Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Europe 2020: For a Plural Union

1. The situation today: the Union as Promise

a) Take-off

b) Bogged down

2. Pressures for enlargement

a) Broader powers

b) Territorial enlargement

3. Choosing a model for Europe in 2020

a) A federal Union

b) A Union of sovereign states

c) A vague Union

d) An Atlantic Union

e) A plural Union

4. Programme for a plural Union

a) The first IGC (1999-2000)

b) The second IGC (2000-2003)

c) Overall budgetary planning (1999-2010)

d) A new approach to managing enlargement (1999-2010)

e) Aims of a plural Union (1999-2015)

5. Summary of main recommendations: first reform, then enlarge

"I wouldn't pay good money to belong to a club that would have people like me for a member."

Marx (Groucho)

Barring major geopolitical or ideological upheavals, the European Union will have at least 35 members in 2020.

By that time, it will cover the whole of Europe, right up to the borders of Russia and Turkey, and it will still be one of the planet's foremost, if not the premier, economic powerhouse. But unless something is done to change the course of things, it will be nothing more than a single market bereft of political identity, having dismantled most of the instruments of its member states’ sovereignty without replacing them by others.

Having failed to update its philosophy and the methods whereby it runs itself, it will have become unmanageable, practically incapable of formulating policy and influencing the affairs of the world, as is now of the case with the most ineffectual of the United Nations agencies.

The original aim of the founding fathers, namely to turn the continent into a unified and independent political and military entity, will thus have drifted definitively beyond our grasp. Moreover, the most essential "community acquis", from the single market to the euro, from the common agricultural policy to the trade policy, will little by little have been whittled away by the impossibility of getting 35 nations to agree on how to adapt them to the forthcoming social, geopolitical and technological upheavals.


* *

As long as the Union had only a reasonable number of members, enlargement did not entail any change in its nature. With 12 members, it was still possible to reach a consensus without being blocked by minority demands. With 15 members, meetings drag on and majorities become lost in the maze of contradictory minorities. Beyond that, paralysis is assured.

The threshold beyond which today’s institutions will seize up altogether is around 20 members, which will be achieved sometime in the region of 2007, or at any rate before 2010. By that time, we must either reform or perish.


* *

In a world of 9 billion inhabitants, where market globalisation and rapid technological change will have brought about far-reaching upheavals in the balance of power: between the market and politics to the benefit of the market, between nomads and sedentary people to the benefit of the nomads, between large groupings and small entities to the benefit of small rich entities, between legal organisations and criminal ones to the benefit of mafias, between rich and poor to the benefit of the powerful, it will have become harder and harder to keep human communities together, to get increasingly mobile (both physically and virtually) populations to live together. In such a world, the likeliest scenario is that the reign of the United States will continue, militarily at least.

The European Union will then be no more than a vague grouping of 40 countries and 400 million inhabitants, a vast, fast-growing zone. But the prevailing model will be individualistic and technological, economically precarious and politically resigned. At best there will be a common border police to protect the Union from the dangers on its marches (the Balkans in ruins, uncertainty in Russia, a Mediterranean in turmoil, and a proliferating black economy).

On this view, Europe will have vanished from the stage of History for want of the capacity to reform institutions designed for six countries, for want of the capacity to manage what ought to have been its strength, namely a growing population, territory, resources and skills.

Enlargement will have set the scene for a tremendous geopolitical realignment: Great Britain will have definitively joined America's sphere of influence; Germany will have carved out a vast hinterland to the east, from Poland to the Ukraine, acting as both master and supplier, facing a Russia that is strong once more and is perhaps even a threat, as it seeks to avenge slights suffered when the West refused it a part in its institutions.

Among the great continental powers, France will be the biggest loser, owing to the destruction of everything it had sought to achieve with Germany since the end of the Second World War.

Already, with the expansion from 12 to 15, its language and legal principles are less and less readily accepted by its partners, and its negotiating successes are less and less frequent.

Nothing could be further from its interests than a Europe weakened by an ill-planned, poorly-executed enlargement; and nothing could be less in keeping with its values than an ineffectual Union incapable of embodying its ancient universal ambitions. Meanwhile, France will have lost even the right to exercise the last remaining instruments that still guarantee its own sovereignty and identity.

The spread of market mechanisms and America’s power of attraction over its partners would sweep away any remaining autonomy in its foreign policy, its defence, its public services, its welfare system and its culture.

Many Europeans (in northern Europe, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and elsewhere) will be delighted to see the back of a project they never really liked. They had always viewed it as reflecting the nostalgic ambitions of an arrogant Brussels bureaucracy, inherited from the habits and obsessions of a decadent French administration.

These Europeans will rush helter-skelter into the arms of the United States in search of military protection from the Pentagon and financial support from Wall Street.

Some of them will then start talking seriously about breathing life into the economic dimension of the North Atlantic Charter, and of dovetailing the European Union into a global system of Atlantic co-operation wherein the rich West, threatened by the rest of the world, huddles together for protection.

Instead of conferring a military dimension on the European Union, they will end up giving an economic dimension to the Atlantic Alliance.

Technological progress, strengthening America's pivotal role, will serve as a justification for giving command of this Euro-Atlantic Union to America.


* *

Because of all this, the question of enlargement is the most fundamental issue of all for the future of the construction of Europe. If we leave it to be resolved within the frameworks and according to the procedures designed for earlier accessions to the Union, this alone will be sufficient to put an end to the European project.


* *

To prevent things from going this way, France could choose to do everything in its power to delay enlargement; it could propose intermediary solutions to candidate countries such as a confederation, an association, variable geometry solutions, new types of partnership, or very protracted negotiations.

But this attitude would be untenable in the long run: enlargement is inevitable because it is in everyone's interests. It is in the interests of the Union's members, in order to avoid chaos on their borders; it is in the interests of the candidate members, in order to stabilise their economies; and of the United States in order to shift the burden of reconstruction onto the Union.

If France makes no preparations to defend its interests, by the time enlargement has taken place it will have lost its influence in the institutions and the respect of the candidate countries. Consequently, in a sweeping and simultaneous gesture of continent-wide generosity and strategic cogency, it should announce shortly its intention to accept the inevitable enlargement of the European Union to 35 (or even 40, as we shall see) members, to promote enthusiastically what it can no longer avoid. And it should propose that the 15 reform their institutions in order to prepare for this.

This strategy calls for the formulation of a clear vision of the current situation, of possible scenarios, and the necessary changes, and persuading public opinion to share that vision. We must then prepare to circulate to France's partners a broad and comprehensive proposal for a new contract for the coming century, which I shall term here the Plural Union.

1. The situation today: the Union as Promise

a) Take-off

Europe has rarely appeared to be in better shape than it is today. As the world's second economic, military and technological power, it may even outdo its American rival in certain sectors of industry such as aeronautics or biotechnology. Countries are fighting to join it, its influence in the world is on the increase, and it finances two-thirds of world official development aid.

Its institutions have recently been consolidated by the creation of the euro, which is set to become the world's reserve currency. Its finances are sound, and it has put in place a seven-year budget agreement.

The recent Amsterdam Treaty has significantly improved the workings of the Union.

First by the introduction, in article 44 of the Treaty, of "enhanced co-operation", i.e. the right of certain member states to move forward together faster than the whole, in accordance with a qualified majority rule, votes being weighted in accordance with article 205 of the Treaty.

This Treaty also spells out the terms of incorporation of the Schengen agreements. It opens up new perspectives in the social sphere, recognising basic rules regarding night work, maximum working hours, paid holidays, implementation of the core labour rights laid down in the 1989 Social Chapter, and agreements on parental leave, fixed-term employment contracts and the European Works Council derived from the social chapter.

