STATE of the UNION
     
venue

January 2010, 9 leading Brussels based think tanks took initiative for an annual forum to deal with the Union´s emerging politico strategic agenda and to define an EU Action Agenda for 2010-2014.

The ratification of the new Treaty behind, the European Union is under pressure to 'return to the serious business of governing´. How can the EU best apply its new institutional apparatus to incipient societal and global challenges including climate policy, migration, the economic crisis and global governance?

The results
of a brainstorming exercise by policymakers and other experts on the Copenhagen agreement, the current financial turbulence, the Stockholm Programme, as well as the EU´s role in changing global environment were presented for the discussion

 

  • Keynotespeaker: José Manuel Barroso

  • Rapporteurs:
    - Senior Fellow and Head of the Energy and Climate Change Unit, CEPS
    - Columnist EUROPEAN VOICE
    - Head of Research and Development, ERSTE GROUP BANK AG
    - Senior Fellow ROYAL UNTIED SERVICES INSTITUTE (RUSI)

  • Chair: European Policy Columnist, REUTERS

The closing plenary was public. On the same day four workshops were organised in order to be able to present a profound study on the plenary:

workshop 1:
Leadership lost: Developing the EU Climate Policy Model after Copenhagen?

workshop 2:
Dealing with Europe`s Economic Challenges in a Post-Crisis and Post-Lisbon World

workshop 3:
Stockholm Plus: Transforming Political Goals into Coherent Policies on Migration, Social Cohesion and Human Rights

workshop 4:
Towards New Global Governance in a New Global Order: How Can the EU Position Itself?

Adopted from the workshops programmes:

The question of EU's leadership role in the post-Copenhagen context of global climate policy was discussed. For a long time, the European Union has been at the forefront of the international negotations. But while it is likely that Europe will reach the objectives laid out in the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions by 8% in relation to 1990 levels, the succes of these objectives for 2020 is more uncertain. To get across its message, Europe must prove to be credible and must pay close attention to the legitimate concerns of other actors, without which it will lose its leadership role that up until now has been uncontested. The United States are moving slowly but surely: beyond anyone's expectations, on June 26th 2009, the US House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 by a narrow majority. It is up to the Senate now to decide the future of this bill. For the first time, China proposed a binding commitment. Even though China's target represents the continuation of current policies, it reflects a mindset change and China's fear of climate change.

The European Union can and must have weight in climate international negotations. In order to do this, it needs to establish credibility by ensuring domestically the means to follow through on its commitments. What will be the EU climate policy model after Copenhagen and under the Lisbon treaty?

Main issues:

    • The major outcomes in the various Copenhagen chapters, do these tally with the EU's priorities, EU's influence

    • Does the EU still lead the way in the issues dealt with in the individual chapters? What more is to be done in terms of the EU's climate policy commitments? Why should it be done?

    • How can the EU improve its climate policy performance within the post-Lisbon institutional architecture? What use could be made of reinforced cooperation?

     

In the coming years, the EU will be confronted with the short-term challenge of post-crisis management and the longer term challenge of structual re-orientation. Explored was how best to adress this double challenge. Europe has been hit by an unprecedented economic crisis which spread quickly from the financial sector to the real economy. Governments around the world responded by rescuing the financial sector and stimulating economies through debt-financed fiscal policies. However, the challenge ahead is at least as daunting. While the impact of the crisis continues to be felt, not least in the labour markets, European governments have to pursue a credible exit strategy from a policy response which is unsustainable over the long term and manage the structural changes ahead, with many sectors undergoing significant restructuring.

At the same time most countres struggle to meet long term challenges such as population ageing, climate change mitigation, and competitive pressures from the US - with its formidable innovation engine - and rapidly emerging economies such as China. The Lisbon Agenda was specifically designed to address these challenges, aiming to deliver jobs and growth for EU citizens. But the actual achievements of the strategy have been disappointing with reference to the objective of becoming the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world.

As the successor to the Lisbon Agenda, now known as EU2020, starts being debated, an whilst countries begin to consider their exit strategy from the economic crisis, it is clearly time to discuss the best way forward. Economic policy in Europe needs to return to normally - in the financial sector and in fiscal, monetary and structural reform policies. But what one considers as normal needs to change, taking on board the lessons of the crisis and the mixed record of the Lisbon strategy (CER scorecard).

networking
Explored were possible synergies between the short-term challenge of exiting from the current mood of economic policy making and addressing the longer term structural issues. Guiding questions:
  • does the EU have the right tools and competences to deal with the economic policy challenges ahead? What is needed in the successor to the Lisbon Agenda, EU2020? More of the same or radical change in direction?

  • What should the European exit strategy look like in order to reduce the real risk that the EU's growth performance will be stagnate over the next years?

  • How to bring public finance in the EU back to a sustainable path within a new context characterised by high debt, high unemployment, and low growth?

The Stockholm Programma and the Lisbon Treaty will simultaneously extend EU Member State's policy goals concerning migration, social cohesion and human rights while creating a new institutional context for policymaking on this issues. These changes are taking place during a time of slow economic recovery. They occur in a political climate that increasingly recognizes the interconnectivity of the EU with its neighbouring countries and values a global approach to addressing migration.

