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European Issue n°69

Understanding the Brussels Agreement on the Reform Treaty (23rd June 2007) and the Intergovernmental Conference

Understanding the Brussels Agreement on the Reform Treaty (23rd June 2007) and the Intergovernmental Conference
23/07/2007

Summary :

Following the European Council on 21st-23rd June last the Intergovernmental Conference responsible for writing the treaty in replacement of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe started work on 23rd July. Its work comprises setting down the compromise achieved in a legal form. The Reform Treaty brings change both to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty establishing the European Community. The developments within the new Treaty lead us to wonder whether we shall see a "differentiated" Union and even about the start of a political process towards the unification of Europe. In addition to this world pressures lead the European Union to bring issues that until now have been part of State competence - such as energy – up to European level in an attempt to meet challenges that will be decisive for a joint future, such as demography and immigration and security issues for example. Finally, there remains the inevitable debate over economic and monetary policies, the Union's borders, the internal market and trans-Atlantic relations.

The Intergovernmental Conference opened on 23rd July and it is responsible for writing a new treaty to replace the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.

Since this was not ratified by all EU Member States the Heads of State and Government of the 27 Member States met on 21st, 22nd and 23rd June for the European Council in Brussels. Under the presidency of Germany that had received a mandate a year previously, they decided to write a Reform Treaty by the end of the year to modify the previous European treaties to replace the Constitution. This is due to be adopted before the end of the Portuguese presidency of the Council in October next with a view to ratification by each of the Member States by 2009.

I– The Agreement of 23rd June 2007



After 36 hours of difficult negotiation, the European Council came to an agreement on the text of a mandate for an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), which started on 23rd July with a view to formalising the political agreement which it had found. This text is extremely precise and accompanied by 22 footnotes and 2 annexes.
The IGC must finalise the text of a Reform Treaty to include the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), the Treaty on the Functioning of the Union (TFU) has now replaced the latter. Both texts substitute the Constitution now called "IGC 2004".
Protocols will be annexed to the Reform Treaty.
The Portuguese Presidency has already announced that it would like to end the IGC's work by October 2007. The precision of the mandate given by the Heads of State and Government leaves IGC negotiators with little room to manoeuvre and the IGC has to be brief.

1– The Council's Conclusions



In order to take into account the ratification of the Constitution by 18 Member States representing 54% of the European population and its non-ratification by 7 others an agreement had to be reached both taking on board the concerns expressed by the two negative referenda (France, Netherlands) and three governments (UK, Poland and the Czech Republic). These conclusions have therefore been written in the form of a negotiation mandate for the IGC, a result of a laborious, political compromise.
It is typified by the adoption of the core of the institutional reforms contained within the Constitution and with regard to the other measures by reticence and caution signifying a certain reduction in European enthusiasm although this should not imply any real effect in legal terms. The UK has taken advantage of this opportunity to withdraw from some common policies, both present and future. The Poles and the Czechs achieved the withdrawal of the Union's symbols (the flag, the anthem, the motto) which in their opinion meant that the constitution would, long term, lead to a European State and with others (Lithuania), they also had a solidarity clause in the energy sector added "in the case of serious supply problems". France succeeded in eliminating, amongst the Union's objectives (article I-3 of the Constitution), the creation of a "market where competition is free and undistorted," even though the competition policy remains a means to achieve a true internal market; a protocol on public services will be annexed in the future treaty.

Not all of the Constitution's innovations were taken up in the Reform Treaty but the main institutional reforms remain:

A President of the Council appointed for two and a half years, renewable once,
A High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who will have the same prerogatives as the Union's Foreign Minister and will be Vice-President of the European Commission,
The double majority for decisions taken by the Council of Ministers as of 2014,
The reduction from 27 to 18 of the number of European Commissioners as of 2014,
An increase in the powers enjoyed by the European Parliament thanks to the introduction of a general co-decision procedure in the legislative area,
Enhanced control of subsidiarity by national parliaments which will take part in the European legislative procedures,
The obligatory nature of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in all Member States except in the UK,
Popular initiative by means of the right to petition.

