EU White Paper – Scenario One: Carrying On

Following on from earlier introductory article, the first scenario laid out in the white paper, is one in which the EU27 continues down the path the Union is currently on. Under this plan, the EU would maintain its focus on delivering its positive reform agenda. This is supported by President Junker’s ‘New Start for Europe’ and the ‘Bratislava Declaration and Roadmap’, published in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The former, represents the continued focus by the EU on jobs and growth, while the latter calls for greater cooperation on migration and terror. This scenario would also see the EU regularly update its priorities and tackle new challenges as they arise, much like how the Union currently operates.

By the year 2025, this means that the EU will have continued to invest in the growing digital technology sector and stepping up investment in energy and transport, all the while keeping its commitments on jobs, financial stability and strengthening the single market. This however, will not lead to any radical change in the EU, instead it will provide incremental improvements to the system, with efforts being increased only when consensus is reached. In this scenario, the EU would remain somewhat fractured on foreign policy issues, external borders would continue to be under national control, while being reinforced by cooperation. Crucially, the EU would not speak with one voice on issues but progress toward such a goal would likely be made with greater collaboration regarding counter terror measures.

By carrying on in the same fashion, the EU27 would also continue to lead the fight against climate change, continue striving to provide stability in the financial markets and champion sustainable development across the globe. By pursuing its positive reform agenda, results will be delivered, based upon a shared purpose within the Union. Pursuing this agenda will also help maintain and expand citizen’s rights across member states. However, despite these positive aspects, the EU would remain vulnerable to sudden and unforeseen events and crises due to a lack of coherent policy, as was exemplified during the recent migration crisis.

For each of the five scenarios presented in the white paper, the effects on six key policy areas are also examined. These policies strike at the core of the EU programme and illustrate how each scenario will produce a changed EU by 2025.

Firstly, the Single Market and Trade; under this scenario the single market would be strengthened and extended into the energy and digital sectors. In addition, the EU would continue to negotiate progressive trade deals with other major economic trading partners.

Secondly, Economic and Monetary Union; carrying on will likely produce only incremental progress over the years, with some members resisting complete harmonisation. Thirdly, The Schengen Region; the EU would in all probability, experience an increase in cooperation on security issues, as well as improved coordination on migration policy, with steps towards a common asylum policy.

Similarly, the fourth area of Foreign Policy will see only modest progress toward a single position, but will also enjoy closer collaborations on defence matters. Fifth, the EU Budget; much as today, the budget will be modified as needed. Finally, the Delivery of Promises; due to the lack of a single voice for Europe, the decision-making process will remain complex. This will inevitably lead to a gap between what is expected from the EU and what is delivered.

To provide a sense of how this will affect the public, the white paper also offers snapshots of what each scenario’s practical implications would be. In scenario one, increased investment in digital technology, leads to highspeed broadband across all member states. Border checks in Schengen, remain rare, while states are incentivised to produce and clean and renewable energy. However, trade deals with other nations stays a drawn-out process.

Thus, scenario one produces an EU27 making incremental progress in many areas, but lacking the ability to act quickly and decisively in response to major challenges as the lack of coherence between nations and no EU authority to speak with one voice, slows the process considerably.

Senator Neale Richmond is the Fine Gael spokesman on EU Affairs in Seanad Éireann

  • Marcus Orr

    The EU is simply too big as a conglomeration of 27 different nations to ever be able to deliver what its peoples want. It will always move either too quickly for some people or not fast enough for others and will never satisfy the wishes of most because different nation states in Europe have different needs. The largest possible unit for a group of people to flourish and to practice solidarity and selflessness in is the nation state.

    The EU is dead at the latest since the move from the old looser grouping of 12 states to its current 27. It is too obviously just a German “zone of influence” now, even the French have cottoned on to this fact.

    The majority of people in the UK have understood the problem with the EU and its obsoleteness. How long for the Republic to understand things ?

  • Roger

    Yes, obsolete….for sure; obviously….the way ahead is clearly electronic camera customs posts and hoisting flags. I think that’s called sovereignty. The British Kingdom is showing the way and Ireland should follow.

  • Marcus Orr

    My comment had nothing to do with the north south issue & the border on the island of Ireland, as anyone who took the time to read my comment would have noticed.

