) for EU Institutional Affairs of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in charge of EU Enlargement since August 2023. Graduate in law, with a master’s in international relations, he joined the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2006 as a junior diplomat, working first at the DG for the Planning and Evaluation of International Cooperation for Development. Between 2007 and 2011, he was Deputy Head of Mission at the Spanish Embassy in Tallinn, and then, between 2011 and 2013, Consul at the Spanish Embassy in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. On his return to the Ministry in Madrid, he joined the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Department, as an advisor, and followed the Eastern Partnership policy of the EU in the Eastern Neighbourhood. Between 2015 and 2019, he was posted in Moscow as a Political Counsellor and, between 2019 and 2023, Deputy Head of Mission in Zagreb.
Prime Minister´s EU Sherpa and Director of the EU Secretariat, Government Office of Estonia
Klen Jäärats is the Prime Minister´s EU Sherpa and Director of the EU Secretariat, Government Office of Estonia. Before focusing on accession to the EU, he led the work of the Ministry of Interior on talks over Chapter 24 “Justice and Home Affairs” and Estonia´s accession to the Schengen area and later established the Refugees Department at the Citizenship and Migration Board. After Estonia’s Accession to the EU, he served two terms as a diplomat in Brussels at the Estonian Permanent Representation to the EU (2004-10) where he worked on justice and home affairs and as an Antici, which involved the preparatory work over the Lisbon Treaty. After moving back to Estonia in 2010, he started working in the Government Office, which included the Estonian EU Council Presidency of the EU in 2017 and the establishment of the Tallinn Digital Summit. He studied law at the Institute of Law of Tartu University and holds an MSc in digital transformation of enterprises from TalTech.
Director of the International Centre for Defence and Security
Indrek Kannik joined the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) in November 2020. Previously, Mr Kannik has worked in various government agencies in the area of defence and security policy. Among other positions, he has served as Minister of Defence, Security Policy Adviser to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, and Head of Analysis of the Foreign Intelligence Service. In the 1990s, Mr Kannik was a member of the Estonian Parliament. He has also been a member of the ICDS Supervisory Board.
Chair of the Committee on Integration of Ukraine to the EU, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze is a Member of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee of Ukraine’s Integration into the European Union. Prior to assuming this position, she was the Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine (2016-19). In Verkhovna Rada, she previously served as the First Deputy Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Ukraine’s Parliamentary Delegation to NATO PA leader (2014-16). Ms Klympush-Tsintsadze entered politics after the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, having previously worked in civil society and the journalism sector. In 2007-11, she chaired the “Open Ukraine Foundation,” an international charity organisation. Between 2011 and 2014, she headed the Yalta European Strategy network. Between 2002 and 2007, Ms Klympush-Tsintsadze was a Radio BBC Ukrainian Service correspondent in the USA (Washington, DC) and the Caucasus (Tbilisi). Having begun her career in 1993 with the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR), she also worked in the East-West Institute’s Kyiv Center (1998-2002). Ms. Klympush-Tsintsadze is co-editor of Black Sea Region: Cooperation and Security Building.
State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova
Stela Leuca has held the position of State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova since December 2022. She is responsible for the dossier of European Integration, with her duties ranging from coordination of the national EU integration efforts for the government to promoting Moldova’s accession to the European Union, in particular among EU Member States and with the EU institutions. Before becoming the State Secretary, Ms Leuca was a Senior Foreign Policy Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Moldova. As the country was granted EU candidate status, Ms Leuca was leading Moldova’s EU accession implementation plan. Previously, Ms Leuca spent two decades advising the World Bank, USAID, as well as government and non-government stakeholders in Moldova and around the world on good governance, democratic institution building, political development, and citizen participation.
