Public stakeholders event in Lisbon
The Stakeholders Meeting in Portugal took place in March 13th, at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It was attended not only by general public but also be more than 30 invited stakeholders, including members of the Portuguese and the European Parliament, scholars in a variety of academic fields, journalists, representatives of unions and employers organisations, ambassadors, and former EU officials.
The discussion was preceded by a presentation of the challenges and strategic options, as well as by three presentations by Viriato Soromenho-Marques (a political theorist), João Ferreira do Amaral (economist), and Vitor Martins (economist and former government and EU official).
The major consensus that emerged from the discussion was the rejection of options 2 and 5. The former was rejected on the basis that is preserved an undesirable status quo in the European integration process. The latter was criticised for failing to address the immediate short-term problems. In the case of option 1, the title “Going back to basics” was criticised for assuming that the EU has ever sufficiently addressed the “basics”. Concerning option 4, even its proponents were critical of several concrete institutional options, including the elections of a partisan European executive and the creation of an “European army”. Proponents of option 3 saw it as the most pragmatic pathway in the short-run, but insufficient in the medium- and long-term.
There was a consensus that, in the long-run, a common European currency was impossible in the absence of a political union. Another common concern was the current imbalance of power between European nations, with the ascendance of Germany as the European hegemon being seen as unsustainable in both political and economic terms.
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