The policy to fight global warming linked to the energy policy has been included in the European treaties for the very first time. The conclusions of the Council of March 2007 and those of the G8 in Heiligendamm are also included.

This agreement was concluded after granting major concessions to the UK and to the most Euro-sceptic governments. The first of these emerge as opting-out clauses with regard to co-operation in the police and legal areas and the application of articles in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. They then involve the application of a new weighting of votes in the Council for the application of the qualified majority (2014 with a possibility of extending this date to 2017) and the elimination of the symbols of the Union (anthem, flag, motto).
General guarantees were given to the Euro-sceptic governments throughout the mandate's text in the shape of restrictive interpretations, and even via precise details designed to prevent any 'incursion' by Union competences into the domain of State prerogatives.

In addition to this, there have been modifications made to the form but which are without any real legal consequence; this was done on the initiative of the two States that rejected the Constitution. Apart from the introduction of a declaration recalling the need for the Union to protect its citizens, the deletion of the objective "to form an internal market in which competition is free and undistorted" led to a number of comments notably from the UK. Ms Neelie Kroes, the Competition, Commissioner believes that this modification will not have any legal effects. However, it shows a political will to have influence over the Commission in order to make its competition policy more flexible.

Generally, this agreement enables a solution to the crisis caused by the negative vote on the part of the French in the referendum on 29th May 2005 by offering guarantees to those States who had wanted to withdraw the signature they had given in Rome on 29th October 2004. It is therefore less ambitious in terms and in form. It is just a modification of the existing treaties. It does not signify a breaking away from the previous treaties but rather heralds their completion.
We have to wait for the final text of the draft treaty in order to make a precise technical link with the present treaties. Nevertheless, we can already present the content.

2– Nature and content of the Reform Treaty.



The principle of the new treaty lies in the inclusion of the innovations drawn up by the 2004 IGC into the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, ie the Constitutional text as it was presented during the referenda in France and the Netherlands. This inclusion is the opportunity to take on board modifications after the negotiations in Brussels.

In the treaties we now find:

A stricter definition of the respective competence of the Union and the Member States,
The specific nature of the Common Foreign and Security Policy,
The involvement and control of national parliaments,
Police and judicial co-operation with regard to criminal matters,
A mechanism enabling some States, "not to move forwards" with those who do.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights is not part of the treaties but an article provides it with a obligatory legal value by defining its range of application (British exception possibly along with two other Member States).

a– Modifications made to the Treaty on European Union (EUT):



The values on which the Union is based are included in the preambles and the first articles.
The principle of the Union's competence of attribution is recalled with several details with regard to the respect of Member States' competences.
A new procedure has been established to allow national parliaments to strengthen their prerogatives against the Union's institutions.
The European Council will become a Union institution.
Voting rules governing the qualified majority have been modified. A 55% majority of the Member States representing at least 65% of the European population is necessary for the adoption of a decision. These rules will apply as of 2014 and until 2017 a Member State may ask to vote according to the present rules. In addition to this until 2017 75% of the Member States representing 75% of the Union's population can call for the "Ioannina Compromise" ie turn to the Council "which will do everything it can (...) to answer the concerns raised(..)". After 2017, this compromise remains with lower percentages of States and populations reduced to 55%.
Enhanced co-operation rules planned for in the Constitution are included in the treaties; for these to be possible 9 Member States will have to rally together.
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is the subject of specific rules and procedures. It therefore is not part of the "community".
The Union becomes a legal entity.
A voluntary withdrawal procedure from the Union has been established.
The conditions required to request membership of the Union are included in the treaties and completed by criteria "established by the Council". (Modified Copenhagen).

