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A new European Commission, to what purpose?

Inertia or activism?

After electing the president proposed by the Member States on 16th July last, the European Parliament will approve the appointment of a new 27-Member European Commission on 27th November for a five-year mandate. 

It will certainly not be business as usual..

Many major challenges lie ahead: economic, digital, trade and social growth. Of course, the work that has already been started must continue and the pace must be stepped up. But it will also have a Herculean task to pull off: i.e. fostering the opening of the second phase in community integration. 

Europe must now, as a priority, turn to the outside instead of continuing exclusively and self-centredly to consider its own problems.

‘Outside’ firstly means its citizens; it also means the world at large, the international arena. Learning to communicate with the citizens of Europe; projecting the common institutions into the scientific and technical future and responding to demands for security by supporting the strengthening of a European Defence; successfully reforming the competition rules; moving towards a true European preference, which will create a true feeling of pride in belonging amongst the citizens… All of this is urgent.

Although the internal market has to be completed, likewise the Capital Markets Union and the Banking Union to strengthen the euro, turning towards the world means putting its full weight into the international arena by not depending on others to defend and promote its interests. This is something that Europe still has to learn!

Obviously, this does not just depend on the competences of the common institutions. The greater part of the work has to be done by the Member States themselves. Between German inertia and French activism - we know that this is not easy! It has to be said that Europe’s leaders have not shown much imagination or courage in this regard.

A responsible and initiating Commission must therefore not simply manage the acquis. It must help to imagine the future and make it possible. It can address citizens directly and it must point to the successes achieved through joint action. It has to burst the “Brussels Bubble”, which is far too diplomatic and technical to provide support for true political integration. It must relinquish the single comfort of the treaties and the rule of law to strike out into new areas of innovation. It must take risks and even put itself in danger. It must renew and explore new methods of action. 

Nothing would be worse than not changing anything. Europeans are waiting for it. The relaunch of the European project requires it!