Overcoming the ambition-unity dilemma

Janis A. Emmanouilidis and Fabian Zuleeg

Brussels 10/2022

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Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has triggered a watershed moment for the European Union. To deal with the challenges in this new era, the EU must adapt its decision-making processes to the new circumstances, in particular regarding the unanimity requirement in key policy areas profoundly affected by the Zeitenwende, including foreign and security policy, the EU budget, as well as enlargement.

While unity among member states is politically important, it makes it harder to take ambitious decisions quickly. This Discussion Paper by Fabian Zuleeg and Janis A. Emmanouilidis provides two concrete proposals to address this ambition-unity dilemma and improve the EU's decision-making capacity in times of crisis. The EU should introduce a super-qualified majority in the (European) Council. If that is not possible, it should consider recourse to action outside the EU treaty framework via an ´intergovernmental avantgarde´.

Unless the Union finds ways to upgrade its decision-making processes, ambition will suffer, and the EU will not be able to defend its values and protect its interests in Europe and beyond.

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