European society has many questions that it is trying to answer in the coming months. Market variables are enormous, and developments are difficult to predict even on a short term. If we rethink the activities from the point of view of a pandemic that generally lasts 18 months (and we only arrived in month 6 with COVID-19), we are caught in a clutch, which on the one hand gives us an enthusiastic view of economic reopening, but we have also injected the idea of a possible second wave of the crisis, with an even possible new physical lockdown in October 2020.
The crisis we are experiencing is radically changing our way of thinking at the micro level, but meta-evolutions are also expected. The governments of European countries are very strong now, and the legislative forums have entered a shadow. As it was after the financial crisis of 2008, when the State intervened strongly to save banks and companies. The European Union, as a whole, had little responsibility then, but lost much in the eyes of the citizen.
But 2020 is totally different; the European Union is playing a huge, existential card, especially over the next 6 months. President Macron stated that we need a European rescue plan equivalent to 5-10 points of GDP at EU level. So why not be brave and go all the way to European integration? If we ask for a 100-point plan directly, we have a euro budget, so dear to France and Germany. If we are still talking about economic recovery, why not be creative when it comes to European industrial champions, supported by the "European State", especially since DG Competition is more relaxed in their approach than last year in such situations. The structuring of a European tax system, digital, green or focused on the multinationals is of course an interesting novelty to consider. I am curious to see how much the Member States will give in to these prerogatives.
By December 2020, we need a lot of answers, even if we most likely will not have an effective Corona vaccine yet. However, if the European objective is not clear by then, we are entering the electoral game in Germany (2021) and the one for (re)election of the French president (2022). The window of opportunity will soon close…
Are we ready to strengthen the European structure both in terms of legislation and in terms of legitimacy vis-à-vis citizens? It doesn't matter what we call this evolution, Future EU or Next Generation EU. It is important to have clarity on the objective, leadership and to involve the citizens as much as possible in this construction.
Dan LUCA / Brussels