The next European Commission will be confronted with complex challenges in the internal and external fronts of the European Union.
Several exercises of foresight, scenarios building and strategic choice are already taking place and should be digested when preparing the multiannual plan of the next Commission (see bibliography in annex). This background paper builds on these available documents and discussions in order to make some elaboration on the next European Commission challenges taking a progressive perspective.
A progressive perspective means a choice regarding three possible strategic options for Europe which have been considered:
a/ Pursuing the current option of hesitations, incrementalism, fiscal consolidation as overriding priority is not the good choice.
b/Some would argue in favour of a quantum leap towards a fully-fledged federation, but this options does not seem realistic enough.
c/Therefore, we are taking a third option which involves important innovations in the EU architecture to make possible a real solution for the current crisis, a more general transition for a new growth model, smarter, greener and inclusive as well as a more effective role in global governance.
We assume that the central task of the next European Commission should be building up the political conditions to respond to these aims.
With this perspective, we can identify some crucial challenges:
First of all, bridging the gap between European citizens and the European project
Overcoming the financial, economic and social crisis, reducing the financial, economic and social divergences and curbing the unemployment trends
Stepping up the transition to a new growth model, smarter, greener and inclusive
Coping with the demographic ageing and migration movements
On the external front, dealing with the mounting tensions and the political transition in the Eastern and Southern European neighbourhood
Repositioning Europe in a new multi-polar world
Last, but not least, adapting European integration architecture to different
Several organized processes in the EU should be redirected with this purpose. Just to name some of the most relevant: the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Community budget reviews, the European Semester, completing the EMU, the neighbourhood partnerships, the strategic partnerships, particularly with USA, China, Africa, the EU representation in WTO, G-20, BWs and UN institutions and, finally, the procedures to change the Treaties.
Taking into account that all these processes involve many thousands of active actors, we can already imagine the political energy which should be deployed by the next European Commission.
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