The European Commission today adopted a White Paper on the Future of Europe, presenting avenues for unity for the EU at 27.
Speaking at the European Parliament today, President Juncker presented a White Paper on the Future of Europe, setting out the main achievements of the European Union: a peace spanning seven decades and an enlarged Union of 500 million citizens living in freedom in one of the world’s most prosperous economies. The White Paper also addresses the challenges that Europe is facing and presents five scenarios for how the Union could evolve by 2025, depending on how it chooses to respond.
The White Paper is the Commission's contribution to the Rome Summit of 25 March 2017, and seeks to outline different ways for building a united EU at 27 Member States. It is the start of the process, not the end, and a wide-ranging and honest debate will now take place between the Governments and peoples of Europe on where our common future lies and what degree of ambition we hold.
The scenarios in the White Paper cover a range of possibilities. They are not exhaustive neither are they mutually exclusive.
Scenario 1: Carrying On - The EU27 focuses on delivering its positive reform agenda in the spirit of the Juncker Commission's New Start for Europe from 2014 and the Bratislava Declaration agreed by all 27 Member States in September 2016.
Scenario 2: Nothing but the Single Market - The EU27 is gradually re-centred on the single market as the 27 Member States are not able to find common ground on an increasing number of policy areas.
Scenario 3: Those Who Want More, Do More - The EU27 proceeds as today, but in addition it allows willing Member States to do more together in specific areas such as defence, internal security or social matters. One or several "coalitions of the willing" emerge in different policy areas.
Scenario 4: Doing Less, More Efficiently - The EU27 focuses on delivering more and faster in selected policy areas, while doing less where it is perceived not to have an added value. Attention and limited resources are focused on selected policy areas.
Scenario 5: Doing Much More Together - Member States decide to share more power, resources and decision-making across the board. Decisions are agreed faster at European level and rapidly enforced.
The European Commission will host a series of 'Future of Europe Debates' across Europe's cities and regions in the coming months to harvest and harness opinions on the desired way forward and will further contribute to the process with a series of reflection papers on: developing the social dimension of Europe; deepening the Economic and Monetary Union; harnessing globalisation; the future of Europe's defence; and, the future of EU finances.
President Juncker's State of the Union speech in September 2017 will take these ideas forward before first conclusions could be drawn at the December 2017 European Council. This will help to decide on a course of action to be rolled out in time for the European Parliament elections in June 2019.