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Report IEP Annual Conference: “EU Integration at a Crossroads: The Future of the EU and German European Policy”

Source: IEP

What do European experts from academia and politics think about the future of the EU, partic­i­patory democracy, differ­en­tiated integration and recovery and solidarity in the EU? At the IEP Annual Conference, they discussed these issues in order to find common solutions.

At this year’s IEP virtual Annual Conference, experts discussed the Conference on the Future of Europe, differ­en­tiated integration, the future of the EU in a post-pandemic world and its economic recon­struction. Four key messages emerged from the exchange.

For the Conference on the Future of Europe to succeed, national govern­ments must proac­tively engage citizens and civil organ­i­sa­tions and commu­nicate their own positions to provide a basis for discussion. A change of the EU treaties is not ruled out, but contents must first be discussed in order to think about possible reform implementations.

In the panel “Differ­en­tiated Integration as a Policy Choice”, which was also kindly supported by the Horizon 2020 project EU IDEA, partic­i­pants discussed whether differ­en­tiated integration (DI) is always a conscious political choice. In order to strengthen citizens’ support for DI, policy actors need to increase knowledge about DI as an option to promote European integration.

In health policy, EU approaches have been only partially aligned with global strategies (EU4Health vs. WHO One Health Approach). The EU should be given more compe­tences and accord­ingly a revision of the EU treaties should also be considered. With regard to the climate crisis, the EU’s energy transition must be carried out at regional level, country by country and even sector by sector, and simul­ta­ne­ously through global thinking.

For the EU’s economic recovery, the adoption of the “NextGen­er­a­tionEU (NGEU)” package and the success of the vacci­nation campaigns were absolutely crucial. For sustainable economic growth, EU countries need to increase investment in green and digital sectors.

The IEP tradi­tionally organises the IEP Annual Conference every year in cooper­ation with its Academic Advisory Board and with the kind support of the German Foreign Office and the European Commis­sion’s Europe for Citizens Programme.

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