Similarly, the Amsterdam Treaty confirms the need for policy harmonisation on rules for admission of foreigners to the territory of the European Union.

It lays down a system for mutual recognition of other European countries' rules on visitors rights. It clearly states "That objective shall be achieved by preventing and combating crime, organised or otherwise, in particular terrorism, trafficking in persons and offences against children, illicit drug trafficking and illicit arms trafficking, corruption and fraud." Finally, it defines the aims of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

This treaty also increases the powers of the European Parliament by involving it in the key decisions of the Council of Ministers via the co-decision procedure, confirming its power to appoint and censure the Commission, and recognising its de facto power of veto over the Commission's directives and the budget.

Where foreign and defence policy are concerned, Europe's handling of the Kosovo affair marked its political coming of age. It was Europe that took the diplomatic initiative in the Rambouillet negotiations, obliging reluctant allies to use force. It forms the backbone of the Kfor and the provisional Kosovo administration.

The Europeans have also acted in concert to defend their interests at the WTO and in other major multilateral negotiations such as the conferences on climatic change at Kyoto and Buenos Aires.

Finally, the European Communities Court of Justice is gradually forging a body of community law directly applicable in the member states, overriding internal rules, and further enhancing the co-ordinating capacity of the Community authorities.

Altogether, never before has the Union appeared so full of promise, or better able to rise to the challenges awaiting it.

b) Bogged down

Behind the successes, however, lurk all the makings of a quicksand – as if its recent conquests were merely the last embers of a dying fire.

First, the Union's economy remains very fragile. There are still 16,030,000 jobless, at a time when unemployment is negative in many sectors in the United States. The new information economy has put down uneven roots in Europe, and the latter generally lags substantially behind the other side of the Atlantic, with the notable exception of Finland. The single currency threatens to increase pressure on wages and speed up regional concentration; more generally, it will pose a threat to the integrity of the continental – and particularly the French – social model.

In the face of these dangers, "social" Europe remains very patchy and lacking in ambition: there has never been any question of a European social legislation, a European social security, or common legislation on working time or pensions.

Moreover, Europe is still nowhere near having the means to exercise any real military influence. And, barring a vast programme of reform, there is no indication that things are likely to be otherwise at any time in the near future. During the Kosovo crisis, Europe lacked the necessary air power: the United States supplied eight-tenths, and France the bulk of the balance. If it had been necessary to send in ground troops, the coalition would have had to rely entirely on American troops transport aircraft and logistics.

Finally, the Community institutions are heading for paralysis. The Commission functions increasingly poorly. A proliferating bureaucracy annually churns out 2,000 documents, many of them obscure and inapplicable. There are too many directorates, and they are engaged in constant turf battles. The Commissioners are increasingly swayed by the thinking of their own country and do not work sufficiently as a team; and their individual responsibilities within the College of Commissioners are imprecise.

The Council of Ministers is split up into a profusion of sub-formations which are gradually losing their cohesion. It has become a simple talking shop, where each member airs his views. It no longer acts as a filter between the Commission and the European Council. It no longer takes the time to ponder major issues facing the Union. The duration of the rotating presidencies is too short. Its General Secretariat no longer has the intellectual capacity needed to prepare for its work. The co-ordinating bodies (General Affairs Council, Coreper) no longer fulfil their mission.

This is hardly surprising: as it has evolved via a succession of additions and through practice, the Treaty now prohibits rapid, effective decision-making, being the cause of the confusion of powers within the Union’s institutions and with those of the member states.

As the expression of the national executives, the Council remains the Union’s supreme legislative body. However, through its jurisprudence the Court of Justice has proclaimed itself the second-tier legislator, on grounds of "making up for the shortcomings of the Council." By playing on the divisions within the Council, the Commission frequently places the member states before a fait accompli, especially in international negotiations. Meanwhile, the European Parliament, backed by the Commission (which it has the power to censure), is broadening its field of competence to areas belonging within the strict domain of national sovereignty.

The result is an accumulation of conflicts of legitimacy between the Union’s institutions and those of member countries: the European Parliament is increasingly encroaching on the powers of the national parliaments, on the grounds that it embodies the popular will just as well as they do. The Commission, which is charged with embodying the "interests of Europe" and is accountable solely to the European Parliament, frequently clashes with the national governments (or the Council) because its field of competence is increasingly uncertain. The European Central Bank is battling national governments over the powers on foreign exchange policy granted to them by the Maastricht Treaty. Finally, by the powers it is arrogating to itself, the European Court of Justice is on a direct collision course with constitutional courts in the member states.

To all these threats of future malfunction, the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties add further grave potential sources of incoherence: the Board of Governors of the ECB, which conducts monetary policy by simple, unweighted majority vote of the governors, without regard to the most populous and powerful nations; while "enhanced co-operation" may be made subject to the unanimous approval of the European Council, at the request of a single country not part of this co-operation. In other words, the Treaty prevents members that want to move ahead together faster from doing so without the consent of those that do not want to join them.

Other internal contradictions in the Amsterdam Treaty create true legal conundrums which will have to be unravelled in practice.

For example, the Treaty notes that European Parliament must merely be informed of foreign and security decisions made by the Council of Ministers, but that these are not subject to the former's authorisation. Yet at the same time it stipulates that foreign policy expenditures cannot be committed without a Parliamentary vote, since these are "non-obligatory expenditures." This is tantamount to making the whole of the Union’s foreign policy subject to Parliamentary approval.

Similarly, the protocol on subsidiarity appended to the Amsterdam Treaty is so complex and contradictory that it will inevitably give rise to conflicting interpretations and clashes of powers between Community and national authorities.

Finally, the Treaty of Amsterdam is incapable of preparing the Union for enlargement, because it fails to resolve the first two institutional problems enlargement will pose. These concern curbing the size of the Commission, and safeguarding the rights of the big countries in the Council. The Treaty was unable to decide between a democracy of nations (1 State, 1 vote) and a democracy of peoples (1 citizen, 1 vote).

It is hardly surprising, therefore, if the Union is currently incapable of considering its future, of setting a coherent strategy, or of making clear decisions. Whole swathes of the construction of Europe (immigration, development aid, research, taxation, innovation, major public works, and trade policy) are in a state of permanent paralysis. Europe’s intellectual and geopolitical project is tragically stalled. Increasingly, many member countries now prefer to organise certain highly strategic areas of co-operation outside the Union, via ad hoc forums such as Eureka for industrial co-operation, JACO for the six-power defence effort, and many other more recent programmes besides.

The Union is caught between the global market, which will lead to the forcible dismantling of most of the instruments of state control and virtually all public services, and the unrivalled economic dynamism of the United States. It thus runs the risk of losing all capacity to rise to the challenges assailing it.

Among those most urgently requiring a decision, these include:

Population ageing, which will add 7 percentage points of GDP to public spending between now and 2030, barring changes in the welfare system;

Rising threats from chaos in neighbouring states, which are increasingly hives of criminal activity. Poland, for instance, is one of the world’s foremost producers of synthetic drugs consumed in the West; Malta and Hungary are money laundering centres, while morphine base is manufactured in Romania and Bulgaria for export to the Union.

The European brain drain: Europe’s elites no longer feel they have a future within the Union. Europe’s universities are losing their reputation for excellence, for want of the capacity to co-ordinate their curricula and research facilities. One of the most worrying consequences of this is the brain drain in research: in 1996, 17,000 European students moved to the United States upon completing their doctorates, and half of them stay there for more than 5 years.

The budgetary consequences of these developments are starting to run out of control.

Looking beyond Agenda 2000, nobody knows how to finance the huge costs of enlargement, defence, industrial and social infrastructures, pensions and the conversion of industries rendered obsolete by the new technologies.

The dynamics of enlargement will bring all of these pressures to a head.

2. Pressures for enlargement

The Union will be subject to two seemingly contradictory pressures over the next ten years, namely pressure to broaden its powers and pressure to enlarge its territory.

a) Broader powers

A strange alliance of States eager to shift the burden of their problems and a Commission eager to gain new powers will further accelerate the extension of the Union’s scope of intervention. After monetary policy will come budgetary and fiscal policy, followed by foreign and social policy, higher education policy, justice, and immigration. No sphere will escape this demand for coherence, co-ordination or integration.

* Monetary unification will play a powerful integrating role in this, extending to issues apparently far-removed from it. Not only will it create pressures for tax harmonisation and the merging of budgetary procedures in order to stimulate growth and job creation, but also, by spurring increased labour mobility, it will create pressure for harmonisation of qualifications and university systems.

* The Union’s existing array of instruments to reduce regional inequalities between long-standing and new members will prove inadequate and will have to be reinforced, along with its arsenal of instruments of social integration.

* The Kosovo affair served as a reminder—if anyone had forgotten—of the permanence of American military dominance, and also of Washington’s determination to keep its own soldiers out of harm’s way. It was a reminder of the urgent need to reflect on the future value of American protection and of the need to reinforce and harness the defence resources of the Union’s members. It further served as a reminder of the need, as decided in the final declaration of the Cologne European Council in June 1999, to create "the capacity for autonomous action, backed up by credible military forces." That is a major undertaking, which will have to be carried out in a manner consistent with the management of the Alliance and the neutral status of certain Union members. After all, not all of the Union’s member countries wish to be bound by the constraints of the North Atlantic Treaty or by those of Article 5 of the Brussels Treaty establishing the WEU, which create a collective security guarantee. That is true even if this guarantee is a de facto one, and even if no Union member can fail to feel obliged to come to the defence of another member under attack.

* Add to this a series a of new issues springing from the advent of the Internet and new technologies. These concern preservation of the tax base, cultural policy and cross-border crime. These "Euro-crimes" are going to need a "Euro-police" and "Euro-judges" to deal with them.

All this could breed a proliferation of procedures, institutions, councils and agencies. In other words, it could aggravate the existing bureaucratic obscurity, contradicting the demand for transparency, efficiency and greater democracy expressed by the voters.

b) Territorial enlargement: towards a 40-member Europe

The decision in principle to undertake an initial enlargement of the Union to include certain central and eastern European countries was made by the Copenhagen European Council on June 22, 1993. The Luxembourg Council of December 12 and 13, 1997 decided to open negotiations with the six countries selected by the Commission in Agenda 2000, i.e. five countries from central and eastern Europe and the Baltic (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia), and Cyprus. Parallel to this, European Conferences were to be held with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia.

In addition to these eleven countries which officially been allowed to go forward with their accession process, very powerful pressures will shortly arise to open further doors to the Union (just after these eleven countries, if not simultaneously) to Malta, Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia, and even one day Serbia and Montenegro.

But then, how can we exclude Moldavia, whose economic and cultural ties to Romania make it a natural candidate? And, once all the Baltic countries have been admitted, how can we fail to recognise the European claims of Belarus, if it has not merged with Russia by then? Again, how can we refuse to entertain the future candidature of Ukraine, something many Poles and a handful of German officials already discuss with barely concealed enthusiasm? Finally, will the Swiss really wish to remain perpetually outside such a body of nations?

It would be hard, by then, to go on rejecting Turkey, which has been left out of the current accession procedures even though it is the longest-standing candidate of all. One would at least have to put it on an equal footing with Ukraine, if only for demographic reasons.

Looking beyond this list (which could bring the number of Union members to 38 some time around 2015), all that would remain outside would be Russia and the countries further to the East. Some of the latter, e.g. Armenia and Georgia, have, from a cultural standpoint, at any rate, a distinct European dimension.

That brings the potential number of Union members to 41. For there is no certainty the present process of fragmentation has run its course, and that there won’t be some challenges to the existing frontiers of Hungary, Macedonia, or Russia. The idea of the nation is a relatively new one in eastern Europe; frontiers are unsettled and in many cases artificial. Once the Union spreads to all or most of Europe, ethnically homogeneous regions will be less inhibited about seceding in order to make sure their voice is heard within the Union. Some will have no qualms about exchanging the protection of their national capital for that of Brussels.

The case of Russia, along with that of Turkey, is the weightiest and most arguable, demographically, culturally and strategically speaking.

Even if, for many people, there is no way it can be regarded as a future member of the Union, no one denies it will have to be granted associate status at least. Everyone acknowledges that the greatest danger to the western part of the continent would be to have a Russia that had grown bellicose once more because it felt itself to be isolated. Many will come to the conclusion that the surest way to guarantee a peaceful future for Russia would be to admit it to full membership of the Union, as we have ended up doing for the international financial institutions and the G8.

I expect the same will apply to Turkey, ultimately, if we are to avoid a radicalisation of Islam to the south-west of the Union.

Some people would argue that this prospect is implausible, as living standards in all these countries are far below the level demanded of the most recently admitted members. And that they will be persistently fragile.

But people forget that the geopolitical situation has changed since 1989. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of Yugoslavia have profoundly altered the way people see Europe, and the urgency of joining it has become an incontrovertible political fact.

It will no longer be possible to wait for a country to match the level of economic development and democratic stability of the present member countries before admitting them to the Union. Even now, the eleven officially-recognised candidate countries together represent a mere 4 percent of the Union’s GDP, while representing 20 percent of its population; that means their average standard of living is 5 times lower than that of the Union. This average will be lower still when the Balkan countries and the rest of the Orthodox world are allowed to start negotiating membership.

But it is precisely because these countries are lagging behind that it is urgent to admit them to the Union:

on the one hand because remaining outside the Union will breed political uncertainty and threats, with damaging consequences for the western part of the continent. If these countries remain perpetually outside the Union, they will be a breeding ground for dangerous mafias that could ultimately destabilise the Union;

second, because bringing them into the Union will stabilise their democracies and enable them to put in place the necessary infrastructures in order to narrow the gap with the western part of the continent.

Earlier accessions bear out this point. Those of Spain and Portugal reversed the flow of migration. The civil war in Northern Ireland has not prevented Great Britain and Ireland from becoming members of the Union. Indeed, membership has even helped put an end to that civil war by demonstrating the inanity of the frontier between the two parts of the island. Similarly, no one now disputes that Greece’s admission to the Union, a process that was accelerated precisely in order the stabilise that country’s fledgling democracy, has achieved its aim.

Altogether, the Union will be (already is) subject to very heavy pressure to open talks with all these countries. These countries will consider (already consider) membership as a due, to the point of challenging the right of the existing members to decide today among themselves on new common policies or even on institutional reforms, on the grounds that these will affect them after they join the Union.

This is not science fiction. These upheavals will take place before 2020, in other words tomorrow. We must start gauging their consequences right away and set the Union on a new course in order to withstand them.

The Union cannot, and must not, feel itself bound by the procedures that served it when expanding from 6 to 9, then from 9 to 12, and from 12 to 15. Today’s Slovenia is not the Great Britain of 1975, and the Europe of 2003 is not the Europe of 1970.

The Union must make a lucid choice of strategy, which will very largely depend on what it decides with respect to enlargement.

3. Choosing a model for Europe in 2020

Europe will only be able to preserve its identity if it can reconcile its history with its future, through a project embodied in legal documents.

And it will only be master of its destiny if statesmen and women are capable of putting this project into effect.

More specifically, its peoples will have to choose explicitly from among five possible futures, from among five long-term visions of the Union.