b– Modification of the Treaty establishing the European Community



It has now become the Treaty on the Functioning of the Union (TFU).
The innovations in the Constitution are included in the treaty in the form of occasional modifications: the Union's areas and types of competence (shared competences, support, co-ordination, complement) are detailed and extended, notably to the domains of space, energy, civil protection, sport, tourism, public health, most remote regions, administrative co-operation, Euro governance, area of freedom, justice and security, own resources. The fields of application of the qualified majority and the co-decision procedure have been extended to over 40 areas. Hence, the European Parliament has gained power.
Modifications have been made to the constitutional text. These involve:
The addition of a solidarity energy clause in the case of serious supply problems,
The fight against climatic change,
The Union's legal acts remain unchanged. Hence, there will be neither "European laws" nor European "framework laws."

A Protocol on public services has been added:

Protocol on services of general interest



The High Contracting Parties,
Wishing to emphasise the importance of services of general interest
Have agreed upon the following interpretative provisions, which shall be annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the
Treaty on the Functioning of the Union:

Article 1



The shared values of the Union in respect of services of general economic interest within the meaning of Article 16 EC Treaty include in particular:
the essential role and the wide discretion of national, regional and local authorities in providing, commissioning and organizing services of general economic interest as closely as possible to the needs of the users;
the diversity between various services of general economic interest and the differences in the needs and preferences of users that may result from different geographical, social or cultural situations;
a high level of quality, safety and affordability, equal treatment and the promotion of universal access and of user rights;

Article 2



The provisions of the Treaties do not affect in any way the competence of Member States to provide, commission and organise noneconomic services of general interest.

The protocol planned for by the Constitution will be modified (ten of them have been deleted). The one with regard to Euratom has been maintained according to the same terms.

The IGC must now write the Treaty checking that legal terms, cross-references and the structure of these two treaties alone link up since they will now become the main legal foundations of the Union's actions and institutions.
The final text will not be any clearer. The need to provide the Union with legal foundations that are more accessible to non-specialists remains a future requirement. It has been postponed until a much later date. Although this might be regretted, we should however be pleased that the present institutional crisis is over.

This situation allows us to foresee some long-term developments for the Union and its policies.

II– Developments included in the new treaty:



The troubled period that followed the French and Dutch referenda, as well as the conditions in which the Union seems to have emerged from this, provide us with a short-term glimpse of new developments in European policy. With new challenges to face, a slightly different European Union can be perceived mid-term.

1– Possible Changes



a- Re-creation or adaptation?



The method chosen to emerge from the crisis leans towards adapting treaties and institutions. Institutional innovations have remained limited. Late in the day, the Union is adapting to its successive enlargements. It should have anticipated these changes as early as the Nice Treaty.

New common policies still have to be invented. The Union revealed itself unable to reform politically and the integration process continues according to the same principles and rules as in the past.
This is particularly true with regard to the enlargement, the economic and social policies and the competition policy.
However, some Member States are demanding or expecting greater development and secession from recent European policy.

The French president did not hide this wish during his electoral campaign. Others share this point of view. Should the "Union be re-created" or simply resolutely adapted to new tasks? It is clear that there is a trend towards major reform in the running of the European Union and that it might undergo significant change in the next few years. After this agreement for example, the hypothesis of a Europe moving at various speeds has regained ground. Some want to move ahead more rapidly than others and the Reform Treaty will now allow this to happen.

b- Differentiation and specialisation



The measures in the Treaty which institutionalise enhanced co-operation, which already existed in a different form, correspond with an old community idea: several States may decide work together as long as the communitisation of their co-operation is organised. But will this be employed? This is far from being certain. Indeed co-operation agreements are extremely complicated to establish and mainly benefit the European Commission whose status is declining and whose operational methods are increasingly criticised.
However, Member States will increasingly be tempted to move forwards together - in small groups on some issues within a purely intergovernmental context. This is the case with the Prüm Treaty, signed on May 27th 2005 between seven countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain) and which is designed to enhance cross-border co-operation in the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration.
One might think that similar initiatives will multiply in other areas where the Commission is over careful or lacking imagination. This has already been seen with regard to defence and foreign policies (EU3 on Iran, the Saint Malo procedure) and the new Treaty excludes de facto the Commission's involvement, ie communitisation. In the areas of police and justice progress can be foreseen for some, notably in terms of fighting against crime and controlling illegal immigration.
It might be reasonable to believe that other fields of intergovernmental co-operation will open up, for example in the area of energy where events may spur on decisions.