  • Trasna

    The UK voted for Brexit, the EU or its future direction is not your concern, neither is Ireland’s future direction.

    In ten years time, the EU will have radically reformed and will sit easily amongst its members states. I don’t envision 27 states though.

  • Roger

    Pretty obviously, electronic camera custom posts could be brought in at frontiers across Europe. Flags could be hoisted at each frontier too. Yours was a sermon applicable to all. Let’s not be parochial.

  • Skibo

    Marcus I read the same ramblings about France having cottened on to German influence in the EU yet Marie Le Pen was soundly beaten by a pro European. Where is the evidence of this EU sceptic view?

  • murdockp

    Yet despite the strategy they allowed the Italians to bail out a bank last month when were we told no bank wold ever be bailed out again.Seems to me the rules are there are no rules

  • murdockp

    The apathetic non voter

  • notimetoshine

    Considering the focus on financial stability that was mentioned above, surely they are sticking to the rules? A bank bailout may stick in the craw, but the last thing the Italian economy (or the European economy for that matter) needs is a bank failure. I am glad the Italians made the effort. It was a pragmatic decision and just another part of the clean up that was required after years of poor regulation of the financial markets in Western economies.

  • notimetoshine

    Europe faces a choice and it is a stark one. Stay divided and weak, until ultimately the Union falls apart (likely in a piecemeal fashion) or unify and transcend the illogical strictures of petty nationalism. It is time for a federal Europe with unity of purpose and vision. The half hearted efforts described in this post are a sure fire way to irrelevance. As the author says “the EU would remain vulnerable to sudden and unforeseen events and crises due to a lack of coherent policy”. Political union, the creation of a federal Europe is the only answer.

    Imagine a European super state. Economically able to rival China or the US. Diplomatically a titan. Even militarily a giant, with a huge defence budget and plenty of room for expansion. A place where the vulgar nationalist prejudices of the past are relegated to the football pitch, where freedom, the rule of law and human rights are paramount and whose often evil history provides an impetus for peace and growth.

    Geopolitics is back in vogue again, and for the first time in 500 years Europe is arguably irrelevant. A smattering of fractured, wealthy but increasingly unimportant nations nestled on the backside of Eurasia. If the European nations wish to survive in what is now once again a multipolar world, they themselves must become one of the poles. And it is possible. European political and cultural ideas of their value and importance in the world are hangovers from the early 20th century and to a lesser extent the cold war. The European nations are not that important now and their relevance is ever shrinking. Why bother with France or Germany, when China and the US are available?

  • Marcus Orr

    Mine was a sermon which had nothing to do with the topic of electronic customs posts, so why on earth are you bringing this up ?

    Relevance to what I said: zero.

  • Marcus Orr

    She was beaten yes, and thank God for that. But only 44 percent turned out in the 2nd round to vote and well over 60 percent who voted for Macron indicated that they only did so to avoid the extreme right wing Le Pen. E.g Mélenchon, who got 20 percent in the 1st round and was also anti EU, but from a strong left wing perspective, didn’t ask his supporters to vote for anyone. They could never vote Le Pen, even though they agree on the EU question.

  • Roger

    You said the EU was obsolete. The EU has a great deal to do with electronic camera customs posts and, more particularly, the absence thereof throughout its internal borders. You can’t properly label the EU redundant but ignore its alternatives, in this example electronic camera customs posts.

    This is just one example. The logic is similar re flag waving and tonnes of other knotty points where …wait for it, the EU shows it most certainly isn’t obsolete.

    Surely you agree calling the EU ‘obsolete’ is pretty ridiculous?

  • Marcus Orr

    I’m speechless actually. I assumed wrongly that I was discussing with someone who has the ability to make a valid counter point and make reasoned argument against what I brought up.

  • Roger

    You brought up EU being obsolete but don’t, it seems, wish to back that claim up. Needless to say I don’t agree and have picked just one or two examples of why it’s hardly obsolete.

    Speechless no less!

  • Georgie Best

    The EU needs to revisit the useful concept of subsidiarity. There are things that need to be centralised, but if some matters were reviewed and decentralised at the same time it would be better.

  • mickfealty

    Who’s that aimed at?

  • The worm!

    While we’re at it bring back the USSR as well, I mean, what has Uzbekistan done on it’s own!