Head of European Commission Representation in Estonia
Vivian Loonela has been the Head of the Commission Representation in Estonia since January 2022. Previously, she worked as the Commission’s Coordinating Spokesperson for the European Green Deal, leading the Commission’s communication in the areas of climate, energy, environment, oceans, transport, and cohesion. Before, she was the Foreign Policy and Cybersecurity Advisor in the Cabinet of Andrus Ansip and Vice-President for the Digital Single Market. She has been a member of several EU-US negotiation teams on justice and home affairs and the Secretariat-General’s rule of law and economic governance teams. With a law degree from the University of Tartu, Ms Loonela contributed to efforts to develop justice and home affairs cooperation with Ukraine and within the Eastern Partnership. Before joining the Commission, she was an Estonian diplomat and was posted at the Estonian Permanent Representation to NATO.
Advisor to Minister of Digital Transformation, Government of Ukraine
Jaanika Merilo has been an Advisor to the Minister of Digital Transformation and Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine since 2019, as well as an Advisor to the Mayor of Lviv, active Deputy Mayor of Dnipro, two ministers of Infrastructure of Ukraine, and the Minister of Cabinet of Ministers since 2015. Ms Merilo has over 20 years of combined experience in IT, investment management, and communication, as well as a deep interest in the developing economies of Russia and Ukraine. In 2015, as one of the drivers of digital Ukraine, she was nominated by Google and Financial Times for the list of NE100 “Innovators whose innovations change the world for better.” Ms Merilo has two master’s degrees from the University of Cumbria and Rome Business School and is currently pursuing her third degree in global security from King´s College London.
Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Agder and Kyiv School of Economics
Dr Maryna Rabinovych is a post-doctoral researcher with the project “Lowering the Bar? – Compliance Negotiations and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement,” funded by the Research Council of Norway and implemented by the Department of Political Science and Management at the University of Agder. She also holds affiliation with the Kyiv School of Economics (Ukraine), contributing to the REDEMOS Horizon Europe project, funded by the European Commission. She holds a PhD (magna cum laude) in Legal Studies from the University of Hamburg, an LLM “European and European Legal Studies” from the University of Hamburg and Europa-Kolleg Hamburg. Her research interests include EU foreign policy, EU enlargement and neighbourhood policies, as well as political and legal developments in Ukraine. Her monograph EU Regional Trade Agreements. An Instrument of Promoting the Rule of Law to Third States was published with Routledge in 2021.
Deputy Director and Head of the Foreign Policy Programme, the International Centre for Defence and Security
Dr Kristi Raik is the Deputy Director and Head of the Foreign Policy Programme of the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) as of 1 January 2023. She is also an adjunct professor of international relations at the University of Turku. From 2018 to 2022, she was the Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the ICDS, and prior to that, served as a Senior Research Fellow and Acting Programme Director at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki and an official at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. Dr Raik has published, lectured, and commented widely on European security and EU foreign policy, including the EU’s relations with Russia, Ukraine, and other Eastern neighbours. Dr Raik is also an expert on the foreign and security policies of the Baltic states and Finland. She has provided expert contributions to the Estonian, Finnish, EU, and NATO institutions. Dr Raik has a PhD from the University of Turku.
Special Envoy for the Eastern Partnership, European External Action Service
Dirk Schuebel has been the EU’s Special Envoy for the Eastern Partnership since October 2022. Prior to this appointment, he was the EU’s Head of Delegation to Belarus from 2019 to September 2022. Mr Schuebel served as Head of the EU Delegation and Ambassador in the Republic of Moldova and as Head of the Political, Press and Information Section of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. He was both Head of Division for Russia and Head of Division for the bilateral relation with the Eastern Partnership in the European External Action Service (EEAS). Before his EEAS commitments, Mr Schuebel worked in the European Commission’s DGs dealing with Transport and Energy, Enlargement, and Trade. He started his professional career in the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr Schuebel holds a degree in Foreign Trade and International Commercial Relations.
