Monday 14 June 2010

European Council and Project Europe 2030: Challenges and opportunities

On Thursday, 17 June 2010 the European Council says something positive about Project Europe 2030 – Challenges and Opportunities: A report to the European Council by the Reflection Group on the Future of the EU 2030.

It can hardly do anything less. The Reflection Group was the European Council’s own invention. It nominated the chairman Felipe González and the eleven other distinguished “wise persons”: Vaira Vike-Freiberga (Vice-Chair), Jorma Ollila (Vice-Chair), Lykke Friis, Rem Koolhaas, Richard Lambert, Mario Monti, Rainer Münz, Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Nicole Notat, Wolfgang Schuster and Lech Walesa.

The European Council was also responsible for pointing the Reflection Group towards economic success for Europe, and it expressly forbade the group to discuss “institutional” matters.

The Reflection Group has done what it was asked to do, so a few appreciative words are the least the heads of state or government can offer in return.

The real issue is, however, if any of the Reflection Group’s proposals will lead to concrete action. Ultimately, is anything going to change in real life Europe?

Ralf Grahn


  1. Dear Mr Grahn,
    We certainly hope that you are right and that our recommendations will be closely considered by the Council. We also hope that the conversation will continue in the broader European public. I am personally committed to help doing so through websites like Euractiv and Opendemocracy. Kalypso Nicolaidis, Reflection group member

  2. Kalypso Nikolaidis,

    Thank you for your comment. In addition to what I wrote, the Reflection Group chairman González will be heard by the European Council, but it still does little to ensure that this exercise will be different from the scores of previous high-level reform reports gathering dust in the archives.

    In my view, the Project Europe 2030 is too valuable to waste, even if the artificial limitations imposed on it were deplorable.

    Even with the Lisbon stage of 'constitutional' reform supposedly in the bag, the basic structure of the EU is very much an unfinished work; something the financial, economic and eurozone crises have illustrated, to say nothing about the lack of democratically responsible and accountable government.


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