Contemporary Europe appears to many as a self-absorbed confederation of national states – within which sum of their particular interest creates a minimalistic agenda. It is the intergovernmental method that dominates within the decision making process, paving the way to fulfillment of more conservative-flavored ideal of the Europe of Nations.
This project remains quite the opposite to the socialist federalist dream of Social Europe. The paradox of the situation is that there seem to be no turning away from this path, even though socialists returned to governments in over 20 states in the EU and assumed responsibility for leading over 10 of them. Hence so far the hopes that the recent crisis would become an indispensible incentive for change remain unfulfilled, disappointing all those, who believe that the traditional developmental pattern of the Union is a curve of consequent predicaments.
To that end, there is also a query on the actual outcome of the recent European elections. The Lisbon Treaty became a catalyst of new developments, among them the pan-European campaigns organized by the respective europarties under the leadership of the respective top candidates. Even though it was a major step forward, the results of the vote show only stagnation as far as the turnout and also confirm the tendency of decline of so called traditional parties.
Consequently, even though the ‘grand coalition’ regarding the leadership of the European Parliament has been sustained, its’ majority is a very thin one – resulting from further fragmentation and increased representation of the anti-European and Euro-skeptic forces within the chamber. It creates a worry that it will be more than challenging to gather a majority to pass any profound reform proposal.
Furthermore, although it is undisputable that it enabled further politicization and personalization of European politics, it is not certain that it translated to the full extent also into the recent process of nomination of the candidates for key EU posts (with exception here of the Presidents of the European Parliament and European Commission). In the course of this process the focus predominantly remains on converging national and personal interests, and there has been very little debate publically on finding compromises among different political platforms – as presented by the europarties ahead of the European elections.
Within this logic, also the ambition spelled out in June that there should be a clear agenda for the next 5 years presented by the President of the European Council. True, that there have been pertinent issues – such as conflict in Ukraine to look at urgently – but it does not change the fact that it is hard to describe what the EU project is supposed to be about nowadays.
Without clearly set ambition, it would seem impossible to keep up the promise made by all the europarties in their manifestos that they would devote themselves in the years 20014 – 2019 to building strong Europe, which regains the trust of the young generation.
RTÉ Radio 1 talks about our case studies 'Is an EU-wide approach to the mental health crisis necessary?', published in collaboration with Think-tank for Action on Social Change (TASC)
Irish mental health services ‘too hospital-centric’
by Irish Examiner 23/03/2023
Irish Examiner article on FEPS and TASC policy study "Is an EU-wide approach to the Mental Health Crisis necessary?"
Ireland lacks key mental health services, report finds
by RTÉ 23/03/2023
RTÉ article on FEPS and TASC policy study "Is an EU-wide approach to the Mental Health Crisis necessary?"
‘No one is unemployable’: the French social experiment
by EUobserver 21/03/2023
EUobserver article on unemployment in the EU with a mention to FEPS' policy brief 'A Job Guarantee for Europe.'
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