Challenge Europe – Introduction | Yes, we should!

Janis A. Emmanouilidis et al

Challenge Europe – Yes, we should!

Brussels 04/2019

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The introduction of the EPC Challenge Europe publication, "Yes, we should!", argues that the European Union (EU) is a great success story. For more than six decades, the European project has generated unprecedented levels of freedom, peace, prosperity, openness, and stability across the continent. European integration has shown that we wield far greater influence if we cooperate economically and politically. But at a time when working together is increasingly necessary, trust in the wisdom of cooperation is challenged.

At the same time, the piece argues that there is nothing inevitable about the European project. Today, the hard-won achievements of European integration are taken for granted or are openly questioned, while the wider international conditions that benefitted the Union's development are fraying. Internal and external centrifugal forces are putting European integration under pressure. This is why the EU cannot afford to stall – muddling through clearly entails the risk of losing relevance in the global context and in the eyes of citizens.

In the Union's next politico-institutional cycle (2019-2024), Europeans should choose cooperation over political myopia, partnership over isolation, and action over apathy. We should build on our past accomplishments and defend the pluralist, open, and liberal principles and values on which the EU and its member states are founded. Yes, we should roll up our sleeves and tackle the immediate issues at hand, while not losing sight of the more fundamental economic, political, and societal challenges we are facing. Action in the short and medium term is necessary to create the indispensable conditions for devising more fundamental responses to structural problems in the long run.

The piece, co-written by Rebecca Castermans, Johannes Greubel, Giovanni Grevi, Corina Stratulat, and Janis Emmanouilidis (all from the EPC), is part of a new edition of the EPC's multi-authored Challenge Europe publication ("Yes, we should! EU priorities for 2019-2024"), which this time presents a set of recommendations for the next politico-institutional cycle. The newest edition of Challenge Europe can be downloaded here.

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