Ambassador of Romania in Estonia
Călin Stoica is the Ambassador of Romania in Estonia and former Permanent Representative to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union (2017-21). Mr Stoica was previously Director for the OSCE, Director for the UN, and Director-General for Strategic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, where he used to cover NATO, the OSCE, asymmetrical risks and nonproliferation, and Romania’s relations with the US and Canada. As a career diplomat, he was also posted to Beijing and Vienna. Throughout 2016, Mr Stoica served as the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Romania. He was the Representative of Romania in the NATO High-Level Task Force (2008-10), headed Romania’s delegation to bilateral and multilateral negotiations in the area of arms control and CSBMs, and was the National Coordinator for the Central European Initiative (1999-2000). Between 2010 and 2015, Mr Stoica was the Head of NATO and Multilateral Affairs within the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division at NATO HQ (Brussels). Between 2001 and 2008, he held various positions in the Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC)/OSCE Secretariat in Vienna, including that of Acting Deputy Director of the CPC. Mr Stoica has a post-master’s degree in European and international relations from the University of Amsterdam and an MA in diplomacy and international relations from the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (Bucharest).
Chair of the National Council of Integration and Chair of the European Affairs Committee, Parliament of Albania
Jorida Tabaku is the Chair of the National Council of Integration and Chair of the European Affairs Committee, Parliament of Albania. With a PhD from the University of Tirana and an MA from Durham University (UK), she started her career as a professor at the University of Tirana. In 2009, Ms Tabaku was appointed as a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of EU Integration where she was responsible for the finance process of EU funds, as well as the fulfilment and implementation of the EU priority and the implementation of SAA. In 2011, Ms Tabaku was elected as a member of the Council of Tirana and then appointed as Deputy Mayor of Tirana. In 2013, Ms Tabaku was elected as an MP from the Democratic Party to the Parliament where she served as a Deputy Chair of the Economic and Finance Commission.
Team Leader for Policy Coordination, Ukraine Service, DG NEAR, European Commission
Tanel Tang is the Team Leader for Policy and Reform Coordination at the Support Group for Ukraine at the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement (DG NEAR) within the European Commission, having worked in the Group since the beginning of 2018. His previous duties include the Estonian Presidency at the European Union in 2017, the Political Section of the EU Delegation in Kyiv from 2015 to 2017, as well as various diplomatic positions in Estonian foreign service in Strasbourg, Brussels, and Berlin.
Ambassador of Sweden in Estonia
Ingrid Tersman has been the Ambassador of Sweden to the Republic of Estonia since 2021. She has previously served as an Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Amb Tersman has over 25 years of experience from her time at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence. She has held various positions related to EU and Nordic affairs, conflict resolution, and conventional arms control. From 2006 to 2007, Amb Tersman served as Swedish Political Representative and Head of the Civilian Team at the Swedish International Security Assistance Force/Provincial Reconstruction Team in Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. She worked at the Swedish Defence Research Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Amb Tersman has extensive management experience from positions within the Swedish government.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Margus Tsahkna assumed office as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia in April 2023. Having started his career in local politics in 2002, Minister Tsahkna was a member of the 11th, 12th (2007-15) and 13th (2017-19) Riigikogu and has held several ministerial positions: Minister of Defence (2016-17) and Minister of Social Protection (2015-16). Minister Tsahkna was head of the Pro Patria political party from 2015 to 2017, after which he left politics to work in the private sector in the field of war and disaster medicine. With experience in the private sector, Minister Tsahkna created the new political party E200, which successfully entered the Riigikogu after the general elections in March 2023. Minister Tsahkna has studied theology, religious studies, and international law.
MIRNA VLAŠIĆ FEKETIJA
Minister Plenipotentiary, Embassy of Croatia in Sweden
Mirna Vlašić Feketija is the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Embassy of Croatia in Sweden. As a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs, she was involved in the Croatian accession negotiations process as the Secretary of the Government Coordination Committee for the Negotiations concurrently in the Office of the Chief Negotiator. From 2012 to 2015, she was running the Ministry’s project of providing technical assistance in the EU affairs, integration, and negotiations, primarily to the Western Balkans countries. Currently, she is occasionally involved in sharing her knowledge and experience with civil servants from Ukraine and Moldova. Ms Vlašić Feketija is presently serving at the Embassy of Croatia in Stockholm, following her Transatlantic Fellowship at the US Department of State and posting at the Croatian Embassy in Washington, DC (2015-19), as well as holding the position of the Director for Americas in Zagreb (2020-21).
Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia