The Conference on the Future of Europe has clearly shown that the European Union urgently needs a fundamental reform in order to be able to confront contemporary challenges. Despite this necessity, most member states, including Germany, shy away from treaty change, preferring incremental reform, ad-hoc solutions, and individual initiatives instead. Yet, this strategy of “muddling-through”, which has defined the past 20 years of EU crisis management, has proven to be highly inefficient and should therefore come to an end.
The author Julian Plottka argues that strong advocacy from a group of member states is needed to kick off the much-needed fundamental reform process. The German government should not repeat past mistakes of doing it alone without consulting its European partners and demanding their solidarity afterwards. Instead, Germany should identify a group of like-minded states and jointly propose a comprehensive cross-sectoral reform package. This should connect reform strands that are currently being negotiated independently of each other in order to discuss them in a bundled form at a European Convention. Importantly, this reform package should be centred around a reform of the European Monetary Union to enable a common and coordinated response of the EU to the looming economic crisis caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine.