What path should the EU take for a fresh start?
Weeks of debate about the distribution of posts, no common position on migration after years of controversy, and the looming prospect of Brexit: these are just some of the problems the EU is currently grappling with. But not all commentators see the European project as having failed in the face of these conflicts. As the new parliamentary term begins they make suggestions for how to improve cooperation.
More autonomy via a decent budget
Economist and political scientist Josep M. Colomer explains in El País why it is in the member states' interest that the EU Commission is endowed with a bigger budget:
“The paradoxical thing about the current situation is that, because Europe's public finances are so limited, the EU has had to intervene in the national budgets of member states, monitor them and sometimes bail them out, which many perceive as undemocratic. The EU is too interventionist because it is too weak. The alternative is to boost the budgets of the EU institutions and stop interfering in the affairs of the member states, to restore more fiscal autonomy to them in other words. The idea of a 'fiscal union' among the states should be abandoned and more resources granted to the Commission instead.”
Berlin and Paris need sparring partners
The economist Franco Bruni outlines in La Stampa how the European Council should reinvent itself:
“A Council whose political geometry allows the promotion of growth and solidarity, the establishment of a social pillar, a minimum of fiscal harmonisation and more common positions on defence and the issue of migrants. New alliances are required. ... In allocating the most important posts the German-French leadership has tried to revitalise itself. But for years now it has been showing where its limits are and has ultimately blocked integration. France and Germany have internal problems that weaken their foreign policy, credibility and popularity. It is clear to both of them that their cooperation would be more fruitful if they joined forces with the other two 'major' powers, Italy and Spain.”
V4 demonstrate how things should be done
The rest of the EU should see the Visegrád group as an example to follow, Krónika advises:
“For the time being cooperation among the Central Eastern Europeans appears to be a stable pillar within the EU. The united stance of the Visegrád states, sometimes effectively supplemented by the Baltic States, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania, is exemplary amid the current chaos. ... The Visegrád group is setting a good example for precisely those states that spout abstract slogans about the deepening of EU integration. Here, on the 'periphery', are four countries that show that despite all the ideological differences, in a close community of interests they can cooperate with one another. Really that's how it ought to be everywhere in Europe ”
The "European model" has had its day
According to Rui Tavares Guedes, executive director of Visão, the EU can no longer serve as a role model for other regions of the world:
“If the most important decisions continue to turn into interminable marathon negotiations and the leaders of the member states engage in a kind of shadow boxing in which their own interests take precedence over collective ones, it will become practically impossible to hold up the 'European model' as an example for other regions of the world to follow. And this will also have negative consequences for the EU itself: after this battle for posts who will be able to guarantee that the elections to the EU Parliament are truly important? We should remember this in five years' time when we're confronted once more with the alarming number of non-voters.”