Gradually a differentiated, almost ad hoc Union is emerging in which circles of co-operation are becoming increasingly specialised. There are many of them already: Schengen, Prüm, the Euro. Their number continues to grow: the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Judicial and Police Co-operation. They may still grow: the European Defence, the Mediterranean Union.

c- Are we moving towards another Messina Conference?



This development is of some concern to the Commission. The European Parliament for its part is expecting its competences to grow in the name of democracy. It will not correspond very well with the new European policies in which it will have no say. The most "Community" oriented Member States such as Belgium, Italy, Spain and Luxembourg have already said that they will not be satisfied with such a development.
This is one of the reasons why there may be a strong trend towards the constitutional idea as soon as the new treaty has been adopted.
Indeed, we might legitimately say that the constitutional issue really has not been put to rest by the convention. Several Member States do not conceal their discontent in seeing the integration procedure continue according to traditional diplomatic methods. European public debate took a new route during the referenda and no European issue can now escape being the subject of lively debate. Those who signed the treaty themselves admit that in fact it was simply a part of the journey.

The Union and its Member States, as tradition, must therefore expect, in the short term, new political demands with regard to several fundamental issues on the integration procedure. The stance adopted by the French president who says that there are no European "taboos" and that everything can be the subject of political debate leads to the discussion of all European political issues both on a European level and within the Member States.
This is a major step forwards clearly heralding the emergence of a political unification process of Europe.

The issues to be dealt with on a Community level, which affect State sovereignty (police, justice, defence, foreign policy) confirm this analysis.
We cannot therefore exclude that new procedures (Committee of wise men, reflexion commission, etc.) relaunch the idea of a Treaty rallying all European treaties, a clearer, more focussed Constitution on values and the major functioning principles of the Union.

In the way that the Messina Conference made it possible to jump start the unification of Europe after the painful failure of the European Community of Defence, some Member States carried along by globalisation and in the face of real threats (terrorism), and because of economic requirements (relocations, growth), might soon decide to re-initiate negotiations to launch the unification movement once more.

In any case, the Union, urged on by necessity, will not be able to avoid taking up urgent issues addressed to Member States. The continuation of the integration movement will be the only appropriate response.

2– The Union in the face of major topical issues



The Union cannot do enough with regard to debate and decisions in new areas of action.
These can be ranked in order of urgency, reality or the development of the community itself.

a- Urgent Matters



A feeling of urgency has led the Union's institutions and Member States to table new subjects on a European level that until now have remained in the national sphere.

The fight against climatic change
The strength of public expectation with regard to the changing climate has rocked the circle of Heads of State and Government. They can no longer avoid environmental matters and are obliged to discuss these at each of their meetings. This was the case in March 2007 when the European Council under the German Presidency established ambitious objectives for the Union with regard to reducting carbon dioxide emissions. The G8 of Heiligendamm led to the same result; the June Council also. Each time leaders increase objectives since they believe they are obliged to act. From now on ecological objectives are part of any international meeting and future political changes in the USA have led to a gathering pace in international discussions.
Within this context, the Union would like to feature amongst the "good boys" in the world ranking. The Union, which has an ambitious environmental policy, forced along by a demanding European public opinion and which on this occasion emerges in true unity, will increase the restrictions, objectives and incentives for the application of a real policy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
This issue will probably be an opportunity for increased action on the part of the European Parliament and for competition in the declarations between Member States. Angela Merkel has even made this a subject of domestic policy, which has caused some tension amongst economic leaders.

