Analytics, EU – Baltic States, Latvia, Modern EU

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 16.07.2019, 14:03

Goals and commitments for the EU’s future: reaching for the stars…

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 07.05.2019.Print version
Although it is an informal summit on May 9, the EU leaders will discuss the European next strategic agenda for the period 2019-24 and exchange views on the existing challenges and priorities. It is interesting, what the Baltic States’ politicians think about these priorities?

The summit agenda follows the initiatives adopted as late as in June 2014 by the European Council concerning  five priority areas: jobs, growth and competitiveness; empowering and protecting citizens; energy and climate policies; freedom, security and justice; and the EU as a strong global actor. More in:

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/european-council/2019/05/09/ 

However, challenging events which took place during last years provided for some changes in the agenda, including sustainability, circular economy and consumption patterns. 

 

EU leaders’ summit which was meant to plan the block’s future after Brexit, will turn into a much broader discussion on the EU’s strategic growth by 2024; the summit draft’s declaration was outlined by the European Council President in the beginning of May. Besides, off the summit’s official program, the leaders are discussing candidates for top EU positions after European Parliament elections. This November is the last month of the present Commission; it wants to pave the way to its followers with the strategic guidelines.


The summits’ draft declaration includes unanimously agreed “10 commitments,” which are a mixture of “good intentions, generic points and some aspirations that clash with the everyday EU’s realities”, commented Barigazzi J. in Politico on the draft text.


https://www.politico.eu/article/2019-05-04-189017225 and more on 5 goals and 10 priorities in:

http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/editors_note/?doc=20493 


With the rise of challenger parties, the existing blocks and the future in the new Parliament may need to forge new alliances to obtain needed majority.


EU’s future as global leader in numerous issues

The summit declaration includes both vague and ambitious commitments: like those aimed at secure EU’s borders (by investing in soft and hard power) and “speaking with one voice” to “delivering where it matters most” and “bringing the Union closer to citizens”, as well to “ensuring fair and effective taxation” and “fair competition”, to name a few. 


Politico comments that it is impossible to reach these and other goals: “either the leaders plan to lie, or else they plan to repudiate the last decade of austere bailout policies”. The “reality show” will start within last months in 2019 when the EU leaders will finalise the next long-term EU budget; already at present it is evident that most of the leaders refuse signing in for the budget increase in its modern version. 


Turning ten commitments into reality would require major change in the EU: for example, issue like solidarity became highly contentious during and after 2015 migration crisis when countries like Hungary and Poland refused to take in refugees under an EU-wide relocation scheme.


The leaders also committed to "continue to protect our way of life, democracy and the rule of law” and to "uphold our shared values and principles." However, the EU institutions have started disciplinary proceedings against both Hungary and Poland, accusing them of putting those values at risk. More in: Barigazzi J. EU leaders to agree on 10 commitments at summit: draft text, in: https://www.politico.eu/article/2019-05-04-189017225 


EU leaders’ opinion on burning issues

As to the EU’s security issues: German conservative Manfred Weber backed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ambition for a permanent multinational armed force. But socialist candidate Frans Timmermans insisted that a European army was not coming any time soon, arguing Europe would be better off focusing on economic cooperation.


Liberals Guy Verhofstadt argued that the EU needs far-reaching reforms; he argued that the EU presently doesn't actually exist - it is still a confederation of nation states with decisions made by qualified majority and unanimity. But, he added the EU was always acting too little, too late when something is happening, for example the last financial crisis. There is a time span of the next five years to really change this character of the EU and make it a real one.


The Green's Ska Keller said the focus should be on the needs of future generations: “Let's go to vote taking into account the future of the children, of the grandchildren, of the younger people who can't go to vote. And they gave us a very clear signal: they go to the streets in thousands and thousands in Rome, all over Italy, all over Europe, all over the world, because they are saying they also want to have a planet to live in."


More in the Euronews: https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/03






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