Two of these, which I shall call "federal" and "sovereign" are situated within its existing territory, and three others (designated below as "vague", "Atlantic", and "plural") are accompanied by more or less extensive enlargement.

a) A federal Union

In the first scenario, the Fifteen would advance towards economic, social, political and military integration without awaiting the arrival of the eastern European countries. This has been termed "deepening before enlargement."

Candidates would have to make do with joining what was by then a virtually federal entity.

This scenario presupposes not only a fresh, and this time successful, revision of the institutional reforms that failed at Amsterdam (concerning the weighting of Council votes, extending the scope of qualified majority voting, and limiting the number of Commissioners), but also undertaking far more radical reforms to render Community institutions independent of the number of member countries.

There is no lack of ideas as to how to achieve this: on the boldest assumption, Europe would institute a President elected by universal suffrage, based on a European constitution. From a general point of view, this would entail the adoption of a democracy of peoples (i.e. 1 citizen, 1 vote), while respecting the democracy of nations (1 State, 1 vote) for questions touching on the heart of national sovereignty.

Ultimately, the Commission and the Council of Ministers would merge to form a single executive with the President. Membership of this executive would be fixed (at, say, 15) and unrelated to the future number of member countries. Members of the Council of Ministers could be Ministers for Europe in their respective countries, reporting directly to their Prime Minister and spending half of their time in Brussels.

An extreme version of this might see the creation of a "Directoire", a kind of Security Council, in which a small number of countries (7, for example) – some permanent, others rotating – would serve as an "inner" Community executive.

This executive would operate through a streamlined administration, most of whose directorates would be converted into distinct agencies. These would not be subject to the national quota rules or to international civil service requirements.

The Parliament would have genuine powers to scrutinise and appoint the executive, as well as the power to raise a tax and organise the transfer of resources from national tax revenues.

In a later stage, one could envisage the creation of a European citizenship and move towards the pooling of the main attributes of national sovereignty, i.e. taxation, justice, police, the armed forces, and diplomacy.

The final stage would see the transformation of the French and British seats on the Security Council into seats held in common by the Union, and the French and British nuclear strike forces would pass under the control of the European President.

In this scenario, until such time as federalism was able to afford the Fifteen sufficient protection against enlargement risks, candidate countries would be offered no more than interim solutions, e.g. a Confederation, the European Economic Area, associate status, ad hoc Eureka-style programmes… everything should be tried, including dragging out membership negotiations.

Union members would not commit large-scale expenditures to help candidates prepare for membership, devoting these expenditures instead to deepening their own co-operation.

Once progress towards federalism had become practically irreversible, the Fifteen would open the Union’s doors to new members. Naturally, these would not be obliged to join all dimensions of the Union immediately. In particular, they would not have to adopt the euro straightaway.

The probability of this scenario actually coming to pass is very low.

To be sure, the single currency will create pressure for greater solidarity among member countries in regard to budgetary policy, budget planning procedures, tax structures and negotiations on pay and working conditions. Indeed the unification of norms on economic governance will create a genuine dynamic in favour of federalism.

But, since the Maastricht Treaty (federalism’s "last hurrah," and even then France was able to achieve this only in the euphoria of German reunification), no one has been able drive the federal idea forward.

The demise of the Soviet threat and the fall of the Berlin Wall have removed any justification for the construction of a western European clone of the United States of America. The return in force of the advocates of sovereignty has done the rest.

So it is hard to imagine such a scenario being acceptable to Germany and Great Britain, nor to many people in France and elsewhere.

So we are going to have to live with the world as it is, with little likelihood of further moves toward federalism before enlargement.

For France to persist in this ambition, namely turning the Union into a bunker so as to strengthen it before opening it up, would be to condemn itself to diplomatic failure which would merely serve to isolate it. In that sense, this scenario is not only impossible, it is undesirable.

b) A Union of sovereign states

The second scenario is diametrically opposed to the foregoing.

Even before it has had time to negotiate the first wave of enlargement, a major economic or political crisis would break up Europe from within.

First, one cannot rule out the possibility that an eurozone country could (for example at the moment of final implementation of the single currency) face an intolerable surge in unemployment. Under threat of demonstrations or fierce opposition, that country’s government could decide to boost public spending in a way its partners find unacceptable; or it could even renationalise its currency in order to cut interest rates.

The euro might regain its strength once it was rid of this burden, considered too heavy for it by the markets. But the Union’s dynamic would be shattered.

However unlikely this eventuality, this possibility cannot by ruled out entirely. True, until now no major Community advance has been rolled back durably. Which is not to say that could never happen. The euro is not yet an irreversible fact of life, and a re-fragmentation of the continent’s currencies remains within the realms of possibility.

* One could also imagine the Union breaking up under the rising ideological influence of parties advocating sovereignty, in both member countries and candidate countries.

In the member countries, a recession could lead public opinion to cling to its existing gains and seek protection for ailing industries. Opinion could reject any further transfers of resources or powers to the Community institutions. In particular, certain sections of society could refuse the fiscal solidarity demanded by the creation of the euro and enlargement. This opposition could notably come from farmers and salaried employees, or from regions threatened by competition from candidate countries.

In the candidate countries, opposition to the necessary transformations, particularly in agriculture and heavy industry, could drive populist governments to reconsider their applications for membership. More fundamentally, opposition could also stem from a revived focus on the nation in a bid to safeguard its identity; national entities themselves could come under threat from efforts to constitute ethnically homogeneous groupings.

This scenario is not impossible, for no gain can be considered permanent. Avoiding it calls for relentless vigilance and, above all, a grand design with a promise of growth.

c) A vague Union

The likeliest assumption is that enlargement will proceed in a succession of waves until the Union has 35 members at least, but that it will not be possible to effect any significant change in the procedural rules or mechanisms used to negotiate this expansion.

In this scenario, neither the next IGC, nor any subsequent one, will succeed in reforming the composition of the Commission, in changing the weighting of votes, or in extending the scope of voting by qualified majority. The democracy of nations will definitively triumph over the democracy of peoples within the Union.

As a result, new members will immediately enjoy the same rights as the old ones as soon as they join, in terms of voting rights, representation on the Commission and in the Commission’s personnel.

As in the past, the Acts of Accession will all follow the same pattern. They will contain a section on the adaptation of the original treaties and, within this section, a title relating to institutional provisions. This title will confine itself to numerically adjusting all of the various Community institutions and bodies concerned. As in the past, all new members will enjoy all the rights and privileges of the founder members. That means they will have a commissioner, they will be able to impose their language and their civil servants, and will be entitled to vote on all issues, including those in which they won’t participate or in which they are in a transitional phase.

On this assumption, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovenia, Hungary, and perhaps also Cyprus, will join the Union some time around 2006. In the five years thereafter, notwithstanding the eagerness of the new members to shut the door behind them, the Union will be unable to refuse admission to Cyprus, Malta, Romania, the other Baltic countries, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia (now democratic), Montenegro and, if it exists, Kosovo. Around the same time, it will certainly have to admit Switzerland, Moldavia, and possibly also Belarus.

This second enlargement will be the hardest to organise, since a 20-member Union will have to manage the arrival of 15 new members with very low living standards and in some cases a minuscule population.

That will leave the three heavyweights, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, to be dealt with in a third possible phase. It will be impossible to justify their exclusion by that time, at which point the Union will have 40 members.

In fact, most of the Union’s institutions will become unmanageable the moment its membership exceeds 20.

In the first place, they will be intellectually unmanageable, because the current philosophy of the candidate countries is not to submit to the initial disciplines of the Union. Rather, they are expecting to sign up to a kind of customs union, an economic co-prosperity zone, while preserving their national independence and relying on the United States for their security.