Energy Security

Likewise the security of energy supplies has became a major, popular, political theme exacerbated by the delicate situation in which the new Member States find themselves, since they are concerned about pressure from Russian over its former area of influence. The spectre of supply cuts weighs heavily on a number of Central and Eastern leaders. The Ukrainian crisis in 2006 and several delivery incidents have increased the feeling of urgency about a policy; this might not necessarily mean a common one but one that at least shows solidarity, on the part of the European Union in terms of energy.
More generally, the issue of choice in energy supplies became clear in European debate after the German decision to privilege Russian relations by developing a gas pipeline project under the Baltic Sea. This project is almost considered an affront by the Central and Eastern European countries and a selfish response to a problem that involves all Member States.
Finally, the nuclear choice taken by a growing number of European countries (UK, Finland, Baltic States) raises the issue of the "energy mix" which the Commission refuses to discuss and about which Germany has been paralysed by the present government's Coalition Treaty. Only acceleration in the building of nuclear power stations will enable the Union to achieve the objectives it has set itself to reduce CO2 emissions. The issue will certainly be raised at internal Union debates. The newly elected French president already let think he was willing to introduce it. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe, forced by the Union to close their oldest stations will do so, either demanding funding from the Euratom Treaty or by choosing Russian equipment.
Energy issues will therefore be at the heart of Member States' and Union institutions' concerns. Although the Treaty like the Constitution does not affect the Euratom Treaty it might find itself at the centre of renewed interest; this might be just on the part of the European Parliament which will claim power over the only Union institutions which are not part of its competence for the time being. In addition to this, the idea of creating European regulation bodies in the energy sector might be a step towards a true common policy. This hypothesis is increasingly spoken of within competent circles without the conception of any definite schema for the time being.

The Internal Market

Recent experience leads us to believe that the completion of the internal market will be difficult. Every time one of the four founding freedoms of the Rome Treaty is developed, opposition emerges supported by trends of opinion which are sufficiently strong to aggravate traditional reticence on the part of the Member States. This has just happened with regard to the deregulation of the postal sector. We can see the same applies in terms of energy. Are we to think that the internal market will not be achieved, notably in terms of services?
The analysis of requirements in the light of the last 50 years of European experience allows us to make one forecast: the integration of the internal market will continue but following various methods and rhythms.
With regard to methods, it is certain that political difficulties will be exacerbated by the powers of intervention enjoyed by national parliaments which will back national resistance. But the increased powers of the European Parliament and its ability to unravel political knots should allow it to take over from the Commission when it cannot suggest overriding national interests as is increasingly the case. We might suppose that the new role played by the European Parliament might notably occur in the energy and public services sectors.
The agenda to complete the internal market might be speeded up with regard to some issues involving consumers and slowed down as far as those which affect national competences, which are difficult to share, are concerned.
The urgency to complete the internal market makes it no less a recurrent issue that will provide work for the European institutions for a long time yet.

b- Recurrent Issues



Demography and immigration

In 1950, the population of Europe represented 13.9% of the world population. According to forecasts, it will only represent 5% in 2050. Some States will have even less inhabitants in 2050 than they had in 1950 (Bulgaria, Latvia, and the Czech Republic). The average fertility level in the EU has collapsed to 1.4 clearly lower than the generation renewal rate (2.1). The European population is ageing and the Union will have barely more people of a working age left in 2050 than it had in 1950. At this rate demographic issues are no longer simple observations they are now imperitavely a major political theme.
Indeed the first effect of this situation is a continuous migratory flow. Migration is now four times higher than the natural growth of the European population.
These issues cannot be omitted from European policies. A family policy is spoken of more and more frequently within the Union's institutions. An immigration policy is to be the focus of joint decisions and this might even be the start of a common policy. The integration policy with regard to immigrant populations is a field of action which might be privileged by the Union's institutions. The question of ageing and all the effects this might have will be areas of experimentation for new European policies.
The demographic issue, which is a major challenge for Europe, cannot simply be left in the hands of the Member States for long.

