Strategic Options for Europe's Future

Janis A. Emmanouilidis, King Baudouin Foundation, Bertelsmann Stiftung

First report 'New Pact for Europe' project

Brussels 12/2013

PDF-Download




 

First report of the New Pact for Europe project. This report, which reflects the work and discussions of a Reflection Group including EU experts from different Member States, analyses the 'state of the Union', describes the key challenges Europe faces and presents the following five potential strategic options for the future of European integration:

Option 1 – Going back to the basics: Supporters of the option argue that the events of recent years have shown that European integration has gone too far and that the EU should abandon moves towards an "ever closer union". For them performing a U-turn and undoing mistakes of the past is the most promising way forward to rescue the most worthwhile result of European integration: the Single Market. Dismantling the euro in its current form would  according to advocated of this option – not lead to a collapse of the Union, but rather herald the start of a more pragmatic, effective approach to European integration.

Option 2 – Consolidating past achievements: Proponents of this option argue that the EU has already introduced most of the reforms needed to overcome the euro crisis and these should be given time to work. There is a need to be realistic and accept that Member States are not willing to go further and pool sovereignty in key areas. The EU should, at this difficult moment, steer clear of overambitious attempts to deepen integration, which could backfire given the negative political and public attitudes in many countries towards the EU and euro.

Option 3 – Moving ahead ambitiously: Those supporting this option  argue that simply consolidating past achievements will not be enough: further integration, including measures to further deepen integration in the Economic and Monetary Union and boost the Union's democratic legitimacy in the public's eyes, and an honest public debate about the EU's future are vital not only to overcome the crisis but also to prepare for future challenges. All this will require significant changes to the EU Treaties. But reforms will have to be done jointly and cautiously, step by step, to avoid creating new dividing lines between EU countries.

Option 4 – Leaping forward: Advocates of this option say that recent experience has provided ample proof that the EU is insufficiently equipped to face current and future challenges, and that there is a need to take a major qualitative leap towards a fully-fledged economic, fiscal, financial, social and political union, with a strong European executive ('European government') and legislature (parliament) able to take autonomous decisions reflecting genuine European interests. Potential opposition from some countries should not prevent the 'willing and able' from making a major leap forward, even if this leads to a 'core Europe' including only those countries ready to deepen integration significantly.

Option 5 – Changing the 'more/less Europe' logic: Supporters of this option believe that the traditional debate about European integration along the lines of more or less Europe has been exhausted. The experience of the last six decades has shown that a further transfer of national political and democratic concepts to the European level would not work. They say that the EU and its members should concentrate on efforts aiming to make the Union more accountable to the public for its actions, find new ways to involve the public in policy-making, and boost the EU's capacity to safeguard the fundamental rights of its citizens and guarantee their basic social rights by strengthening the Union's caring dimension.

The report deliberately does not opt for one option and comes to no conclusions and makes no concrete policy proposals, because it is designed to serve as a basis to promote an open and frank debate all over Europe about possible alternative paths for the future development of the European Union. It will be discussed between December 2013-April 2014 by citizens, politicians, policy-makers and key stakeholders in about 50 events in many EU countries to generate ideas for future action. After that, the Reflection Group will draw on the outcome of these debates to draft a proposal for a New Pact for Europe, including concrete recommendations, with additional input from an Advisory Group to further enrich their work.

The New Pact for Europe project was initiated by the King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung (Germany) and is supported by a large consortium of foundations, think tanks and civil society organisations. The group of foundations includes: Allianz Kulturstiftung, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, European Cultural Foundation, "La Caixa" Foundation, Network of European Foundations, Open Estonia Foundation, Open Society Initiative for Europe, Stiftung Mercator, and Svenska Kultur Fonden.

For more information about the project see here: www.newpactforeurope.eu

Download of report here


Latest publications

Yes, we should! – EU priorities for 2019-2024
Janis A. Emmanouilidis et al, Challenge Europe, Brussels 04/2019

Challenge Europe – Introduction | Yes, we should!
Janis A. Emmanouilidis et al, Challenge Europe – Yes, we should!, Brussels 04/2019

Re-unite EUrope – A shared Leitmotiv for the next EU leadership
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Challenge Europe – Yes, we should!, Brussels 04/2019

The need to 'Re-unite EUrope': the results of another Brexit summit
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Post-summit Analysis, Brussels 12/2018

Time to move up a gear
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Post-summit Analysis, Brussels 07/2018

La réforme de l'Europe ne pourra se faire sans compromis
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Le Monde, Paris 05/2018

Re-energising Europe: a package deal for the EU27
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, King Baudouin Foundation, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Open Society Initiative for Europe, European Policy Centre, Third report 'New Pact for Europe' project, Brussels 11/2017

Time to re-energise Europe
Herman Van Rompuy, Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Euractiv, Brussels 11/2017

Keeping the 'open society' open
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Alliance Magazine, London 04/2017

The 2017 elections across Europe: facts, expectations and consequences
Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Francesca Fabbri, Yann-Sven Rittelmeyer, Adriaan Schout, Corina Stratulat, Fabian Zuleeg, EPC, Brussels 03/2017


Publications