New report urges more accountability and transparency from EU institutions

Written by Martin Banks on 9 May 2019 in News
News

A major new report, launched ahead of the European elections, calls for “stronger, more ambitious, accountable and transparent EU institutions.”

Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual


Entitled “Vision for Europe”, the report says that the EU’s relationship with its citizens and Member States is “broken and needs fixing.”

The report, compiled by Brussels think tank Friends of Europe, constitutes the result of year-long research, a citizens’ poll and interviews with senior policymakers and stakeholders.

Pascal Lamy, a former EU commissioner and director of the World Trade Organisation, presented the findings of the report in Brussels on Tuesday.


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Lamy told a news briefing, “The EU needs to press the reset button on how it readies itself, adapts and meets the challenges of the early part of this century.”

“Europe will have to behave differently and take the initiative to readjust, reorder and redefine itself. This calls for more resilient, agile institutions and policy coherence.”

With the European elections due to take place from 23-26 May, the report suggests ways of meeting citizens’ needs and claims to represent a “wake-up call” for the EU and political parties contesting the EU-wide poll.

It also offers what it calls “ten bold and audacious ideas” for reform.

“Europe will have to behave differently and take the initiative to readjust, reorder and redefine itself. This calls for more resilient, agile institutions and policy coherence” Pascal Lamy

These include a deputy Prime Minister for EU affairs in every Member State and three “super” EU commissioners reporting on sustainability, security and climate change.

It wants the EU to introduce power sharing “to bring citizens, mayors, cities and regions into the EU tent” and the EU should, it argues, reorganise its departments, or DGs, around “sustainability and prosperity.”

There should also be a designated EU Commissioner to deal with carbon reduction, it adds.

The results that emerged from the #EuropeMatters citizens’ poll “made it clear”, claims the report, “that Europe still matters to them.”

Nine out of 10 of those surveyed agreed that the EU should be more than just a single market and more than four-fifths thought that the EU should not give priority to the further shifting of power to national governments.

The report concludes, “The poll showed that citizens are calling for a Europe that focuses on the big questions of peace, jobs and climate change.”

The research will be presented to the European Council and the new European Parliament.

“The challenge that lies ahead for the EU is to proactively respond to the changing trends in our modern society - in short, the EU needs a new social contract” Dharmendra Kanani, Friends of Europe

Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe, who said, “The challenge that lies ahead for the EU is to proactively respond to the changing trends in our modern society – in short, the EU needs a new social contract.”

“It will require compromise and consensus-building. But if we are to sustain the Europe we love and care for, we need to nurture it and shape it in accordance with the desires of the people and communities for whom it was founded.”

The report includes contributions from, among others, Jamie Shea, former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges.

The report’s release comes just ahead of a meeting on Thursday of EU leaders in Sibiu to discuss the EU's next strategic agenda for the period 2019-2024.

They will exchange views on future challenges and priorities for the EU.

Speaking on the eve of the meeting, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “When I took office, I said it was our last chance to show Europeans that their Union works for them.”

Juncker told a news briefing in Brussels, “I have spent the last five years working tirelessly to deliver on the promises we made.”

“In some areas, I believe we have surpassed expectations, in others, we may have fallen short of them. But I believe we have always acted where it counts the most.”

Juncker, who will be in Sibiu for the informal summit, added, “Now the EU must look forward, learning from our experiences and building on its successes. We must be even more ambitious and focused than ever before.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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