Greens put forward a sixth vision for the future of Europe
The Greens/European Free Alliance has released it’s ‘6th Scenario’ for the future of Europe, based on sustainability, transparency and human rights.
Released earlier this year, the European Commission’s white paper on the Future of Europe detailed 5 scenarios for the Future Europe by 2025. The environmentalist and progressive nationalist grouping of the European parliament has now added a 6th.
The 6th scenario proposes that the EU become a Space of Freedom, Security, Democracy and Human Rights, in keeping with values and priorities the grouping has emphasised in the European Parliament.
Taking the opportunity to release the scenario in the wake of the good feeling the election of Europhile Emmanuel Macron to the French presidency has invoked in the EU, this is a positive and optimistic vision of what the EU can become in its near future.
Proposals include a reinvigorated EU foreign policy focused on conflict resolution and human rights. The timing of this call could not be more appropriate as concerns are renewed over democracy and security in the Balkans, a region which sits on the EU’s door step.
Other striking proposals include common, EU wide environmental taxes to bolster the EU budget, and for the Eurogroup to be led by a European Commissioner rather than the current murky proceedings by which the Presidency has been given to the Dutch finance minister.
Heavier regulation on lobbying, the transparency of which is a big problem in Brussels, a ban on pesticides and a European volunteering service for the under 25s also feature.
In comparison to the 5 scenarios proposed by the Commission (prosaically called ‘Carrying On’, ‘Nothing but the single market’, ‘Those who want more do more’, ‘Doing less more efficiently’ and ‘Doing much more together’) , the 6th proposal is focused on changing values rather than only EU structures.
A case in point is the comparison with Commission scenario 5 ‘Doing much more together’. This would involve more EU internally, including giving the EU tax raising powers and completing the Eurozone following the model of the Five President’s Report, and externally by beefing up its foreign policy role.
As keen integrationists, the Greens/EFA also propose that the EU do much more, but also to change how it does it and what values this embodies. Under the 6th scenario, not only would the EU raise taxes, but these would be environmental taxes. Not only would the EU increase its role in foreign policy, but would focus on peace and sustainable security.
Scenario 6 is certainly worth a read, and not only for the more eye-catching proposals like giving Edward Snowden asylum, but also to see how Europe and the EU can refocus on different values. The reaction to the Commission’s 5 scenarios all about how much EU there is going to be, and whether some will have more Europe than others in a ‘multi-speed’ Europe. Scenario 6 is a reminder that what the EU should be trying to achieve, however much of it there is, is also worth considering.