How should the EU evolve in response to challenges such as Brexit and globalisation? Jean-Claude Juncker presented five possible options to the Parliament on 1 March.
During the subsequent plenary debate most MEPs welcomed the opportunity to reflect on the direction Europe should take. Watch our video for highlights from the debate.
Five scenarios for the future of the EU
Juncker outlined five possible courses for the EU in his presentation to the Parliament on 1 March:
- Sticking with current policies
- Focussing on the single market and removing barriers to trade
- Allowing EU countries to integrate at different levels so that those who want to progress in a certain area can do so without having to wait for others.
- Selecting a limited number of areas for further integration but do less in other policy fields
- Integrating more across most policy areas
Juncker declined to state his preference: “At the end of the day, it won’t be just me making the decision. It will be up to your Parliament, national parliaments, governments, civil society. In other words: the citizens will be able to have a say. We would prefer to listen, before we state our views.”
During the debate that followed, some MEPs welcomed the Commission’s efforts to chart possible scenarios for the EU's future, others were disappointed it did not clearly state its preference, while others saw the whole discussion as a sign that the EU if failing.
Spanish EPP member Esteban González Pons said: “We have done many things wrong before arriving to this point. Brexit is not the cause. Brexit is the last consequence and we must be sure it remains the last consequence."
Gianni Pittella, the Italian chair of the S&D group, said: “You are presenting us with a reflection paper and scenarios instead of a clear plan to fortify our house to weather this storm."
Read more about the reactions of the political groups.
Parliament reports on the future of Europe
MEPs already adopted three resolutions on the future of Europe during the February plenary in Strasbourg. One of them looks at what improvements are possible under the existing system, another considers what treaty changes might be needed for additional reforms, while the last one sets out how to bring the economies of countries that have adopted the euro closer together and make them more resilient. Watch our videos to learn more about Parliament’s proposals.