miercuri, 21 iunie 2023

How are we preparing for the European agenda 2024-2029?

In the summer of next year, the mandate of the current elected members of the European institutions will end, and the 2024 elections for the European Parliament are already a topic on the political agenda in the capitals of the EU member states.


The European mandate that began in the summer of 2019 was mostly in the shadow of major global and European crises. Against this background, the entire European agenda was constantly revised, and EU leaders tried more to react to difficult situations than to advance a strategic agenda.


Eurosceptic forces have grown considerably in several member states, now acting even more coordinated at European level. With the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, the Franco-German engine had to reaffirm its options as a leader in European construction, a fact constantly reflected in the approaches of the European Union. Due to the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the issue of Europe's security has been very prominent on the European public agenda. Peace and stability in Europe, which for so many years contributed to its economic growth and constituted a true brand of the European integration process, were strongly and seriously disturbed. Quick and efficient responses were needed, which developed the administrative and political capacity of the European Union.


The thoughts of European citizens are not only directed towards the present states and experiences, but also towards the future, wondering what will happen in the next period. Of course, the election of the MEPs is important, but the real experts are more interested in the new European Commission. Paradoxically, possible transformations of the institutional and decision-making structure in the EU concern leaders and political groups more widely, while citizens are more interested in the future European political agenda after 2024, and how European policies will affect their individual and community life.


The EU member countries, the business sector, the academic world, but also civil society, are already looking at deciphering the narrative of the next stage of evolution. Of course, if everything goes according to the European electoral program, it would be possible that in September 2024 the priorities of the future President of the European Commission will be officially presented. This will be the moment to receive extensive information on the options for European policies that would be supported politically and financially, revealing the strategic path of the European Union. After the publication of the main actions, we will go into detail to identify the proposals for changes for each European sectoral policy and which qualities would be required by the General Directorates of the European Commission with implementation attributions, but also the adaptations that they will have to realize at the level of administrative capacities of the member states.


Many questions that came from the reality of the life of European citizens make it clear that there is a need for a realistic macro-European program developed together with the beneficiaries, the citizens, be they businesspeople or organized civil society. The traumatic experience of the recent Conference on the future of Europe does not strengthen confidence in European leadership. It was rather a step towards ideologising the concepts, but it did not bring the clarifications and solutions expected by those who strongly believe in the continuous improvement of the European project. Perhaps during the upcoming European electoral campaign fragments of the conclusions of the Conference will be selected in order to present to the citizens a consistent vision, to which Europe will vibrate!


Unfortunately, over the last two decades the European leaders in Brussels, most often under the pressure of the individualized interests of a member state, have gradually replaced the community method and continuous European negotiations with corporate governance, and in recent years with the method of the balance of power in the process European decision-maker. Politicians and policy makers signaled that they sensed citizen and civil society organizations' grievances, that no European public message would be supported without seeking the opinion and advice of all stakeholders, including industries and social partners. Environmental policies, for example, have economic consequences with a huge impact on companies and social life in member states. With globalization reshaping and competition from emerging countries growing stronger, Europe's long-term economic prosperity will depend on the strength of its industrial and social base.


However, it is still a sensitive topic, little addressed, sometimes even avoided by the political-decision-making circles in Brussels. We are living a moment of European impasse, and the need for European leaders, with vision and capacity for rational political management, is more needed than ever, both at the level of the European institutions and the member states!


Dan LUCA / Brussels

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