CEEP Opinion on the European Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe – PDF

Executive summary

  • Our commitment to contribute to the discussions on the Future of Europe comes with the recommendation to render the reflection as inclusive as possible. Europe is not only “Brussels”, and we now need to give back ownership of the EU project to citizens. EU institutions should be in position to rely on national, regional and local parliaments and authorities to genuinely involve citizens in the reflection on the Future of Europe.
  • CEEP believes that the Future of the EU should rely on a combination of 3 of the scenarios brought up by the European Commission: “Carrying on”, “Doing less more efficiently” and “Doing much more together”.
  • “Carrying on”: as raising populism and Euroscepticism is more about how national leaders and authorities are using the “EU blanket” to cover their failures than about the EU as such, “carrying on” can only work against a changed political mindset, especially at Members States level. It could however prove useful for certain specific policy initiatives, such as the Circular Economy Strategy and the EU Strategy for Low-emission Mobility which are priorities for all Member States.
  • “Doing less more efficiently”, in line with the principle “To be big on big things, and small on small things”: Our members regularly reported suffering from over-regulation. They welcome this approach, dealing with key strategic fields for their daily operation, such as the Energy Union or the Digital Single Market. This scenario can work properly in several fields, especially in sectoral policies (such as climate and energy legislations) and the state aid rules, leaving more flexibility to Member States, regional and local authorities.
  • “Doing much more together”: this option must be applied to answer key challenges calling for cross border cooperation, such as the integration of refugees, fiscal policies, a limited set of social policies, cohesion policy and the EU budget. However, we call on the EU institutions to respect the principle of subsidiarity, and not take action (except in the areas that fall within its exclusive competence) if national, regional or local level is better placed.
  • SGIs have a key role to play in the endeavour to improve the performance of public administrations and enterprises, so as to equip them to better cope with the consequences of the economic and financial crises and the challenges of the changing socio-economic models. To ensure proper SGIs and to safeguard EU competitiveness in the future, we call to:
    1. Bring the Acquis Communautaire for Services of General Interest to life: Acquis+;
    2. Put SGIs at the heart of sustainable growth;
    3. Foster social and territorial cohesion;
    4. Support SGIs providers in innovation;
    5. Unleash investments.
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