President Jean-Claude Juncker’s White Paper on the Future of Europe. Reflections and Scenarios for the EU27 by 2025:



 

This White Paper was presented on 1st March 2017 (available in different languages in the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/white-paper-future-europe_en), aimed to be the base of a broad debate across Europe, including the EU institutions, but also national, local and regional authorities and civil society. The next chapter will be President Juncker’s State of the Union speech, foreseen for September 2017.

The White Paper is composed by an introduction, a chapter on the drivers of Europe’s future (an evolving world, a transformed economy and society, heightened threats and concerns about security and borders, and a questioning of trust and legitimacy), five scenarios for Europe by 2025, and two annexes (a historic timeline from Rome to the Parliamentary Elections 2019, and an overview of the five scenarios).

These five scenarios are proposed to steer a debate on the future of Europe, offering the potential state of the EU by 2025 depending on several choices to be made. They want to be illustrative and provocative to promote thinking. They are neither blueprints nor policy prescriptions, so no legal or institutional processes are mentioned. The main idea is to go apart from the simplistic approach of choosing between more or less Europe.

1. Carrying on: The EU focuses on delivering its positive reform agenda.
2. Nothing but the Single Market: the EU is gradually re-centred on the Single Market.
3. Those who want more do more: the EU allows willing Member States to do more together in specific areas.
4. Doing less more efficiently: the EU focuses on delivering more and faster in selected policy areas, while doing less elsewhere.
5. Doing much more together: the EU decides to do much more together across all policy areas.

While Scenario 5 seems to be a very good option, Scenario 4 is particularly dangerous for the interests of border and cross-border regions, as it put Cohesion Policy into risk: “the EU27 stops acting or does less in domains where it is perceived as having more limited added value, or as being unable to deliver on promises. This includes areas such as regional development, public health, or parts of employment and social policy not directly related to the functioning of the single market.” In any case, the importance of cohesion is in general not fully recognized in the whole Paper.

On the other hand, the European Investment Plan (the Juncker Plan), approved before the Cohesion Forum or any review of the EU financial framework, does not seem to follow a minimum strategic approach, at least according to a long term vision by the Commission.

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