The Next Level of Europe (cepInput)
The European Union is lurching from one crisis to the next. Economic prosperity and democratic consensus are at risk as it never happened before. Because of this, the Centres for European Policy Network (cep) calls for rapid reforms and, more than ever, for a multi-speed Europe. Otherwise, irreversible political, economic and technological regression looms.
"Europe is at a dangerous crossroads," says Professor Henning Vöpel, CEO and director of the Berlin-based think tank with partner institutes in Paris and Rome. Given the different dynamics, action must be taken quickly, he says, as the narrow window for reform closes and precious time could be wasted due to a lack of political imagination and leadership. "Doing nothing could prove to be the biggest mistake," Vöpel stresses.
According to the Paris-based cep director Marc Uzan, the world is changing from a cooperative to a confrontational one with fragmented spheres of influence. All the more important, to include both established member states and ambitious candidate countries in the European idea and thus keep the door open for closer integration. According to Uzan, it would be fatal to lose countries such as Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Northern Macedonia and at the same time under-challenge the core Union with Germany, France and Italy. "Unfortunately, this balanced model of multi-speed integration is the most demanding, both politically and institutionally. However, I do not see any other alternative," Uzan explains.
Stefano Milia, director of the Rome-based cep, considers the current European situation a turning point from which the future of the EU could be predetermined for a long time to come. "What the EU will decide in the coming weeks and months is crucial for the way forward."
With the so-called Future Conference, the EU is currently laying the foundations for a comprehensive constitutional reform. After his re-election, France's President Emmanuel Macron had reiterated his call for comprehensive reforms.