At this year's IEP virtual Annual Conference, experts discussed the Conference on the Future of Europe, differentiated integration, the future of the EU in a post-pandemic world and its economic reconstruction. Four key messages emerged from the exchange.
For the Conference on the Future of Europe to succeed, national governments must proactively engage citizens and civil organisations and communicate their own positions to provide a basis for discussion. A change of the EU treaties is not ruled out, but contents must first be discussed in order to think about possible reform implementations.
In the panel "Differentiated Integration as a Policy Choice", which was also kindly supported by the Horizon 2020 project EU IDEA, participants discussed whether differentiated integration (DI) is always a conscious political choice. In order to strengthen citizens' support for DI, policy actors need to increase knowledge about DI as an option to promote European integration.
In health policy, EU approaches have been only partially aligned with global strategies (EU4Health vs. WHO One Health Approach). The EU should be given more competences and accordingly a revision of the EU treaties should also be considered. With regard to the climate crisis, the EU's energy transition must be carried out at regional level, country by country and even sector by sector, and simultaneously through global thinking.
For the EU's economic recovery, the adoption of the "NextGenerationEU (NGEU)" package and the success of the vaccination campaigns were absolutely crucial. For sustainable economic growth, EU countries need to increase investment in green and digital sectors.
The IEP traditionally organises the IEP Annual Conference every year in cooperation with its Academic Advisory Board and with the kind support of the German Foreign Office and the European Commission's Europe for Citizens Programme.