Once Scorned, ‘Multispeed Europe’ Is Back

Valentina Pop, The Wall Street Journal, 01.03.2017

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As the U.K. prepares to launch divorce talks with the European Union this month, the rest of the bloc is thinking seriously about loosening the ties among the 27 countries that remain.

In a report Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for the first time floated the possibility of the bloc handing back some powers to national governments. These could range from Brussels standing down from policing of government financing of companies, for example, to a broader pullback that would essentially strip the EU back to being merely a single market. [...]

With less EU money likely to be available after the U.K. leaves the bloc, acrimonious negotiations are expected on the bloc’s budget for the next seven years, including what it should be spent on and what conditions should be attached.

“Multispeed Europe is also a way to put pressure on some countries to reconsider blocking some policies, especially now when the EU is under pressure from Brexit and Trump,” said Janis Emmanouilidis of the European Policy Center, a Brussels-based think tank, saw a new tone emerging.

“This is not the beginning of the end, but it is a realization that the readiness to make a big integration leap is not there,” he said.

Read full article here



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