On the Future of the European UnionEuCETExcerpt: On 9 January 2020, a number of leading personalities in the European Parliament, including Guy Verhofstadt, Manfred Weber, Iratxe García Pérez, Ska Keller, and Helmut Scholz, in representation of the liberal, Christian democratic, socialist, green, and left-wing groups, submitted a motion for a resolution to the European Parliament recommending a conference on the future of Europe.
On the Future of the European Union
On 9 January 2020, a number of leading personalities in the European Parliament, including Guy Verhofstadt, Manfred Weber, Iratxe García Pérez, Ska Keller, and Helmut Scholz, in representation of the liberal, Christian democratic, socialist, green, and left-wing groups, submitted a motion for a resolution to the European Parliament recommending a conference on the future of Europe.
The reason behind the proposal is the fact that the internal and external challenges currently faced by Europe which could not be foreseen as at the adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon and the significant crises suffered by the European Union indicate that reforms are necessary in a number of areas in governance.
According to the recommendation, the conference should provide an open forum for its participants without defining the outcome or scope of the discussion in advance. The proposal lists the following as possible examples for the main topics of debate:
- European values, fundamental rights and freedoms,
- democratic and institutional aspects of the EU,
- environmental challenges and the climate crisis,
- social justice and equality,
- economic and employment issues, including taxation,
- digital transformation,
- security and the role of the EU in the world;
The conference had originally been planned to start on Europe Day, 9 May 2020 (the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration); however, partly because of the COVID-19 epidemic that broke out and partly because of the dispute regarding control over the conference, it was cancelled and has currently been pushed back to 9 May 2021. On 10 March 2021, the leaders of the European Union, namely David Sassoli on behalf of the European Parliament, António Costa on behalf of the Council, and Ursula von der Leyen on behalf of the European Commission, signed a joint declaration, reaffirming their intent to launch the conference on the above date.
According to the statement, the leaders would like citizens to join the dialogue and express their opinions regarding the future of Europe. They undertake to listen to Europeans and take measures to implement the recommendations of the conference in full compliance with their respective competence and the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality set out in the EU Treaties.
The conference will include events at the national, regional, and local levels, providing civil society organisations, scientific institutions, national parliaments, the Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee, and social partners (trade unions and employer organisations) with an opportunity to elaborate on their views regarding the future of Europe.
The European Parliament, the Council, and the European Commission will be equally represented in the body directing the consultations: each institution will delegate three representatives and no more than four observers.
The final results of the conference will be summarised in a report, which will be examined by the three institutions participating in direction as to how the contents of the report can be enforced in their respective fields of competence.
It is important to note that the issue of the future of Europe came up three years ago as well, in an entirely different context. In 2017, the Commission published a white paper on the future of Europe, signed by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, which set out five scenarios:
- Carrying on (current tendencies continue, which is equal to a slow process of centralisation)
- Nothing but the single market (continued centralisation stops, opinions differ in areas such as migration, security, and defence, which results in negative consequences, for example the free movement of people and services will be hindered)
- Those who want more do more (certain countries will cooperate more closely than others; those who expand their cooperation will be better off)
- Doing less more efficiently (integration continues, albeit in a smaller area, where the Union will become more efficient)
- Doing much more together (this would basically create the structure of a federal state without the common (15-20%) budget of federal states; basically everything would be taken care of in Brussels, from migration to foreign and defence policy; this is considered to have very positive outcomes)
The above scenarios show that four years ago the discussion of the future of Europe was envisaged on a much broader scale than the framework outlined above, though the present declaration also notes that any issues may be raised in the course of the consultation.
Naturally, before we can say anything about the future of cooperation, the results and the disadvantages of the cooperation achieved thus far have to be examined; also naturally, opinions regarding these issues differ depending on political affiliation. In the following, we will be expounding our critique on behalf of the wide-ranging spectrum of experts and politicians who saw the Union’s attempts at centralisation and the introduction of the Euro troublesome from the outset in 1992, i.e. the wording of the Treaty of Maastricht.
