In June 2010, the Council of the EU published Project Europe 2030 – Challenges and Opportunities – a report by the Reflection Group on the Future of the EU. The leading members of the Reflection Group were Felipe González Márquez (Chairman), Vaira Vike-Freiberga (Vice-Chair), Jorma Ollila (Vice-Chair), Lykke Friis, Rem Koolhaas, Richard Lambert, Mario Monti, Rainer Münz, Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Nicole Notat, Wolfgang Schuster, and Lech Walesa. The aim of the Project is to reflect on the challenges the EU may face in 2030, and how those challenges might be addressed. The Reflection Group has indicated the following problems: global economic crisis; ageing populations threatening the competitiveness of economies and the sustainability of social models; downward pressure on costs and wages; the challenges of climate change and increasing energy dependence; the Eastward shift in the global distribution of production and savings; the threats of terrorism, organized crime and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, etc. – One of the many questions raised is: How to overcome those challenges at the time Europe being at a turning point in its history?
Some solutions that the Project offers are: better use of human talent, co-operation, governance (the Project refers to EU governance model as “governing in partnership“), strengthened economic governance, building of a global economic strategy that takes into account the euro as the world’s second reserve currency and deals with the negative impact of global economic imbalances on Europe’s competitiveness, ensurance of monetary stability, reforms of the functioning and supervision of financial institutions, maintenance of social cohesion, competitive and sustainable social market economy, effective enforcement mechanisms, structural reforms, reforms of education (including professional training), revised budgetary instruments, budgetary reallocations, greater private sector funding, new sources of revenue, improvement of tax coordination, implementation of common energy policy, tackling demographic challenge, labour market reform, strengthening the single market, technological change, etc.
The Project does not discuss much the need for institutional reform, but names the need to strengthen the European Council’s, and the Eurogroup’s leadership role in coordination with the Commission and the European Parliament, and refers to the need for strong political leadership that could be capable to sustain an honest and fruitful dialogue with citizens and to govern in partnership. The Project names development of greater citizen participation in the EU as one of the Lisbon tools, and it uses the concept “political citizenship”, the development of which is opening up the possibility of a popular initiative on legislative matters and increasing the role of national parliaments.
For enhancement of European political citizenship, the Project foresees the EU to develop political rights (for example, encouragement of Member States to grant voting rights in national elections to nationals of other Member States after a certain period of residence and tax payments; “Europeanisation” of European Parliament elections through the introduction of cross-border lists; and usage of national parliaments as conduits for the public to engage in European political debates). In this context, the Project also suggests that elections should be made more meaningful for citizens, so that the citizens could have more knowledge about EU policies, and the capability to identify with European politicians. The Project also suggests more publicity and more transparency both in relation to high-level decisions (as the appointment of the permanent President of the European Council and the High Representative), and in the day-to-day work of the EU. The relevant tools include digital resources (e-governance); the European dimension in public media; incentives for private media to broadcast programmes on the EU. The Project encourages greater European participatory democracy. With the aim to make possible consultation with the civil society in legislative processes, the Project proposes the Commission and the Council to consult the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions more systematically.
In its end, the document calls the Member States up to plan together the new Agenda for the EU.
I add here link to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: „Reviewing community innovation policy in a changing world“, COM(2009) 442 final, from 2.9.2009: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/files/com(2009)442final_en.pdf , and a link to public consultation on EU innovation policy: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/future-policy/consultation/index_en.htm