Second, these institutions will be physically unmanageable. As the experience of the WEU has already shown, enlargement can lead to paralysis of the Community institutions.

When it takes two days to go round the table, the Council of Ministers will be an empty shell. With the arrival of a large number of very small countries, no member will be totally isolated any more; compromise will be harder and harder to achieve; the end result will be a dictatorship of minorities. Foreign and security policy will turn into an obscure object of conflict between the Commission and the Council.

The euro itself will come under threat, once a majority of small countries is able to decide by simple majority of governors to pursue an interest rate policy contrary to the interests of the most powerful countries.

Enhanced co-operation would not suffice to enable a handful of countries to progress significantly, since countries excluded from such co-operation would oppose its implementation.

Virtual institutional paralysis will slow down implementation of the internal market, which could even collapse, taking the euro with it.

At that point, Europe would at best be a kind of regional WTO. Solidarity between its members would be reduced to shreds by the obligation to dismantle public services as obstacles to market forces.

If this were to come about, it would be too late to reform Europe’s institutions: they would no longer be capable of being amended.

Some countries will reinvent new groupings outside the Union, thus hastening its fragmentation and possibly even its break-up.

Most of the others will seek to strengthen their ties with the United States, the last remaining tutelary power.

d) An Atlantic Union

Does the Union share common values capable of justifying the independence and unity of Europe, or should it vanish within some wider Euro-American or Atlantic community?

More and more Europeans (as many in the member countries as in the candidate countries, and especially among those concerned to guard against a possible Russian threat) will claim that the Union States and Europe each embody part of a single civilisation, and that they should therefore be brought together within a common entity. Ultimately, these people would add, the Europeans and Americans will together represent less than 8 percent of the world’s population, accounting for 45 percent of its income and 70 percent of its wealth. They ought, therefore, to unite in the face of the demands of the South.

For these Europeans, attempts to unite the continent politically are an illusion. It would be far more reasonable, they claim, to pool all of the political, strategic and economic resources of all the Allies. The Union would be acceptable merely as an extension of the Alliance.

One already encounters this kind of thinking among certain American intellectuals; at least among those who still believe the United States should go on bothering with Europe. They argue that the United States no longer has the means to finance everything that will soon be needed to ensure the world’s security and the defence of the West. Therefore, they claim, it will be in America’s interest to push for enlargement of the European Union and for folding the economic and political institutions of the Union into NATO, rather than transfer NATO’s military powers to the Union.

In their view, Europe should be nothing but a "civilian power," leaving military and geostrategic power in the hands of the United States.

The more Americans acknowledge Europe’s importance, the more they will want powers to be shared within institutions under their control, such as NATO in the military sphere, and the World Bank in the financial sphere. They will skilfully flatter the Europeans’ egos without treating them as equals.

If this scenario were to gain any credibility in the coming years, the entire discussion over the future of Europe’s institutions would take place under America’s umbrella.

As soon as this project is placed on the agenda, either explicitly or implicitly, the United States will present itself as a member of a wider grouping and will influence the evolution of the Union—rather as candidate members of the Union today consider themselves to be concerned by decisions made among the Fifteen.

This is already the case, to some extent, when one sees the keen attention with which American diplomats are observing preparations for the forthcoming enlargements.

It is also the case in numerous areas of the economy and politics, such as the arms industry, where huge Euro-Atlantic groupings are starting to emerge. It goes without saying that, in this scenario, the euro would merely be an extension of the dollar.

Even if this scenario may still look implausible to some today, it needs to be taken seriously. I believe it is the one most likely to occur, around which the broadest consensus currently exists.

World demographic and geopolitical trends, the handling of the Kosovo affair, and the eventual response to a grave threat from a newly bellicose Russia in the coming years, will all add to its credibility. We must therefore prepare for it.

e) A plural Union

One final scenario, though perhaps not the most likely, deserves lengthy consideration, since it could provide an answer to the four threats discussed above. This scenario would amount to favouring enlargement of the Union up to 35 or 40 members, provided the Union’s operational and accession procedures are modified beforehand. This must be done in such a way that territorial enlargement and the broadening of the scope of intervention do not impair its effectiveness.

I call this the "plural Union" scenario.

This scenario reflects an ambitious goal, namely to assemble all Europeans within a multiform power, endowed with sufficiently diversified political, military and financial resources to be able to preserve a lifestyle, values, and a distinctive conception of law and the social contract, and to be able to influence the solutions to the major challenges facing our planet.

There is no way all our partners, present and future, would unanimously share this project initially: especially not our future partners. Many of them believe the very notion of "power" to be unhealthy or even obscene, and that the role of politics, national or continent-wide, should be confined to creating a framework conducive to the exercise of individual freedom.

To convince them to go further, we would need to share two powerful ideas with them, namely that unless Europe itself becomes a power, the freedom and independence of each European could one day be in jeopardy.

Continental power is incompatible with neither the preservation of national sovereignty nor with the American alliance.

This leads us to propose a radically new vision of the Union’s future as a plural institution.

On the one hand, collegiate decision-making bodies would allow the majority to avoid being dictated to by a minority; on the other, minorities could team up for specific projects without the majority being able to prevent them.

This differential, multiple-geometry integration would go far beyond the "enhanced co-operation" provided for in the Amsterdam Treaty and the euro mechanisms provided for in the Maastricht Treaty, by making them much more widespread.

This would create a polycentric, networked Union, in line with the likely development of public and private organisations, less and less hierarchical and increasingly relationship-based.

The Union would no longer be seen as a hierarchical, pyramid-style entity, but rather as a series of groupings to which each and all would be entitled to belong, but with no obligation to do so. This would not even be a question of proceeding through projects first involving the most advanced members and then gradually spreading out to embrace the others. Rather, this scenario would entail the development of many networked, polycentric co-operative ventures, with no generally-applicable hierarchy or goal.

The coming together of these many different groupings would constitute the "plural Union" and would give its personality and its strength.

One would need to ensure the plural Union did not become just an improvised collection of disparate projects, and that the strongest members do not merely club together and isolate themselves from the rest through a series of enhanced co-operative ventures serving as a pretext for withholding solidarity from the weaker members. This would have to be done by devising new focuses of loyalty and protection for all Europeans, and by developing to implement them new mechanisms for strengthening the democracy of peoples (1 citizen, 1 vote), even at the expense of the democracy of nations (1 nation, 1 vote).


* *

Detailed proposals for putting these principles into practice are presented below.

4. Programme for a Plural Union

It would be necessary to progress in five directions at once, starting with the creation of the institutional conditions for enlargement via two successive Intergovernmental Conferences (IGCs) in 1999-2000 and 2000-2003. Then, in the course of the decade 1999-2010, a rapid enlargement would be finalized, candidate by candidate, after evaluating its budgetary consequences (1999-2010). The final direction (1999-2020) would involve implementing a whole series of projects aimed a consolidating the plural Union.

a) The forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference (1999-2000).

Member countries have already planned two institutional conferences in order to discuss these prospects: one timed to coincide with the first enlargement, and the second one year before the Union expands its membership to 20. That would be too late.

It would be very hazardous for the Union to wait until the next round of enlargements has taken place before reforming itself, for by then it would already be a vague Union with no possibility of further reform.

A first Intergovernmental Conference should very shortly lay down the minimum conditions to enable the institutions to start preparing for eventual new members. It would be pointless to set over-ambitious goals for this conference.

One might simply try to resolve those problems that could not be settled at Amsterdam.

Under a reasonable timetable, this would start straightaway, in July 1999, under the Finnish Presidency, and would end under the French Presidency at the end of 2000.

