GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The EU was set up with a convincing view about its own future, one it was meant to embody: the image of a peacefully unified, successful and efficient Europe. This statement of purpose is a continuous element of European integration, with more or less ambition and realism behind it (in the areas of energy, setup of trans-European networks and competitiveness, and others).
The EU has concrete plans for the upcoming decade, ending in 2020. Prospective plans and responsibilities have been formulated in the Europe 2030 document, as well as plans for the trans-European transportation network, which go up to 2050. At the same time there are themes and areas without extensive planning or prognoses. One of the most important of these is enlargement. Theoretical modeling would aid this area in preparation for eventual challenges and assist in the choice of political decisions.
The European Commission’s Enlargement Strategy report lists the European states eligible for future membership. They are:
- Iceland, from the remaining EFTA-members
- all of the states of the Western Balkans and
The admission to EU of the nine states above is dependent on a whole host of conditions. The date of their accession is therefore hard to determine, however – based on the document mentioned above- one day they may become full members of the Union. They would take the number of states in the EU to thirty-six. For the remainder of European states that find themselves outside the Union (Switzerland, Norway and the six countries of the Eastern Partnership), the conditions which may realize their membership cannot be foreseen. The EU, with their addition, would have 44 member states. This would signal the maximum reach of the European integration effort, although it has low chances of materialization. The EU 36 has a chance of realization. Therefore, it must be included in the long term strategic planning of the Union.
A lack of certainty reigns as regards to the future prospects of European enlargement. This causes strain both among candidates, and the member states. The usual answer given to emerging questions (be they pro or contra further enlargement), is the fulfillment of the membership conditions. However, the conditions are much more complex than a set of programmatic materials building on the adoption of norms and the acquis. The possibility of implementation of the European institutional and legal framework, the issues born out of the uneven economic development of the member states, their sovereignty and authority respective to their size, the real integrative capability of the Union may all be emerging issues in the integration process.
In conclusion, the development of an “EU 36” theoretical model, running in parallel to the already existing EU 2020 and 2030 plans, would be necessary. This model would map the actual conditions and issues related to the integration of the states mentioned in the European Commission’s report, their effects, both on the Union as such, and on the states themselves. This exercise shall also bring to the fore some of the problems that do no regularly come up during a typical “fulfillment of conditions” style of investigation. It is possible that the candidate countries might also discover points of view and situations which might influence their EU bids.
The research and the EU 36 theoretic model shall be built up considering the following main thematic areas:
1. Extending the Single Market from 27 to 36 (trade and investment opportunities; labor market in an enlarged economic area) *held on 20 April 2012
2. Extending the Trans-European networks (transport; energy; telecommunication; environment) *scheduled for 27 June 2012
3. Budget and Common Policies (contributors and beneficiaries; revising objectives and criteria of eligibility) *scheduled for September 2012
4. Institutions, deocracy and identity with 36 Member States (decision making mechanisms; representation of states, regions and citizens; extending European norms and identity) *tbc
5. Political consequences of further enlargements (political interaction between and among 36 member states and European institutions; new neighbors, the future of CFSP) *tbc
The conceptualization and theoretization of the project shall be designed and coordinated by a Program Committee. The five workshops shall be organized according to the various thematic backgrounds and held in different venues. The participants shall be proposed by the Program Committee. Various members of the European Commission, EP members, politicians and experts of the candidate countries and independent researchers shall take part in the workshops. A few general studies shall constitute the basis for the debates.
Core members of the Program Committee:
- Faculty of Economics, Finance and Administration (FEFA), Belgrade
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), London
- Central European University/Centre for EU Enlargement Studies, Budapest
- Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin
- Sabanci University, Istanbul
The ultimate goal of the workshops and the debate shall not be to arrive at definite policy recommendations, but to reveal problems and formulate cogent questions and point toward multiple possible strategies of solving these issues. The workshops will therefore be problem-oriented, the ultimate choice and decision being the domain of political actors. The detailed summaries of the debates, the problems encountered and questions raised, alongside the recommended solutions shall be disseminated to all those interested (European Commission, European Parliament, Member States and candidates).