The EU celebrates 60 years amid rising fears over its uncertain future
The European Union is celebrating its 60th anniversary amid rising fears over the uncertainty of its future. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, will be at the Rome Summit today, along with other EU leaders to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome. A number of events were organised to mark the occasion and reflect on the EU's future. The EU has been a major player on the international scene since its inception in 1957 and played a major role in promoting peace, freedom, tolerance, solidarity and cooperation after the second world war and became a great economic power with the Euro becoming the second most important currency in the world Bank reserve. But while historians agree that the EU has guaranteed nearly 70 years of peace, recent unfolding events such as the UK leaving the EU, the controversy over migrants and the deep divisions over the economic debt of some of the southern European countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain, has led to questions and uncertainty over its future. The recent terror attacks also undermined it's ability to secure its borders and have reminded its of its fragility at the kevel of security. Bordering conflicts brought divisions within the member states, between those who were more prone to take in migrant refugees and those who chose to adopt a hardline view on the migrants' crisis. The EU gave rise to a new construct of inter-state democracy with an EU parliament, an economic and social committee and cooperation between parliaments of member states, but failed to prevent populism, internal power struggles and relentless questioning of its legitimacy by some member states with the UK being one of its fiercest and most vehement critics leading up to doubts over whether the EU is most apt at facing the challenges of the 26th century. Jean Claude Junker's Commission White Paper on the Future of Europe, published in March 2017, revealed a major lack of leadership in the EU and elaborated a document highlighting the 5 following scenarios:
Keep doing what it is doing and try to "muddle through" which does not quite sound like a viable option.
The 27 "big bang federalist" theory pushed forward by Verhofstadt which was rejected by former French foreign affairs minister Védrine who predicted in his most recent book that would be supported by only 1 percent of the population.
Focus on the single market which could mean having to scrap the Euro. This scenario was described it is conflicting and utopian by ----- given that the Euro project saw the light as an indispensable complement to the single market.
Do less but better and renationalise policies. This is a scenario that is most favoured by the likes of Berlusconi and Rutte and is one of the two more viable options. The critics of this scenario however said that what this means is that the EU is going back on its values of integration and moving towards disintegration.
Europe at different speeds, Multi-speed Europe or two-speed Europe, also called "variable geometry Europe" or "Core Europe". It is the idea that different parts of the European Union should integrate at a different pace depending on their political situation. This differentiated integration approach aims to prevent the "widening and deepening of the European Union" in the face of political opposition. This option is favoured by 15 countries such as Germany, France and Belgium, according to survey conducted by the German Marschall Fund.
Following the presentation of the Commission's White Paper, the EU leaders are expected to adopt the Rome Declaration.
The Declaration is to feature the Union's past achievements, present challenges and pledges to work for unity and to consolidate common action in key policy areas.