It should focus on achieving the following reforms:

· Replace obligatory unanimous voting in the Council’s decisions by qualified majority voting in as many areas as possible, starting with social questions, taxation, the environment, the structural funds, services, intellectual property, the Regional Fund, and culture. One cannot hope to achieve this for questions requiring Parliamentary ratification, such as own resources or enlargement, nor would one want this for foreign and security policy.

· Modify the weighting of the different countries’ votes in Council meetings by increasing the weighting of the most populous countries, so as not to subject the Council to the dictatorship of the little countries when voting by qualified majority. For that, one can choose a simple double majority system (of countries and populations). Better still, no doubt, would be a change in the weighting of each country more accurately reflecting the actual size of the population. This would benefit Germany and break the sacrosanct rule of equality between the two banks of the Rhine.

· Split the General Affairs Council into two bodies. The first would deal with running the Union, the second with its foreign policy.
– the Council of European Affairs Ministers representing the member states would be chaired by a minister elected for a long period from among its members and would act as the Community executive, drawing progressively closer to the Commission.
– the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers would form an External Security Council, responsible for defining the conduct of foreign and security policy.

· Reduce the number of the Council’s sub-formations in order to avoid a proliferation of meetings with closely-related powers and contradictory memberships. Certain Councils could be amalgamated around broader functions (e.g. General Affairs and Development; Ecofin and the Budget; an expanded Internal Market and Competitiveness Council would bring together Industry, Telecommunications, Energy and Research; finally, the General Affairs Council itself would deal with horizontal issues and internal market questions .

· Reorganise the Council’s discussions to prohibit round-table discussions and generalise the practise of having rapporteurs introduce each point on the agenda.

· Cut the number of Directorates in the Commission, and start converting some of them into standalone agencies, distinct from the Commission machinery; these should be obliged to operate efficiently and produce results.

· Allow the Parliaments of each member state to be consulted on European affairs.

These reforms will not be enough to enable the Union to prepare for enlargement, which means it is necessary to go much further than that.

b) A new comprehensive Treaty (1999-2003)

Looking beyond the next IGC, another, more sweeping reform would complete the task of preparing the Union to take in a large number of members and ensure consistency among a broad range of projects.

Ideally, this reform would take the form of approval by popular suffrage of a European Constitution, to which a European citizenship would be attached. If that is not possible, we should at least move towards a new Treaty, completing and strengthening the reforms already referred to above, pursuing the following avenues:

· Limiting the number of seats at the Council table and the Commission to 20

That would be the chief, the most radical, and the toughest of the reforms needed. This is the one that would unquestionably enable the institutions to function into the long term. It would entail creating five more country groupings than those represented by the existing 15 members, so as to be able to limit the number of commissioners and ministers around the table to 20 thereafter.

When a new country joined the Union, it would join a country grouping. Each country grouping would have one of its members sitting at the Council and Commission table, perhaps on a rotating basis. Each country would speak for its grouping for a two-year period. If a question comes up that specifically concerns a single country, that country would hold its grouping's seat for that question even if it is not its turn. Each country grouping would have a certain number of voting rights, along the lines of the IMF and World Bank. The definition, boundaries and the countries grouped together within each country grouping, and the calculation of voting rights associated with each of them, could be done at the time of admission of new members into one or the other of the 20 country groupings thus created. A suggested distribution of countries by grouping is appended to this report to illustrate the system. Many other possible distributions could be envisaged, mixing up eastern and western European countries more.

The same principle could apply to the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, via a reform of the Maastricht Treaty.

The number 20 is suggested here because this has already been identified as a limit beyond which far-reaching institutional reform is necessary.

It would be extremely difficult to build a consensus around this reform, but it would represent a radical and definitive solution to the institutional problems surrounding enlargement. This would not entail a completely new type of legal structure. In fact it would work along the same lines as the international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the regional development banks, which have admitted a hundred or so new member countries since their inception without any particular difficulty.

But this runs counter to Community tradition. Article 213 of the Treaty stipulates " The Commission must include at least one national of each of the Member States, but may not include more than two Members having the nationality of the same State." However, there is nothing to prevent the Treaty from being amended on this point, without prejudice to the equality of States within the Union. In any case, this kind of reform could only succeed if it is attempted and implemented long before the next enlargements take place.

If this reform proves impossible, one could arrive at a roughly equivalent outcome:

* For the Commission, by combining the commissioners’ portfolios around fifteen or so co-ordinating vice presidents, who would have real authority over the other commissioners. The key vice presidencies would cover the following remits: external affairs; economic and industrial affairs; social affairs; infrastructure and environment; transport; culture; education; agriculture and regional policy. The Commission President would retain direct responsibility for the budget and administration. The Vice Presidents meeting with the President would form the Union’s true executive.

* For the Council, by making qualified voting and enhanced co-operation the general rule, in particular among the eurozone countries. One could also imagine creating a "directoire" with a rotating membership among all of the Union’s member countries, patterned on the Troika system; but that would be even harder to put in place. In a "softer" version of this, one could imagine having all of the ministers attending meetings, but each country grouping being limited to a single vote.

Transfer the bulk of the Commission’s functions to executive Agencies, massively cutting its personnel and leaving only the political dimension and leadership tasks to the Commission proper. For effective control of the Commission, one could institute the practice of having in-house lawyers and internal auditors (State controllers).

Gradually merging the Commission Presidency and that of the European Council into a single function, under the title of President of the European Union. To begin with, the duration of the two functions’ terms of office would be harmonised, and their tasks would be co-ordinated, before actually merging their functions. The President of the Union would be elected by a joint vote of the Council and the Parliament, and he or she would be accountable to both bodies. The President would have powers of representation and would chair meetings.

Gradually merge the Council of European Affairs Ministers and the Commission by giving it the powers normally attributed to an executive: namely the right to initiate legislation, to conduct foreign policy and common policies, and overseeing the proper functioning of monetary union and the internal market. For administrative purposes, the executive would work through the merged administrative departments of the Council and the Commission. It could be censured by the European Parliament, which could in turn be dissolved by the decision of the European Council.

c) Overall budget programming (1999-2010)

Looking beyond Agenda 2000, the admission of 20-25 new member countries to the Union would entail considerable expenditures, far exceeding the Marshall Plan of 1948-1951 in terms of the amounts going to the recipients as a proportion of their GDP.

These expenditures have yet to be clearly evaluated or even studied, despite the abundant literature on enlargement.

If enlargement is not to aggravate inequalities, and if we want to avoid the emergence of a kind of shanty town in the eastern part of the EU, candidate members must be made ready to join in the enhanced co-operation programmes. Also, their sectors in difficulty and regions under threat will have to be strengthened.

That will require large-scale investment, focusing notably on infrastructure, telecom networks, and small and medium-sized businesses.

Altogether, the cost of enlargement to 35 countries could come to around 1,000 billion euros, and that amount would have to be doubled at least if Russia, Ukraine and Turkey has to be admitted.

To take just one example, the cost of implementing the "acquis communautaire" for the environment alone by the first 10 candidate countries would come to 120 billion euros. The budgets of the Union, PHARE, and TACIS, and the regional funds could handle only a small proportion of these requirements.

Even more so than today, the European Investment Bank (EIB) will have to become the instrument of European integration. It will merge with the EBRD, as this international financial institution will have completed its mission once enlargement has taken place.

It might prove impossible to merge these two institutions, owing to the presence of non-European shareholders in the latter. In that case, one could simply assemble all of the EU’s member countries’ shares in the EBRD and place them in the hands of the EIB, making the former a subsidiary of the latter, majority-controlled by the EU.

These costs should be seen in the light of the considerable impact enlargement would have on EU economic growth and of military spending cuts made possible by stabilisation of the Union's flank regions.

d) A new approach to managing enlargement (1999-2015)

Several criteria should be applied when negotiating each new accession: progress towards democracy, progress towards a market economy, the capacity to cope with competitive pressures within the Union, the capacity to incorporate the "acquis communautaire" and the development of welfare protection for the weakest members of society.

