It was a great honor to work with Professor Vasile PUŞCAŞ in writing a material on the status of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Vasile Pușcaș is professor for international relations and he was the chief negotiator for Romania’s EU accession and Minister for European Affairs.
The European Union has gone through a series of particularly serious crises over the last 15 years, since the rejection of the European Constitutional Treaty in 2005. The last decade and a half has shown us that European decision-making has not been appropriate in terms of strategic anticipation or in support of actions to the satisfaction of Member States and citizens. Now, current European leaders are urging to "talk about the European Union." The time of words has passed. Now we need creative thinking, innovation, vision, and constructive action of all European citizens for the reconstruction of the EU.
The way the current Conference on the Future of Europe was conceived does not offer a pathway for a European integration vision, the organizers are even deliberately avoiding it. There is an impression that populist methods are used and opinions are sought on how citizens want to live their social lives (which is happening at local, regional and national level), not on how the European Union should be. The current European leaders are reluctant to propose a discussion on European identity, including what the "European way of life" means.
Since the beginning of European construction, there have been coagulating factors, organizations that have had a lasting impact by supporting certain stages of deepening the European project:
The European International Movement, by organizing the Hague Congress in 1948, helped to establish the Council of Europe.
ERT - European Round Table of Industrialists promoted the Internal Market in the 1980s.
AUME - Association pour l'union monétaire de l'Europe was established in Paris in 1987, following an idea of Helmut Schmidt and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, animating the debate on a common European currency.
BusinessEurope has been the driving force behind the enlargement of the European Union since 2004.
If we look at the current European society, we see a new phenomenon that needs to be heard and understood. Against the background of the pandemic crisis, everyone - and especially young people - want to really develop the European project. We can call it the European Constructive Movement. They want a clear analysis of the opportunities of the joint European project, they want a vision. They are neither federalists nor intergovernmentalists, but sincere and realistic Europeans…
Even at the level of the European press, there are many grassroots approaches, starting from cities and regions, that want to explain to citizens how Europe can be built for all of us. They now write their content also in English, trying to be an alternative to the Anglo-Saxon press, who are often cynical about the European project.
More courageous ideas have already been launched by the European intellectual circles to re-establish the foundations of the European Union, and to diminish and eliminate radical Euroscepticism. We hope that a European Constructive Movement, as a form of clustering European realists, the European press, but also European political parties and the business sector, can be the coagulator of the current Conference on the Future of Europe.
Dan LUCA / Brussels