Sketching out Europe

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sketching out europe
fecha: septiembre 2016
autor: antonio notario

Last Friday, 16th September, the 27 EU countries without the presence of the UK have gathered in Bratislava to brainstorm about the future of the EU. The Bratislava declaration & roadmap offers a diagnosis of the critical current state of affairs and proposes several measures to be carried out.

However, despite the clarity of the declarations, to my mind, the official results have been a little bit disappointing and short of scope. I do not share some opinions defending that this is not a moment for great visionary ideas, but to carry out effective actions. From my point of view, this is a very defensive position and utterly lack of ambition. I consider that, in the light of the current agonic situation, we, European believers, are in need of something different. We don´t want any more the boring “business as usual”.

You may think that the European Union works on the basis of pharaonic constructions, utopic ideas and never-ending projects. Sometimes this is true. But for now, I really miss a voice pointing out a clear way ahead. What would have happened if Talleyrand had attended the summit?

To solve this issue, what if we try a different approach to gain consensus on the future of Europe? My proposal would be to provide each European leader with a set of drawing & painting equipment and a white piece of paper in order to sketch out their personal view of EU.

The findings of this fictitious experiment could easily be organized in common groups. The first group would ask Theresa May for a rubber in order to delete their country from the map. A second group would depict the whole map full of border lines, then filling each territory with a different colour. A third group would use the blue in order to paint the sea surrounding the European land as it if were a single territory. This third group is called the future EU.

The reality has been different from our experiment. This week, the leaders of the EU member states, without UK, have gathered in Bratislava. This informal summit at EU27 has not served as a brainstorming-event in order to discuss new visions & ideas on how addressing the main challenges for the EU in this uncertain and complex world. On the positive grounds we find a healthy recognition of the critical situation. However, on the not so positive side we lack more creative or different solutions to those proposed in the official declaration limiting its scope to discuss on security issues, migration policies and the week economic grown.

The Global Strategy on Foreign Policy and Security of the European Union is a good reference for sketching out Europe. It is not a question on building an European Army, or imposing unwanted solutions. It is about believing that no single country can address today challenges alone better than working jointly all together. It is about common interest and values, and also going ahead by using properly the tools and rules we have now available. Actually, the Lisbon Treaty offers a comprehensive set of measures to be implemented if necessary. The article 44 is a good example of it. Also an effective implementation of the agreements reached in the last NATO summit to foster the cooperation between NATO and the UE could produce good results in the short term. The metamorphosis of the Active Endeavour towards the new Sea Guardian Operation is going to be an excellent example of coordination with the current Eunavfor-Med Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Libya.

It is understandable how difficult has to be reaching out solutions for all Member States, but it is not acceptable keeping the current state of affairs. But, why are we to set common rules for everybody if they are not wanted? Wouldn´t it be possible to find opt-in solutions giving greater integration only to those Members wanting it?

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