To ensure that the arrival of new members does not impair the effectiveness of the Union, their participation should be confined to those issues on which they are prepared to accept Union solidarity. That is to say, membership of the Union should be disconnected from entitlement to the associated rights by linking the exercise of rights to the fulfilment of duties. Candidates would thus become members with progressively expanding rights.

In other words, it ought to be possible to impose on countries lining up for the forthcoming enlargements the same constraints as those that the Union members have imposed upon themselves with respect to the euro, whereby they acknowledge each other’s rights only insofar as they have accepted certain duties.

This principle (no rights without duties) ought to become the general rule in a Plural Union, applicable to all issues and all members, old and new alike.

In application of this principle, future members of the European Union will have to renounce the right to exercise their Council veto when this is deciding on measures pertaining to a Union policy which, in virtue of the Act of Accession, does not yet concern them, even if these measures will ultimately apply to them in full.

There is no legal obstacle to this. There is nothing unreasonable in seeking a fair balance between rights and obligations.

However, because the Acts of Accession are freely negotiated, this naturally assumes that the candidates agree to their rights being limited in this way. They will refuse this on the grounds that this had never been required in any previous enlargement. It could be justified on the grounds of the precedents of Maastricht and Amsterdam, which provided for the possibility of reducing in certain sectors (monetary and social in particular) the rights of those who do not co-operate.

This kind of clause would permit rapid enlargement of the Union, combining long transition periods with variable safeguard clauses depending on the country.

Experience shows that actual transition periods are shorter than those initially provided for, since the progressive application of Community law generally speeds up economic growth and progress towards democracy.

This progressive admission process will leave time for more far-reaching reform of the EU. In particular, it will leave time to institute the principle of country groupings in the Council and Commission, as descrEIBd above.

e) Multiple geometry projects (1999-2020)

While membership negotiations are going on and institutional reforms are being implemented, it will also be important to put in hand new programmes involving a variable number of EU member countries.

The four main areas driving the EU forward in the future will be: the economy, social affairs, education and justice.

The economy:

As the first example of multiple geometry in action, the Euro Council could become a place for framing an economic policy for the EU, starting by aligning budget timetables and co-ordinating national policies. It could then be transformed into a fully-fledged Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Budget for the EU.

* To begin with, the Euro Council could be transformed into a body for the mutual surveillance of national budget programming, and subsequently into a body for the co-ordination of national budget policies, while gradually developing a common doctrine. This would lead to the co-ordination of budgetary documents, bases (year n-1) and procedures (preparation, voting, execution, and control) for all countries in the Union, before going on to integrate their economic policies more deeply.

* One could then go on to create permits to run public deficits, along the lines of permits to pollute, in which the eurozone would determine a global (federal) authorised deficit, to be distributed among the various countries. These in turn would be free to exchange deficit permits among themselves.

* Tax harmonisation would come next, starting naturally with taxation of mobile factors, followed by savings.

* One could then start to think about funding the EU Budget out of a specific tax, an ecotax, for example (this would require constitutional reforms in all of the member countries).

* Finally, one of the key battles would concern the extension of the scope of article 113, namely the generalisation of Community trade policy principles to services and investment. If this is not to destroy the very foundations of the EU, it will be necessary to establish a European doctrine capable of avoiding the precedents set by the NTM and the MAI. The aim here would be to protect Europe's special features by not opening up to the world as much as we open up among Europeans.

Social affairs:

If the single currency is to survive, it will be necessary to combine an agreement among the social partners (to ensure that average wages rise in line with productivity) with an agreement among the Finance Ministers (to keep growth in public spending below the pace of economic growth).

When all social questions are decided by qualified majority, agreement will be required to homogenise labour rights among as many countries as possible by instituting minimum employee rights, granting powers to the works councils of large European corporations, creating a European company statute and a European third-sector undertaking statute, as well as agreements on minimum notice for dismissal of employees and minimum compensation for collective dismissals.

With the convergence of real wages, we will start to move towards a European minimum wage.

A charter of civil and social rights will combat racism in the workplace. This would stimulate progress in international law and in the law on the treatment of foreigners.

Once all of these advances have been put into practice, they will be combined into a single European Social Treaty.

* Justice and Home Affairs:

With the rise of Euro-crime (cross-border crime using the new technologies, terrorism, money laundering, drugs, corruption, counterfeiting of the euro, fraud committed against the interests of the Union, and vehicle smuggling), we will need to work towards the creation of a European judicial area in which deepening and enlargement will be increasingly inter-linked.

While this will not entail a generalised harmonisation of law, nor a unified civil and criminal justice system, it will require progress in that direction among the candidate countries and member states.

- The candidate countries will be expected to strengthen the rule of law at home (including recognition of the crime of conspiracy to commit an offence, acceptance of the general rules of the FATF, and training for judges). All bank transactions carried out in a place not subject to proper surveillance should be declared null and void. A tax, however small, on unearned income could serve to eliminate anonymous accounts, trace the origin of funds and identify their owners.

- Member countries should gradually co-ordinate their police, judicial systems and immigration policies and should progressively harmonise their legislation on Euro-crime. The role of the European Union in this would concern the setting of common norms defining conspiracy to commit an offence, and on jurisdictional competence over disputes arising in respect of these forms of crime in application of the principle of subsidiarity.

The Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers could use article 42 of the Amsterdam Treaty to achieve all of the above, deciding for itself which method of voting to apply for that purpose.

Real powers of initiative and to initiate investigations will be given to the staff of Europol, working in conjunction with the national police forces. Procedures for rogatory commissions will be unified, enabling an examining magistrate in one Union member country to refer directly to the police in another member country. Extradition procedures between member countries will be replaced by a systematic and automatic common indictment procedure. The legal professions will be harmonised and freedom of establishment facilitated.

Ultimately, one could envisage the creation of a single police force, customs force, prosecutor's office and criminal appeal jurisdiction for the EU as a whole. One could imagine referring offences brought to light by this European prosecutor's office to the national courts. Moreover, one would have to negotiate instruments permitting direct enforcement of civil judgments and receivables from one European country to another. In the first place, this should concern family disputes and those pertaining to commercial debts.

An individual right of appeal to the European Court of Justice would be instituted, once plaintiffs had exhausted all national channels of appeal, leading to an enforceable decision or simple quashing of a judgment, as for the European Court of Human Rights.

In the more distant future, the European Court of Justice would be merged with the European Court of Human rights, or at least a layer would be created between them providing for the quashing of judgments (equivalent to a Court of Cassation).

It would be worth looking into the setting up a European Penal Tribunal.

All this would be done under the supervision of an autonomous EU agency, which would ultimately also be responsible for controlling the common external frontier.

A single status for foreigners would serve to harmonise conditions for entry, residence, family reunion, the law governing political refugee status and the granting of citizenship to foreigners.

The first European Council devoted exclusively to Justice and Home Affairs, due to take place at Tampere in the coming months, could launch this programme.

* Educational and Cultural policy

Economic integration is also creating pressure for closer links between the bodies responsible for delivering vocational and university diplomas.

We need to work towards a Single Educational Act creating the conditions for the free movement of students, better comprehensibility and compatibility between diplomas, the generalisation of a two-cycle system (pre-and post degree, followed by a masters and/or doctorate), the introduction of credits to encourage mobility and continuing education, harmonisation of access to social services for students, mobility of teachers and research workers, promoting a Europewide system for the evaluation of standards and the European dimension in teaching).

This Single Act would be patterned on a European model of higher education. The initial premises of this were spelled out at the Sorbonne colloquium in May 1998, while subsequent stages were formulated in Bologna in June 1999.

