Commission official shares insights with Corporate Members on the White Paper
In his 2016 State of the Union speech, President Juncker announced that the European Commission would prepare a White Paper on the Future of Europe, which would serve as the Commission's contribution to the Rome Summit of 25 March 2017, marking the 60th anniversary of the EU. This document, published on March 1st, sets out the main challenges and opportunities for Europe in the coming decade and presents five scenarios for how the Union of 27 member states could evolve by 2025. A couple of weeks later, CEPS invited Ann Mettler, Director-General, European Commission and Head of European Political Strategy Centre, to come to CEPS and meet with its Corporate Members to informally discuss the implications of the White Paper. She provided valuable insights into the process of preparing the paper and presented the current key questions, concerns and hopes it raises about the European project. Mettler emphasised how the paper attempts to communicate a positive message about the achievements of the European Union over the past 60 years, which are often underestimated and taken for granted. She also highlighted that the paper’s accessible language is meant to prompt reflection and discussions among citizens across the member states, to prepare the future political debate at the EU level. Likewise, the ‘scenario approach’, unusual for Commission documents, is meant to warn about the consequences of a lack of common vision about the future of the EU and decisions dictated by temporary problems and ad-hoc solutions. An inescapable conclusion of both the paper and of the discussion at the meeting at CEPS was the imperative of defining a new direction for the EU project and agreeing on an effective way to move forward.