NB : cette note, produite en support de la conférence « Future Europe » du 20 juin 2018, est en cours de traduction en français.
Recent geopolitical events are a reminder that the world, and Europe’s place in it, is in constant flux. As it considers its future, Europe faces a challenging environment. The US is pursuing increasingly protectionist policies at the same time that China is opening up to the world and liberalising. With Brexit looming, with Eastern European countries increasing susceptible to populism and far-right policies, and with the current Italian political gridlock, the European project no longer appears to be the guarantor of stability that it once was.
Europe’s institutions are failing to provide sufficient opportunities for the mass of its citizens to benefit from globalization. There is widespread skepticism and a growing divide between those who benefit from globalization and those who are being left behind. Additional challenges in areas such as defense, security, migration, climate change and the digital revolution also make it clear that European countries need to reassess the policy and institutional frameworks that until now have formed the basis of their cooperation. And at the same time consider a way forward that will strengthen European sovereignty and unity and enhance democracy on all levels.
The current functioning of European political institutions is causing frustration on two fronts: citizens’ direct influence is mainly confined to the national level, where means for action are increasingly limited, while they have little influence on the European stage where power is increasingly concentrated. The result is a widening gap between our institutions and the concerns of European citizens.
Europe is now at a crossroads and faces decisive choices on how to improve its economic performance and political functioning, as well as its global competitiveness. While quickly achieving consensus on the reform agenda can be challenging, there is now an urgent need for the EU to reinvent itself to counter the rise of far-right nationalism and to create a Europe that is accountable to its citizens and provides for their needs.
Desired outcome of the third session for restitution :
How do we rebuild the European citizens’ confidence into the European project? Which core values should we really put forward/stand for?