* * *

These four fields delineate the main areas of possible progress for a plural Union.

It will be harder to formulate equally integrated policies for the Union in other areas.

* Foreign and defence policy:

It will not be possible to establish a common foreign or defence policy among countries that do not want to do so. Consequently, it would be preferable to envisage these in terms of specific groups, or, in Community jargon, "to introduce the possibility of enhanced co-operation in the second pillar."

The EU's foreign policy must not remain disconnected from its international economic policy. Consequently, the job of the Commissioner responsible for external economic affairs and trade should be merged with that of the Commissioner in charge of European security and co-operation policy.

This official would be given the title of Vice-President of the Commission and the powers currently exercised by the troika, the latter being abolished.

The first step would be to pool the instruments of foreign economic and security policy in the flank regions of the Union, i.e. bilateral relations with the candidate countries and the Mediterranean Basin countries. Development policy will remain an essential instrument of this security policy, even if it does take on new forms. The impending renewal of the Lome Convention represents a major challenge from this point of view.

Much later on, and only if it becomes possible to move towards a truly common foreign policy for the EU as a whole, one could envisage combining the French and British seats in the UN Security Council. Or at least, while retaining their seats, France and Great Britain could express points of view previously agreed through consultation with the other Europeans. That would mean including diplomats from other European countries in the British and French UN delegations.

* A European defence policy would need to acquire a capacity for projection, surveillance and policing on its frontiers, by setting up a joint command of European forces within the framework of Nato. It should also be capable of co-ordinating civil and humanitarian aspects of defence operations.

The European Union should take over all of the powers of the WEU, setting up a Defence Agency to replacing the Permanent Council of the WEU and assisting the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy in the preparation of defence strategy. The WEU Assembly would cease to exist.

Pending the creation of forums involving all the Europeans in arms and security issues, it will be necessary to safeguard and develop the existing bodies of plural co-operation. In particular, it will be necessary to harmonise, in the countries concerned, procedures for invitations to tender and rules governing the granting of security clearance, in order to promote defence industry integration.

In the very long term, thought will have to be given to "Europeanising" the British and French nuclear strike forces.

* The technological challenges:

Many other subjects will demand greater co-operation among Europeans. Examples include those where technology is influencing the future of the EU, and notably employment, education, the environment, health, food safety, crime, and using the Internet in modernising its institutions.

* * *

That leaves the question of what to do if most of these reforms cannot be undertaken or concluded: should one agree to enlargement nevertheless? The answer to that question, which flows from the foregoing, is absolutely negative. Any enlargement in the absence of the reforms needed to make it possible will be suicidal for the EU and contrary to the interests of the candidate countries. It would therefore be to the Union's credit if it were to announce straightaway a minimum list of reforms that must be successfully implemented before enlargement negotiations can begin. These reforms are summarised in the recommendations that follow.

5. Summary of main recommendations: first reform, then enlarge

Express firm support for a 35-member Union or "plural Union."

Announce without delay that the forthcoming enlargements can under no circumstances proceed under the same rules as applied to the previous ones, because they will entail a change of nature for the Union.

Utilise the "democracy of peoples" (1 citizen/1 vote) to balance "democracy of nations" (1 country/1 vote).

Do not make Europe's frontiers a question of theological principle, and the same goes for the question as to whether the future Union should be federal or confederate.

Prepare for a "bespoke" enlargement, on a country-by-country basis, whereby the new member countries would only acquire voting rights as and when they are able to fulfil their duties.

Start right away instituting practises foreshadowing those that ought to be approved by the next two Intergovernmental Conferences, emphasising the need to create a dynamic capable of functioning independently of the number of members.

In the first IGC:

- Replace unanimous voting in the Council by qualified majority voting in as many areas of possible.

- Modify the weighting of the various countries' votes, reinforcing the weighting given to the most populous countries, so the Council is not in thrall to dictatorship by the least populous countries in qualified majority votes.

- Reduce the number of the Council's sub-formations, to avoid a proliferation of meetings with overlapping powers and contradictory compositions.

- Reorganise the Council's discussions to prohibit round table discussions and generalise the practice of rapporteurs to introduce each item on the agenda in order to avoid institutional paralysis.

- Split the General Affairs Council into two bodies, one responsible for the running of the EU and which would merge with the Commission, while the other would be responsible for foreign policy.

Choose new areas of action capable of fostering and supporting European loyalty around the determination to fight together against common threats, starting with Justice, Social Affairs and Education.

A second Intergovernmental Conference, prior to any enlargement, should seek to:

* Generalise, simplify and promote enhanced co-operation in all areas, while ensuring that countries refusing to join in are not allowed to thwart such co-operation.

* Decide to create five more country groupings than those represented by the existing 15 members, so as to be able to limit permanently the number of seats at the Council table, on the Commission and on the Board of Governors of the Central Bank to 20 thereafter. The definition, boundaries and the countries grouped together within each country grouping would be done at the time of admission of new members, as is done with the governing bodies of the international financial institutions.

* Limit the members of the Council of Ministers to 20 by combining the representatives of member states into country groupings. A new member would be assigned to one of the country groupings. Each country grouping would have a certain number of votes, and each Council member would represent a certain number of countries on a rotating basis.

* Similarly limit the number of Commissioners and Central Bank Governors allowed to vote to 20, with a rotating system within each country grouping.

* If this reform proves impossible, combine the Commissioners’ portfolios around fifteen or so co-ordinating vice presidents, who would have real authority over the other commissioners.

* Progressively convert the Commission Directorates into standalone agencies, obliged to operate efficiently and produce results, leaving only the political dimension and general leadership to the Commission.

* Gradually merge the Commission Presidency and that of the European Council into a Presidency of the European Union. The President of the Union would be elected by a joint vote of the Council and the Parliament, and he or she would be accountable to both bodies. The President would have powers of representation and would preside over the Union’s institutions. Executive power would remain in the hands of the General Affairs Council and the Commission, to be merged later.

* Involve the Parliaments of each Member State more closely in European affairs. Ultimately, all legislative power in the European sphere would be transferred to a two-chamber European Parliament, comprising a chamber elected by universal suffrage, and a chamber made up of representatives of the national parliaments.

I hope that all of these proposals will be deemed to warrant discussion. Whatever the case, it will not be possible to determine the future of the Continent honestly and with lucidity without debating them, without deep consideration by political leaders, and without an enthusiastic commitment on the part of intellectuals to preserve what remains to be saved of one of the wonders of human history: European civilisation.


Suggested division of 41 countries into 20 groupings in the Union Councils.

Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro


Denmark, Lithuania

Finland, Estonia, Hungary



Great Britain

Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta



Luxembourg, Switzerland

Moldavia, Romania



Portugal, Macedonia, Montenegro

Russia, Serbia, Belarus


Sweden, Latvia

Turkey, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo


1 comment:

AxeTheTax. said...

Please forgive me, there is no name for me to use in this reply. I beg your pardon.

The article is a marvellous peice of work, thank you.

From my point of view, you have highlighted all that is wrong with the Union. and twice you used the one word that will eventually Destroy the Union. Sovereignty.

I do not know about the rest of Europe, but here in Great Britain, Sovereignty has been stolen from the People. Without the consent of the People, The European Union has no authority.

There is now a move being made to remove the power over Taxation, from Westminster and Whitehall. That power will be exercised by the Taxpayers on a local level. And I believe I am correct in saying that this adjustment to the misuse of Political power is available to most, if not all of the Nations that make up the Union.

The URL are as follows:-

http://managingtaxation.wordpress.com e-mail- flynn354@btinternet.com

Once again, thank you for a most impressive piece of work.
Regards, ATF.


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