Migration issues are embedded in the Stochholm Programme and are framed in terms of responsibility, solidarity and partnership and under the subheading of a dynamic migration policy. Thus migration policy remains a key objective for the European Union. The Stockholm Programme builds on several key milestones. Recent developments at the EU level such as the European Pact on immigration and Asylum, the development of a Global Approach to Migration and Mobility Partnerships have placed new emphasis on EU cooperation with Third Countries in devising migration policy and programmes, while renewing commitments to complete common systems for addressing both border control and asylum. Yet broader EU migration policies struggle to achieve policy coherence, and responsibility for their development sits awkwardly within the new Home Affairs portfolio (one half of DG Justice, Liberty and Security). Yet while responsibility is centralised, in reality, immigration policy is dealt with in a number of ways, and by a number of different portfolios, some of which are rapidly increasing their competence:

Borders and security (JLS) - the focus on border control, security and reducing illegality typically dominate discussions on immigration. However, this emphasis on controlling illegality and terrorism gives short shrift to the complexity of immigration policy and its positive aspects of other crucial EU priorities. Legal migration (JLS) - this was a core area of work set out during the establishment of a common area of Justice, Liberty and Security, and has been further confirmed by the Lisbon Treaty: the creation of common rules for the entry and residence of third country nationals. However, given the explicit caveat - Member States determine who and how many may enter their territory - the policy area has limited maneuverability even post-Lisbon.

External relations (JLS/RELEX) - this is the aspect of immigration cooperation - for example, as part of European Neighbourhood Policy - is 'ínserted' into negotations, with the little interaction between RELEX and JLS officials. The advent of the Lisbon Treaty and a stronger role for the EU in the area of foreign policy may change this. Development (DEV) - there is an emerging focus upon the links between migration and development. Stemming from the international dialogue on migration and development, DG DEV has created a 'thematic programme' to examine the impact of migration upon development, whether through diaspora groups, remittances or return.

Currently, the substantive interaction between the two policy areas is duperficial (with more migration than development expertise involved), though it has dedicated funding.

Free movement (EMPL) - Within Europe, EU citizens are not considered migrants but 'mobile workers'. Despite this, a great many of the same issues and barriers are faced by both populations, from language to recognition of qualifications, pension portability to housing. Currently there is division of competence that arbitrarily separates resonsibilities and interferes with the ability to deliver integration services in a more searnless, efficient and effective way: EMPL deals with EU citizens and second generation migrants, while JLS deals with newly arrived third country nationals.
Social inclusion (EMPL) - DG Employment and Social Affairs addressed a number of critical issues, from the challenge of changing societies and demographics, to combating poverty, and improving employment rates.

With respect to migrant integration, there are different approaches adopted. While DG JLS discusses integration strategies, and the specific rights and measures which should be directed towards non-EU nationals. DG EMPL has a broader mandate for inclusion in the new Commission, a broader socio-economic analysis which is not limited by nationality but looks at the situation of the individual, and their potential contribution to European society, while equal opportunities within DG EMPL will be under the aegis of the new Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Commissioner.

Speakers
Labour market policy (EMPL) - migration is an integral part of labour market policy and needs to be considered as such, rather than as a separate element which is 'led in' to the system. The revised Lisbon Agenda, due to be agreed in 2010 under the Spanish Presidency, must treat it as such and incorporate it into the Union's overall growth and competitveness agenda.

The workshop looked forward, examined how changes within the EU will shift policymaking responsibilities and adjusted political goals while addressing the critical challenge of policy coherence.
It examined the political objectives laid out in the Stockholm Programme. It explored shifting policymaking responsibilities on migration, social cohesion and human rights at the EU level. Furthermore there was critically reflection upon the future challenges these objectives face in the medium and long term. It explored the critical perspectives of Third Countries regarding the current direction of EU migration, social cohesion and human rights policies. The central goal was to identify the three critical priorities for the EU in the area of migration and integration
.

The intention of this workshop was to outline the priorities and challenges the EU must consider in developing its Action Plan for implementing the Stockholm Programme.

Key questions:

  • How will the Stockholm Programme shift the balance of powers within EU institutions? Will it change the balance of powers between EU institutions and the Member States? And will these changes make it harder, or easier to address migration challenges?

  • What are the three critical priorities for the EU and its Member States concerning migration and integration in the coming years? What longer term objectives can be identified?

  • Are EU institutions and Member States addressing the most important migration, social cohesion and human rights policy issues? How do its neighboring countries view these policies?

Finally the fundamental shifts were discussed, taking place at a global level and see how they impact the EU and its global influence potential, as well as discussing necessary and desirable strategies for the EU to engage today's and tomorrow's major powers in order to remain relevant in the 21st century.

Questions:

  • What is the current structure of global power? What is the coming world order? What are the global powers today, and what will they be tomorrow? Are we heading towards multipolarity or something different? What can we expect for the near to mid-term future? Is the EU a global power?

  • Is the EU adapted to cope with the coming order? Can the EU adapt to a multipolar world where Europe has lost its centrality? What is the relation between the EU and global players/emerging powers? Can the EU afford not to have a strategy towards them? Who are EU's real strategic partners?

  • What is the European vision of multilateralism? How to make rules-based multilateralism the norm of the game, not the exception? What reform of multilateral organizations doe the EU wants/is willing to accept? What avenues for cooperation on this topic with emerging powers?