A multi-speed Europe holds the key to EU enlargement
A Franco-German report proposes four overlapping circles from an inner core to the new European Political Community
A Franco-German group of 12 experts tasked with studying how to reform the EU ahead of any enlargement.
While its report represents neither French nor German policy, it has enough official imprimatur to inform talks between EU leaders. It also strikes the balance between the bold and the achievable well enough to unlock serious discussion.
The “Group of Twelve” squarely faces up to an inescapable dilemma and an inconvenient truth. The dilemma is that despite broad agreement that enlargement requires reform of the EU, there is little agreement on what the reforms should be.
Many of these are not new ideas, but the context makes them newly relevant. The proposal for “coalitions of the willing” to govern new common spending by QMV is particularly promising
Martin Sandbu FT 24 september 2023
The cliché that European countries only unite in the face of imminent catastrophe is captured in Jean Monnet’s oft-quoted claim that “Europe will be made in crises, and it will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises”.
But that cliché belies the EU’s proven ability to pursue deeper integration as a deliberate, long-term political goal. Take the creation of the single market in the 1980s, the adoption of the euro in the 1990s, and the absorption of the ex-communist bloc in the 2000s. All of these tied Europe more closely together — not as desperate responses to acute crises, but as products of ambitious political choices to pool more national sovereignty.
By the end of this year, EU leaders must decide whether to open formal membership negotiations with Ukraine. It is inconceivable that they will decline to do so.
It is also now accepted that if Ukraine moves ahead, so must other would-be members, including countries in the western Balkans.
Martin Sandbu FT 4 september 2023
Martin Sandbu is the Financial Times's European economics commentator.
Efter Thessalonikikonferensen 2003 lovade EUs regeringschefer medlemskap i EU till de sex övriga länderna i västra Balkan
(Albanien, Bosnien och Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Norra Makedonien och Serbien).
Prodi: It is politically impossible to propose that now. But some day there will be a crisis and new instruments will be created."