The EU, Eurozone and Britain: The calm before the storm?
After years of economic turmoil, many analysts now believe the continent has finally weathered the worst of the financial storm. Others would argue, however, that the EU is no way near 'normality'. Tensions between creditors and debtors remain high; so does unemployment, in particular among the young; the European social model is still being radically changed as a result of the crisis while eurocepticism continues to grow in many countries and is likely to have a significant impact on the forthcoming EP elections. Not least, the British debate about relationship with the EU is set to take further unexpected turns as the country is slowly heading towards the next general election.
Against this background, Open Europe and Policy Network joined forces to stage an end-of-year debate about the state of the EU and possible future developments for 2014 and beyond. The event featureed the New Pact for Europe project, whose first report on the strategic options for the EU informed and guided the debate.
A large number of discussants argued that Option 2 – ‘consolidating past achievements’ – is the most likely path the EU will follow as the pressures and political appetite to go forward more ambitiously has receded since the immanent threat of a ‘euro implosion’ has withered. The debate did also strongly focus on the perspectives for the UK’s membership in the EU. However, it remains highly unclear how to square the circle between the aspiration of the current UK government to renegotiate the terms of the country’s EU membership and the need to further integrate in the framework of the euro area.
Director of Studies, European Policy Centre
Chief Economist, Maverick Intelligence
Director, Open Europe
Conservative Member of Parliament, and member of the Fresh Start Project
UK Labour’s front bench spokesperson on Europe in the House of Lords
Director, Policy Network
This event is held in partnership with Open Europe