marți, 11 decembrie 2018

Can we save the EU with the Future EU process?

The Brexit has enormous implications for the EU, both economically and politically. The Brexit has actually determined a more homogenous public opinion that shows involvement in the future of the EU and better acknowledges the benefits of the membership.

This is the context in which, in the spring of 2017, the current President of the European Commission launched a debate on the future of the EU, presenting five possible scenarios for Europe. And the next significant moment of this exercise will be under the Romanian Presidency of the EU. This is the Future EU Summit in Sibiu on May 9, 2019.

Some considerations on this subject:
Ø  The EU Future Process should not be confused with the European Parliament elections next year, but it is important that certain issues are represented in the electoral campaign debates.
Ø  The Future EU talk is not new. Between 2002 and 2003, the European Convention was launched and proposed a European constitution. The project was too ambitious and rejected by the famous consultations in France and the Netherlands. However, this lead to the Treaty of Lisbon, which governs the current European order.
Ø  The President of France launched the Citizens' Initiative and the results were recently presented to the French Government. It seems to be a document that will be on the table of European leaders at the European Summit in mid-December 2018.
Ø  5 years ago, in a conversation with Étienne Davignon about the future of the EU, he argued, "there must be institutional changes for Member States to respect their moral goals towards the EU." And he added, "The European Convention 10 years ago was organized on the basis of progress, not under the pressure of the crisis. Now the EU has been in crisis for several years, and the data is changing."
Ø  Recently, Vasile Puşcaş said: "We need to talk about permanent, lasting integration; the EU crisis began at institutional level in 2005 with the failure to ratify the European constitution; it is hard to trust the current European leaders who have rejected the 2005 constitutional treaty - the Erasmus political generation is the future."
Ø  The context for next year's European elections puts the financial markets on the brink. According to some EU experts' opinion, 2019 is strongly monitored, and for the first time a clear link between the composition of the European Parliament and the Markets is mentioned.
Ø  Corporations have an enormous role in building the European system. Not just the creation of jobs, so necessary for European citizens, but especially the involvement in major integrative projects. The European internal market and then the introduction of the euro were realised with the help of the private sector. Paradoxically however, the political leaders tried through the 2002-2005 draft of the European constitution, not to involve the European business. Result - zero! Recently speaking with the representatives of the multinationals in Brussels, I was told they are faced with a positional dilemma. "We love the internal market, but it's hard to come out with a pro-European message in next year's election campaign. At corporate level the European Commission in particular is seen as a ferocious hand, imposing non-stop new legislation. In this context there is repulsion towards the European institutions."
Ø  If we look geo-politically, a European Union that incorporates the Balkans and countries like Ukraine is stronger than the current form, especially after Brexit. There is a historic opportunity to bring the European continent under the umbrella of the European Union. If not, these countries will enter different spheres of influence, such as Russia or China. Can we think of a European Union of 35 countries in 2040? We are heading towards a European Union with two speeds. The rough core, about 20-22 countries, with a common budget, and the rest. The European Union will gradually take the place of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg ... And in the Council of Europe there are 47 countries...
Ø  The future of the EU must be an inclusive process, with the countries in the EU accession negotiations, like Serbia or Montenegro, getting around the table as well. This also was happened during the European Convention of 2003.
Ø  The European Commission must allocate the necessary resources to the Future EU project, as it has managed to create a Brexit team. Maybe that team will be transformed by the end of March 2019 into the Future EU team of the General Secretariat.

Dan LUCA / Brussels

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