Defence and security: towards a common armed force?

Likewise the common security and defence policies which fall under the influence of both military investment costs and new threats, notably terrorism and cross-border crime are open to new developments. Already in the field co-operation has increased greatly without any real political organisation or demands. The armies of Europe work together with NATO and play a far greater unifying role than meets the eye. Common procedures, standardised strategies and tactics, multiple experiences in the field ranging from the Balkans to Afghanistan and Africa, and shared chiefs of staff have certainly helped in laying the foundations of a common European army more than any political speeches have done. It remains though that they have been very discreet about their rapprochement.
A more political Europe that possibly has to face up to some kind of serious event within its territory might undergo untold progress in these areas of sovereignty, which have been so jealously protected by national governments until now.
In addition to this, a functional approach in the defence industries might be the privileged route to take. The sector is undergoing increased competition and is relocating to the USA. The approach to the problem would be symbolic in that the Union would want to preserve its strategic sovereignty. The Commission has already announced a draft directive on public defence markets – something that was unthinkable until recently. This would mean launching the convergence of industrial programmes and encouraging industrialists to work closely together via public markets. Given the strategic importance of the defence industries, which in the main influence the use of leading edge civilian technologies, this approach is not the most appropriate. Intergovernmental and especially industrial co-operation between the major European players seem possible and are starting to develop. It is up to the Member States to support and initiate them. European rapprochement is possible and desirable. The new treaty facilitates everything by favouring the intergovernmental method. It is still the most appropriate in an area of sovereignty that States will not give up within the present or future world context.

c- The Inevitable Debates



Which economic and monetary policies?

Nicolas Sarkozy has brought this to the fore again: the issue of Member States' economic policies and their co-ordination has become a theme of major importance.
Gradually the Euro is becoming a reserve currency alternative to the dollar. Its exchange rate reflects its successes which are still modest but sure. International investments have confidence in the single currency and since 1999 stock investments held by non-residents in the euro zone have doubled; the total of short-term bonds issued by non-residents in euros since that date is higher than those issued in dollars. Today only 24% of the world reserves are held in euro, versus 65% for the dollar. The euro is gaining credibility; it has become the leading currency for reserves and transactions in international trade but it will take time for it to establish itself. Enhancing the euro's international role is one of the foundations of the monetary policy undertaken by the European Central Bank, which finds itself challenged by some industrialists and even some Member States.
The debate has therefore been launched. The Eurogroup might take advantage of this and find political expression by establishing an additional enhanced circle of co-operation. We anticipate however that the co-ordination of economic policies will remain a recurrent subject of discussion at the European Councils since national habits and political agendas weigh so heavily on governments.
However if no major changes in the statutes or the ECB's policy can be expected governments might find themselves encouraged to develop economic co-operation; common initiatives might emerge in the shape of investments, structuring equipment and even taxation. In this way, they may help to strengthen the attractiveness of the euro area.
Finally, it is certain that the Eurogroup would be justified in playing a full part in international financial negotiations. It is up to the euro area to start dialogue with the Chinese authorities on the forced reduction of the Yuan exchange rate, a vital detail which explains the explosion in Chinese imports. To date only the American authorities have initiated difficult discussions of this kind. It is up to the leaders of the Eurogroup to speak with the Americans about the weakness of the dollar and the effects this has. Above and beyond the internal debates about the exchange rate of our currency, events external to Euroland should possibly be employed with greater force. Europeans are not always aware of their success. The Euro is one of them. It should enable Europeans to have more and better influence across the world.

Borders for the Union?