The European Economic Community (EEC) functioned well
The EEC, established in 1957, achieved substantial results, its various Member States experienced rapid growth, integration between the nations increased, and yet the possibility, for example own monetary and fiscal policies, were available that allowed the individual countries to intervene in economy in line with their own specific problems. In a separate point, the convention required that the trade balance (practically equal to the balance of payments) be maintained (i.e. neither country was allowed to run up debts against the other).
The Treaty of Maastricht created an economically unviable system
Three reports, the Werner, Marjolin, and MacDougall reports, were prepared back in the 1970s, when the leaders of the Union were thinking about deepening integration. These reports aimed to assess the feasibility of integration from the aspect of the budget. This included examining examples of uniform (e.g. France) and federal (e.g. the United States) budgets, namely the size of the budget and the percentage of regrouped incomes. The study showed that the introduction of a common currency would require the centralisation and redistribution of at least 5-7% of GDP; a federal state requires about 15-20% of incomes to be centralised and redistributed (to support weaker members). In fact, the Marjolin Report even added that a prerequisite for integration is that the population’s sense of belonging to the Union be stronger than to their own nations, in the interest of which he recommended setting up a common European unemployment fund. However, the Treaty of Maastricht and its most important achievement, the introduction of the Euro, lacked any financial basis and was created only on the basis of political interests. The French were afraid of the economic power and independence of the reunited Germany and wanted to use the Euro to chain Germany to France. Others saw the Euro as a tool for continued (forced) integration and so supported its introduction.
Problems with the Euro
A common currency can be introduced only among countries that react identically to external effects; that is what is called an optimal currency area. Everyone was aware of the fact that the European Union did not meet this requirement: the Euro was introduced not for economic, but rather political reasons. The result was that the common currency was overvalued for southern European countries and undervalued for northern European countries, which upset the foreign trade balance and caused the southern countries to fall into debt. The 2008 economic recession also showed that the Eurozone is unable to properly react to external shocks. The current EUR 750 billion loan temporarily eases this problem, but the issues will again rear their heads in a few years. There have been a number of recommendations for remedying the situation, though none has yet been found that meets the interests of all parties involved.
The absence of democratic control
In theory, the Council, composed of the heads of government, defines political direction, the Commission is the executive power, and the Parliament plays a controlling role in the Union’s political structure. In practice, the European Commission initiates laws and Parliament is increasingly used to exert pressure. The role of the Council (heads of government) has weakened, the principle of unanimity has been done away with in a number of areas, and decisions in areas of policies that have significant effects on the individual Member States (e.g. climate policy) increasingly require a qualified majority only, allowing decisions to be made that may be contrary to the fundamental interests of a given Member State. At the same time, the parties that actually make the decisions (Commission, Parliament) cannot be held accountable for their decisions. While a national government can be removed if voters are dissatisfied, the above bodies cannot. At the 2002-2003 convention, this situation was euphemistically referred to as a “democratic deficit”, and it has grown significantly worse since then.
Neoliberal economic policy
The Treaty of Maastricht basically enacted a neoliberal economic policy as law, as a result of which the development of the entire Union is slow, it is cumbersome in reacting to external effects, and, what is worst, the formerly expansive middle class is eroding, with increasing numbers of people sliding into poverty. The situation is the worst in the indebted southern European Member States, which are increasingly lagging behind and are experiencing slow economic growth and high levels of unemployment due to this form of economic policy.
The entirety of the Union finds it difficult to replenish its population. One of the results is that certain countries are backing migration, while other are attempting to promote the growth of their own populations using various family policy measures. The differences between these two approaches cause substantial political stress between nations.
