On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Rome Treaty, we would like to take the opportunity to look forward and lay out our proposals for the future of the European Union. Concrete action is needed that will improve the lives of all Europeans and deliver a more fair, safe, sustainable and inclusive EU.
Increasing citizens’ engagement with politics and policy-making at the national and European level is crucial to building legitimate European policies. Transparency, meaningful participation of citizens and civil society in the decision-making process, and full democratic scrutiny by the European Parliament are necessary to close the perceived gap between the EU and citizens:
Full implementation of Article 11 of the Lisbon Treaty with solid structures in place for open dialogue with citizens, civil society, and representative organisations.
Transparent decision-making at all levels, with a binding transparency register and a more accountable and transparent trilogue system.
Innovations in the European elections that will strengthen the link between parties’ policies at the European level and citizens’ needs, through a transnational list, more visible European political parties and European debate, and the use of e-democracy tools.
Europe’s economic growth, the stability of the euro and social protection of its citizens can only be ensured with an improved and comprehensive Economic and Monetary Union. Essential elements in the EMU to maintain and improve our prosperity, economic stability, and social rights are:
Own resources for a more flexible and independent EU budget and a fiscal capacity for countercyclical policies, with a clearer link between EU policy objectives and financing sources as well as a clearer link between the EU budget and citizens.
A social dimension that supports EU citizens through quality employment and adequate social protection and integrates social objectives into macroeconomic and budgetary surveillance, through the introduction of a binding Social Pillar.
More effective and accountable European Economic Governance with a Eurozone finance minister and closer involvement of the European and national parliaments in EMU decision-making and scrutiny.
A consolidation and extension of the Single Market is needed to support the sustainable economic development of Europe. We need to improve the way our market works for business, by removing barriers to trade, and for citizens, by safeguarding social, consumer, and environmental protections:
Completion of the Energy Union for secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy through diversification, interconnection and integration of European energy markets.
Implementation of initiatives stimulating jobs and growth such as the Skills Agenda, bridging the gap between the worlds of education and work in particular for youth, and the Digital Single Market, striking a balance between economic benefits and privacy concerns.
Consolidation of the Single Market and preservation of the free movement of goods, capital, services and people, preventing a backslide on previous achievements and rights.
Freedom of movement and the Schengen area have played a significant role Europe’s economic prosperity, breaking down barriers for trade and labour mobility. We need to address the gaps and concerns in the current Schengen system to ensure its continued application:
Joint management of Europe’s outer border through the proposed European Border and Coast Guard, while avoiding the creation of a ‘Fortress Europe’. To be successful the European Border and Coast Guard needs to be more independent of Member State resources and accountable to the European Parliament.
Effectively monitor the movement of those who want to cause harm through improving existing systems (i.e.
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14. February 2017
Schengen Information System) and investing in intelligence gathering and sharing.
A Common European Immigration and Asylum System with a binding mechanism on sharing the responsibility for hosting asylum seekers, direct support for cities and regions that function as the main entry points, and treating asylum seekers with dignity and respect.
Foster channels of legal migration by extending the Blue Card regulation and ensuring its application across Member States in a transparent and similar fashion.
In an increasingly competitive global environment, speaking with one voice to represent the interests of the European Union is crucial. The stability of the European Union is also dependent on stability in its neighbourhood, and integration of defence resources can bring greater efficiency:
A common agenda on foreign and security issues through the implementation of the EU Global Strategy, the development of a European White Book on Defence to concretise the EU’s priorities in terms of capabilities, and an effective joint message on the international stage.
Increase defence cooperation through the use of existing tools such as Permanent Structured Cooperation and EU Battlegroups, and exploring cooperation in new areas, like cybersecurity.
A credible enlargement perspective to neutralise instability at Europe’s borders, focussing on fundamental rights and good governance, working closely with civil society and offering a positive enlargement narrative.
The founding values of the European Union – respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights – form the pillars of European cooperation. The European Union can only safeguard its standing and reach its objectives if it ensures that its core principles will not be compromised internally:
Introduce an integrated and binding mechanism to ensure application of the rule of law in Member States and EU institutions, with regular and independent monitoring, inclusion of existing frameworks and bodies, and drawing from civil society expertise, such as proposed in the Parliament report on a pact for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.
Better enforcement of existing rule of law mechanisms by using new and more effective mechanisms, either through ‘systemic infringement actions’ or a review of Article 7.
With these concrete actions, the EU can directly foster citizens’ engagement and economic growth, and safeguard Europe’s security and values. The 60th Anniversary of the Rome Treaty provides not just the opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved, but also confronts us with the responsibility to look forward and lay out a vision for how the European Union can help improve the lives of all Europeans. The European Movement International will keep working for a more fair, safe, sustainable and inclusive EU.
14. February 2017