In a reformed EU budget spending programmes should be forward-looking and reflect common goals and priorities. The regulatory tasks of the European Union do not require large resources, although larger spending seem in order to fund projects of common interest in the fields of research, material and immaterial infrastructures, internal and external security, and also, to some extent, to foster increased economic productivity and investment in human capital.
The evolution of the CAP can provide a substantial part of the resources required to meet new demands. The increase in world food prices is creating favourable conditions for reducing CAP payments without inflicting undue pain on current beneficiaries. The reduction of CAP spending, as well as the phasing out of structural payments to poor regions of rich countries already under way, will help reduce existing imbalances in net payments to the EU budget, thus making UK rebate and other adjustments to net balances from the EU budget unnecessary.

Diversity and the European future

Posted by Kushtrim Mehmetaj on 19/05/08

European Union is build and continues to progress based on shared values and interests of all member states toward a common vision. No doubt it is a success story of its own. It is very important that countries with different cultures and interests stick together and discuss their common future. Member countries use the diversity to get to know each other much better by communicating and sharing values, habits and other important issues. Therefore, diversity is to be seen as an important `window of opportunity`. For many years, EU is facing some difficulties. If EU continues failing to speak to the world with one voice, inevitably it will slowly loose its world credibility and reputation. It is difficult to surpass national interests of a member country for an issue discussed at EU level or wider, but it is far more important to help and support EU progress internally as it strengthens the Europeans common future especially when it has to do with promoting the values such are human rights, rule of law, etc. EU must not have different opinions as it happened when Balkan was at war. It is a must for the future of EU to enforce unanimity for everyone’s own good, instead of division. For example, the case of Republic of Kosova was and continues to be a difficult test for EU which I hope will end up successfully.

Les Nations sont mortes ! Vive l’Europe !

Posted by Phil Lipp on 19/05/08

My suggestion is to reflect on a European Union BEYOND Nation i.e. without the limitation of Nationality. A Europe of Regions, Provinces or whatever BUT without Spain, Italy, Poland, France, Germany etc. These dinosaures are a threat for the prosperity and peace of Europe.
A Europe without Nations belongs actually to the original utopia but was long forgotten.
There is a need to prospect & develop modern ideas in that field for at least 2 reasons:

1. We should think about the best political organisation for the future of europeans. We are talking here about Europe’s perspectives for 2030.

2. Nobody can be sure that the concept of Nations will not collapse one day (e.g. Belgium). So what will we do then?

Independent European Trade Authority

Posted by Niall Hughes on 19/05/08

There is vast empirical evidence in Europe and around the world which shows that Independent Central Banks are far better able to achieve their aims than Central Banks which suffer from political influence. The ECB is a sterling example as its policies are not affected by political actors.

Economic theory also shows that political considerations and lobby groups are what lead primarily to sub-optimal trade policies.

I would suggest a completely independent Trade Authority for Europe which would be able to judge whether a deal was good or bad for EU welfare as a whole rather than being influenced unduly by regional considerations.

Communication on the European project

Posted by Robert VERSCHOOTEN on 19/05/08

People know little about the European project. Only an ambitious and comprehensive approach can remedy this shortcoming. People should – even superficially – be aware of the whereabouts of the European project and the numerous benefits it generates. When European decisions are to be taken options should feed the public debate. European political parties shall play their role. Adequate information should reach a general public which is mostly not concerned. Here cooperation between leading European TV-channels can be of help. It should mainly show the achievements of de European Union. Also national governments shall inform their general public adequately.

Education in Europe shall embrace a new ambitious project. Youngsters shall gradually be acquainted with the specific features of Europe. Not just the basic assumptions of Europe, but also objective history teaching, away from nationalistic rhetoric and civic eductation that focusses on knowlegde of public values and norms. In short this type of education shall prepare the pupils for a life in a society featuring diversity, viz. multiculturalism, multilinguism, multiraciality, transnationality and democracy at that level. Knowledge about the new society shall become part of the basic skills of pupils in primary and secundary schools. Teachers involved will need extra training. This global endeavour must be supported and implemented by local authorities as well as by the European institutions. The European political project should embrace this new major objective and challenge. The European Union can’t do without public support for the new societal project. This educational project goes by a gradual multiple-track-approach. The various tracks reinforcing each other when carried out in a comprehensive context.

Antwerp, May 16, 2008

Robert Verschooten
Europees Studie- en Informatiecentrum (ESIC) vzw, Antwerpen
(European Study and Information Centre, Antwerp, Belgium)
e-mail :  esic at skynet.be

European ID and European stamp

Posted by Yannick PICHARD on 19/05/08

comme projets européens, je pense que l’on pourrait proposer un timbre européen et une carte d’identité européenne!

Make European citizenship work better

There should be a citizens’ right to be informed in the first place as the key to accessing other European rights. A major task for the new European Parliament and European Commission should be to reduce the gap between the theory and practice of European citizenship and examine ways in which non-judicial and judicial remedies should be strengthened.

European citizenship should become more inclusive

Citizenship to the union should be extended to the long term legally resident third country nationals who should be offered the opportunity to obtain the nationality of the Member State in which they are resident.

Give coherence to the electoral rights attached free movement of European citizens

The right to vote and stand in all elections and in referenda in another EU member state should be secured for EU citizens.

European citizenship and representative democracy

The June 2009 European elections should be the main target for all EU programmes related to communication, participation and civic education.