European Commission launches discussions on the Future of Europe.
The European Union is preparing to mark its 60th Anniversary on the 25th March 2017. A high-level political summit will take place that day in Rome to discuss the future of the European Union.
In preparation of this Summit and to guide the discussions, the European Commission launched on 1st March a “White Paper on the future of Europe: Avenues for unity for the EU at 27”.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said of the White Paper: “60 years ago, Europe's founding fathers chose to unite the continent with the force of the law rather than with armed forces. We can be proud of what we have achieved since then. Our darkest day in 2017 will still be far brighter than any spent by our forefathers on the battlefield. As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, it is time for a united Europe of 27 to shape a vision for its future. It's time for leadership, unity and common resolve. The Commission's White Paper presents a series of different paths this united EU at 27 could choose to follow. It is the start of the process, not the end, and I hope that now an honest and wide-ranging debate will take place. The form will then follow the function. We have Europe's future in our own hands."
The White Paper presents five scenarios for how the Union could evolve by 2025 depending on how it chooses to move forward. These scenarios are:
Scenario 1: Carrying on
Scenario 2: Nothing but the Single Market
Scenario 3: Those who want more do more
Scenario 4: Doing less more efficiently
Scenario 5: Doing much more together
Next Steps for the EU
The White Paper is the European's Commission contribution to the Rome Summit, which will be the opportunity for the EU to discuss its achievements of the past 60 years but also its future at 27. This will mark the beginning of several years of debate and discussions on the future of the EU.
The European Commission will contribute to the debate in the months to come with a series of reflection papers on:
- developing the social dimension of Europe;
- deepening the Economic and Monetary Union, on the basis of the Five Presidents' Report of June 2015;
- harnessing globalisation;
- the future of Europe's defence;
-the future of EU finances.
Like the White Paper, the reflection papers will offer different ideas, proposals, options or scenarios for Europe in 2025 without presenting definitive decisions at this stage.
Next Steps for EASPD
EASPD is convinced that the European Union is an essential instrument to develop a more inclusive society for all in Europe, including through the development of high quality support services.
Policies such as the EU Equal Treatment directive or the proposed European Accessibility Act are good examples of this. European Structural Funds are also essential contributors towards the funding of many social service providers throughout Europe and in particular the transition to community-based services. This being said, EASPD also believes the EU can do even more to improve the quality of life of real people in Europe.
In light of this, EASPD will actively call for a more Social Europe during the Rome Summit and the March for Europe.
EASPD, together with our members, will continue to monitor and provide input into the European discussions on the Future of Europe launched by this White Paper.