Presentation on theme: "Civil Society Day 2014. The project Key project objective: promote an EU-wide public debate about Europe’s future initiated & supported by a group of."— Presentation transcript:
The project Key project objective: promote an EU-wide public debate about Europe’s future initiated & supported by a group of 11 European foundations Phase I (March-November 2013): develop strategic options; analyse ‘state of the Union’ & important challenges facing the EU (‘Reflection Group’; ‘Advisory Group’) Phase II (November 2013-April 2014): debate with citizens, policy-makers & stakeholders about the EU’s future (around 50 events) Phase III (April-September 2014): draft ‘New Pact for Europe’ including recommendations Phase IV (as of October 2014): present ‘New Pact’ to the new EU leadership after 2014 European Parliament elections
The State of the Union What’s up? Debate about the EU’s future prompted by ‘euro crisis’ Deep cracks in integration project due to highly complex crises ‘Euro-implosion’ may be averted… …BUT: overall situation still volatile & difficult day-to-day reality for many European citizens Open questions Will the European Union emerge stronger from crisis? How to respond to economic, political and social challenges? Which strategic choice about the EU’s long-term future should we take?
The challenges Europe faces a series of connected challenges – four dimensions: Socio-economic challenges – rich and poor: threats to social peace; widening economic gap; lack of unity in the euro area Political-institutional challenges – making EU democracy work: lack of public support; leadership crises; challenges to representative democracy Societal challenges – who we think we are: lack of common understanding & vision; increasing divisions between Member States; lack of knowledge about EU External-global challenges – what’s going on in the world: risk of Europe being pushed to the sidelines; pressure to adapt international organisations
Challenges for democracy at EU level Insufficient public support for the EU: citizens feel directly affected by decisions taken ‘in Brussels’ which they cannot influence/which do not reflect their interests decisions taken behind closed doors and often driven by powerful national governments a complex and often incomprehensible EU decision-making system national elites acting as ‘gatekeepers’ and looking for ‘scapegoats’ little shared sense of identity and common destiny The traditional concept of political representation in crisis: new forms of radical/populist opposition little participation at EU elections/parties different understanding of democracy and participation in EU
Challenges for democracy at EU level Increasing divisions between Member States (re-)surfacing of nationalistic chauvinism, historical resentments, harmful blame game between Member States differing interpretations of the crisis and how to respond conflicting visions of the future of European integration; reluctance to address sensitive questions openly because of ‘political correctness’ and fears that the debate might degenerate and become counter-productive..
The way(s) forward Five potential EU paths (strategic options for the EU): 1.Going back to the basics 2.Consolidating past achievements 3.Moving ahead ambitiously 4.Leaping forward 5.Changing the ‘more/less Europe’ logic
Option 1: Going back to the basics (undoing the ‘mistakes’ of the past) The basic thinking behind this approach EU integration has gone too far; need to abandon path towards “ever closer union”. Acknowledge that EU will & should never become an economic and political union. We should undo past mistakes best way to move forward. The Euro is ‘part of the problem’ rather than ‘part of the solution’. Getting rid of the Euro is the best way to rescue the EU’s most important achievement the Single Market. National governments & parliaments are the key sources of legitimacy limit role of European Parliament and European Commission. We should focus on areas where EU adds clear value.
Option 2 – Consolidating past achievements (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) The basic thinking behind this approach Focus attention on what is needed to overcome the immediate crisis. Most reforms have already been introduced give them time to work and concentrate on reforms at national level Be realistic: Member States are not willing/able to go much further. Avoid over-ambitious attempts to deepen integration avoid potential overstretch. Public support depends on delivery in the fields of growth & employment. No major EU reform requiring treaty change.
Option 3 – Moving ahead ambitiously (doing more and doing it better) The basic thinking behind this approach It’s not enough to consolidate past achievements; the EU must be more ambitious. More integration necessary if Europe wants to overcome crisis and master future challenges. Need to further strengthen the EMU and democratic credentials of the EU. We need a transnational public debate about the EU’s future. EU treaty reform is necessary BUT: no fully-fledged economic and political union. Create closer cooperation between some EU countries BUT: no permanent ‘two-speed Europe’
Option 4 – Leaping forward (full European integration is the only answer) The basic thinking behind this approach EU lacks tools required to address challenges we need a leap to economic, social & political union. Elected European ‘government’ & parliament with wide-ranging powers Substantial European budget & ‘European treasury’; transfer of powers to European level Overcome contradiction between the shared currency & continued attention to ‘national interests’. No EU country able to influence global agenda and defend interests on its own. Opposition from some countries should not prevent ‘willing’ countries to make major leap.
Option 5 – Changing the more/less Europe logic The basic thinking behind this approach There’s no point in continuing the argument ‘more Europe’ versus ‘less Europe’ – it’s exhausted! The transfer of national concepts is neither possible nor advisable (no further parliamentarisation, personalisation & politicisation). Key goal should be an increased accountability to close the gap between EU & its citizens. Citizens should be able to influence EU policy-making beyond voting in EP elections. Safeguarding fundamental rights of citizens at national level & guaranteeing basic social rights by strengthening the EU´s ‘caring’ dimension.