This is also a theme that was placed on the agenda by France and its new president with a real chance of witnessing a modification in the enlargement policy with respect to both its objectives as well as its methods.
The Union will no longer be content to offer its neighbours the simple prospect of accession, but it will have to draw up new types of partnership and co-operation beyond its borders. Although the political horizon remains a distant and difficult one, the support of public opinion seems to be settled, as it is in several Member States such as Germany. Enlargements should be put on hold for a while; this period will be interspersed with some sensitive crises in the relations with some of our partners (Turkey, the Balkans and the Ukraine).
From this point of view internal debate over the future of the Balkans and the appropriate policy to adopt with regard to the Union's neighbourhood relations, seems to be marked by far too much laxity distinctly lacking in strategic thought and depth. A kind of weak consensus has formed within the Union that demands renewed political initiative.
The issue of the Union's borders has now been set. It cannot dissociated from the vital feeling of belonging. Decisions will have to be taken and this will take time.

3– The European Union in 20 years time



In conclusion to the analyses above – since the exercise of portraying them like this may prove useful, we should however interpret them with care. What might the Union look like in 20 years time?
The unification process will surely follow its course. Although its rhythm might seem slow in real terms, in the light of history it has been extremely quick.
After having succeeded the main part of its economic unification, the Union and its Member States now face purely political issues. These are not only international political subjects but also concern its own institutional development and its political organisation.
Towards what kind of European Union are we moving? What will the reality of the Single Market be?
What kind of relations will the Union have with its main partners?
Finally what successes and failures will it be able to show?

a- Europe at Several Speeds



The British position makes the development of Europe at several speeds inevitable. The UK is the only Member State whose eurosceptic reticence the Union has not managed to overcome. Although it has always preferred not to lose its footing on the continent it is closest to it will always maintain privileged links with the USA and its own specific vision of the world, mostly incompatible with a European defence or foreign policy.
If there is one area from which the British cannot make break with institutional Europe that is the economy. They will ensure they maintain access to the European market, to have permanent influence over decisions, to continue investing "mobile" capital from the entire world, which passes via its financial market, now the world leader. The Union might find an interest in this position as it is sometimes useful to have an "off-shore" position on its doorstep.
The UK might drag a few other Member States along with it in its slight, but never final drift. The theory is that this can never be long term given the structure of the economies of the continental States and the growing dependence towards community policies and appropriations, especially of the new Member States.
The constitutional episode and above all its failure has unquestionably marked a turning point in the relations between the Union and the UK.
The strengthening of the euro area policy might lead to new institutional structures specific to the Member States who would accept a maximum degree of unification. At the core of this circle would be the founder Members, most of the most recent members, but in all likelihood not all Nordic States who are tempted to adopt marginal positions with regard to economics and in terms of defence (neutrality).
This most European group of States will move forwards rapidly to sharing and even communitising new competences. This might include police matters, justice and defence.
The Euro area should win over new members and the single currency will gain influence across the world. With regard to foreign policy the Union will be more active and original; it will act everywhere in the world as the representative of an organised Europe. It will then no longer be afraid to bear its colours!

b- Consumer triumph?



What will the reality of the common economic area be?
The internal market will move forwards notably in areas which today appear to be problematic.
It might be managed in a new way, by agencies rather than directly by the European Commission. Hence the Commission's regulatory competence might be given to bodies placed under its control and more probably which are totally independent. This might be so with the competition policy in which the Commission has already been accused of being "judge and jury", notably by the major American companies. The recent decision by the Court of Justice which for the first time ever awarded compensation to Schneider, after it fell victim to an erroneous judgement of the competition rules on the part of the Commission and obliged it to abandon its merger with Legrand, justifies the conception of other procedures which might also be developed in other areas. Energy, Telecoms, Television Regulation Commissions, European Deontology Institutions, Independent Authorities might emerge. This has already been achieved in terms of patents since the European Patent Office does not answer to European institutions, with regard to medicines; in a number of other areas the blueprint has been drawn up. With the development of common policies, the Commission can no longer retain alone the role of guardian of the treaties.

