The destiny of Europe: intellectual discussions after the Rome Summit

On Social Europe, Lubomír Zaorálek, the Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, explains that after much talking about “more or less EU”, the debate needs to revolve around the question of what kind of society Europe wants to become. Zaorálek argues that the priority should be given to the establishment of a social pillar counterbalancing the effects of the Single Market, to the creation of equal opportunities from the digital revolution and, last but not least, to the protection of citizens from internal and external security threats. Moreover, in the wake of the Summit of Rome, Zaorálek calls for substance to take the precedence over the logics of institutional processes.

On EUobserver, Eszter Zalan, calls the meeting of Sunday, “little more than a show of unity”. The author recalls all the signs of perishing of the Union that have unfolded since the Bratislava summit of last Autumn, when the then Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, refused to hold a common press conference with Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande. Zalan argues that, notwithstanding the positive results of the Dutch elections, and the forthcoming discussions on the Commission’s White Paper on the future of Europe, the French vote will represent the most important turning point of the year.

Handelsblatt released an interview with Italy’s former Prime Minister Mario Monti, who claims that the European Commission needs to do more to hold together the European Union. In particular, Monti claims that the EC needs to tackle the growing divisions between northern and southern Europe, and focus on the cultural differences between the two parts of the Continent.

Writing for the Italian think tank ISPI, Sergio Romano, argues that after the Rome summit, the prospects for the European Union look quite good. In particular, Romano lists several factors for optimism on the European integration project. In the first place, the enemies of the EU are manifest; second, the UK leaving the Union implies less resistance to integration efforts in the future; third, the isolation of the United States triggers the need for a more autonomous EU in the area of security and defence; fourth, populist movements are not proving to be a concrete alternative to mainstream parties. The conclusion that Romano draws from all this, is that the prospects of a more federal Europe have never been more favourable than today.

Despite Brexit, an editorial of IndyVoices, published by the Independent, argues that the Rome summit has reminded everyone that the forces of unity in Europe are stronger than those of divergence. Addressing the people who took part inthe pro-European march in London on Saturday, the authors call for British Europeans to prepare for the political fights that are due to come in the UK over the next years. The editorial piece ends on a positive note, hoping to see a British Prime Minister joining the other Heads of state and government of the Union on the occasion of the centenary of the Treaties of Rome, in 2057.

An analysis conducted by Uuriintuya Batsaikhan and Zsolt Darvas, and published by Bruegel, shows that trust in the EU is rising again in southern Europe after years marked by a crisis of confidence towards supranational institutions. However, satisfaction with the EU is gradually falling in France. Another interesting result highlighted by the authors is that the euro is becoming more popular in Germany. More generally, stark differences in EU-related sentiments appear between new and old EU member states.

This Ideas Monitor is by Carlo Burelli and Alexander Damiano Ricci

Photo Credits CC Andreas

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