Analysis: Renewing the European Answer

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This strategy paper, discusssing Europe’s future, was presented at the “International Bertelsmann Forum” (IBF), a conference attended by several EU leaders in September 2006.

The following key conclusions were made:

  • The European Union (EU) must be able to shape developments in a new political and economic global environment which is increasingly determined by events far beyond its borders, and;
  • Europe’s ability to exert its influence both internally and externally requires a renewal of the European integration project. This task elicits three strategic responses:
  1. A strategy of institutional efficiency:  First, the elaboration of a “Treaty Amending the Treaty of Nice” that incorporates the central innovations of the Constitutional Treaty into the existing primary law. Second, the heterogeneity of an EU-27+ requires a higher level of differentiation among member states that will lead to divergent leadership coalitions but not to a core Europe.
  2. A strategy for shaping global politics that begins in the EU’s immediate geographic vicinity: The possibility of joining the EU must remain open to all European states even if the prospect of membership is (very) distant. However, the Union should, in the immediate perspective, not grant any further accession offers beyond Turkey and the Western Balkans. In the international arena, the assertion of global interests requires a more determined effort to pool European defence capabilities by creating a European Army.
  3. A strategy for the promotion of European self-assurance that requires two things: First, a gradual politicisation of European policy-making on both the national and the European level. Second, the definition of a new raison d’être underpinned by a grand project in the field of security.

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