The role played by the European Parliament and the Court of Justice would therefore gain significant importance since they would be the only institutions able to monitor and judge the decisions taken by these bodies.
This would only be a natural development expressing the democratisation of the Union and the influence of its citizens, which is now possible over the Community's work. The right to petition is the first evidence of this.
The citizen's point of view, i.e. that of the consumer, might be one of the drivers for the completion of the internal market. An example of this came with the Commission's presentation on 5th July 2007 of a European Charter on the Rights of Energy Consumers. The single market should be achieved in the services, notably in the financial sector. A new definition of public services that is more oriented towards the citizens will enable progress impossible to imagine today.
World competition should accelerate European decision making which again appears impossible at present. Again, the unification of Europe will take place under the pressure of necessity.

c- EU – USA: a new alliance?



What will the reality of the common economic area be?
The internal market will move forwards notably in areas which today appear to be problematic.
It might be managed in a new way, by agencies rather than directly by the European Commission. Hence the Commission's regulatory competence might be given to bodies placed under its control and more probably which are totally independent. This might be so with the competition policy in which the Commission has already been accused of being "judge and jury", notably by the major American companies. The recent decision by the Court of Justice which for the first time ever awarded compensation to Schneider, after it fell victim to an erroneous judgement of the competition rules on the part of the Commission and obliged it to abandon its merger with Legrand, justifies the conception of other procedures which might also be developed in other areas. Energy, Telecoms, Television Regulation Commissions, European Deontology Institutions, Independent Authorities might emerge. This has already been achieved in terms of patents since the European Patent Office does not answer to European institutions, with regard to medicines; in a number of other areas the blueprint has been drawn up. With the development of common policies, the Commission can no longer retain alone the role of guardian of the treaties.

The role played by the European Parliament and the Court of Justice would therefore gain significant importance since they would be the only institutions able to monitor and judge the decisions taken by these bodies.
This would only be a natural development expressing the democratisation of the Union and the influence of its citizens, which is now possible over the Community's work. The right to petition is the first evidence of this.
The citizen's point of view, i.e. that of the consumer, might be one of the drivers for the completion of the internal market. An example of this came with the Commission's presentation on 5th July 2007 of a European Charter on the Rights of Energy Consumers. The single market should be achieved in the services, notably in the financial sector. A new definition of public services that is more oriented towards the citizens will enable progress impossible to imagine today.
World competition should accelerate European decision making which again appears impossible at present. Again, the unification of Europe will take place under the pressure of necessity.

Is it possible to review the European Union as we approach the year 2030?
Its greatest success will be its survival and its development, the continuation of work started over 80 years previously.
Founded on a hope of peace it will as today achieve its goals. However, it will easily have moved beyond these by developing significant influence in world affairs.
Its social model will be envied most. Its political unity, far from being perfect will comprise an example that will frequently be copied on all continents.
Its environment policy will be a world standard and its social standards will become examples to achieve.
In all likelihood, its law will be its most effective arm to convey the European model in all domains.
New common policies will have proven themselves, notably with regard to energy and defence where the European army will have achieved its goals beyond the hopes of its founders.

Its failure will be the continued existence of national policies; Member States will never really want to harmonise these and they will always determine the climate and direction of European political decisions; this can be explained in the main by the lack of any real European public area. As long as its States think in terms of sovereignty according to old criteria the Union will always lag behind in being efficient and taking rapid decisions.
The European Union will have been extended to the Western Balkans and it will have refused membership of its political institutions to Turkey, the Ukraine and Belarus, whilst offering them real customs union; it will continue its quest for political unity providing a more serene image in a world destabilised by the emergence of new continent-States. This will be a world in which resources are rare as they have always been, a hard and conflictual world as it always has been, a world in which emerging States will discover that economic development cannot last without political evolutions and Democracy.
Within this context its situation will be one of envy.
Publishing Director: Pascale JOANNIN
Available versions
The author
Jean-Dominique Giuliani
Chairman of the Robert Schuman Foundation and President of ILERI (School of International Relations)
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