Problems with the integration of immigrants
It has become clear that Muslim immigrants cannot be integrated into Western societies: they form independent, parallel, and regionally separate societies. Western European countries with high numbers of immigrants are unable to cope with this situation, though they do not want to stop illegal immigration and in fact want to use the redistribution system to force Central and Eastern European countries to take in a part of the economic migrants. This situation results in tension between Western European and Central and Eastern European Member States.
The problem of developing a common foreign policy
The 27 Member States have quite different historical experiences, as a result of which their interests and fears regarding foreign policy differ widely. The leadership of the Union has long said that the European Union must speak with “one voice” on all aspects of foreign policy, but it is quite difficult to determine what that one voice should say, as interest between the Union’s various regions differ greatly (e.g. northern and southern, eastern and western regions). For example, polls show that the general European public does not support the European Commission’s and the Parliament’s interventionist politics (especially regarding Russia and China).
Similarly to North America, a cultural revolution is taking place in Western Europe that questions traditional European values and replaces them with far-left ideologies such as gender theory (the introduction of social genders instead of traditional biological genders), the questioning of the right of nation states to exist, the rejection of Europe’s Christian heritage, and viewing all of European history and culture in a generally negative light. This ideology derives from the far-left (Frankfurt School) and has now come to dominate in Western European socialist and social democratic parties and is even spreading in centre-right parties. However, this ideology does not have widespread support among the former socialist countries, leading to significant tension between the western and the eastern regions of the Union.
The leadership of the Union wants to solve the problems listed above and other tensions not discussed herein by further centralising the decision-making system while forcing the leaders of the various countries to bear the responsibility for their decisions. They are basically looking at creating a federalist state, the conditions of which are missing in Europe. It is easy to understand why if we compare the features of a federalised state with those of the European Union.
Common language. The Union speaks almost as many languages as there are Member States. Although most speak English, only a small percentage of the population understands and speaks English, with the exception of Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands. As a result, the average European is simply unable to participate in pan-European communication and therefore has little knowledge of what goes on in countries other than his own. The absence of a common language also means that the Union’s common affairs cannot be widely discussed at the level of citizens: the knowledge of the actions and views of potential leaders is missing for the democratic election process of Union leaders. As a result, the absence of a common language is one of the main obstacles to the realisation of a democratic, federal state.
Common history. A common history and the outcome thereof, a common historical memory, plays a definitive role in the cohesion of a federated or a unified state. Common history usually revolves around the events that determined the history of a given country, for example, the foundation of the nation and successful wars or revolutions. However, there are few such positive historical events in European history, as the various European countries have fought countless bloody wars against each other over the course of the past one thousand years, and what was a cause for celebration for one was a painful defeat for the other.
If anything, the cultural heritage is shared by the peoples of Europe, which starts with Greek culture, continues with Roman state administration and law, the Christian artistic creations of the middle Ages, enormous cathedrals, and culminates in European scientific results. If we build on the cultural heritage that everyone agrees is positive and that differentiates Europe from other continents, we can indeed find a common foundation that could be used to build a closer form of cooperation. However, current European leadership is not trying to strengthen the roots of our true common culture, but rather seems to want to destroy it by elevating the ideology of the Frankfurt School, “cultural Marxism,” to a Union set of values. Today, the European left wing, the representatives of “cultural Marxism”, and the right-wing representing Euro-Atlantic corporations both reject traditional European values, though for different reasons, which in itself is one of the greatest obstacles to European integration.
Common values: Common values play an important role in the cohesion of a unified or federal state. In practice, there are two forms of values in the European Union. First, there are the values declared by the treaties of the European Union; second, there are those studied and analysed by the EU’s polling research institute, Eurobarometer. The first mention of the values referred to as European was in the 1983 Solemn Declaration. The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht included the 1950 Rome Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the EU acquis. Eurobarometer polls partly confirm the values set out in the Union Treaties; however, they also show that Europeans are much more conservative than their leaders and the leading media, for example, they are much more attached to their own nations and the traditions of their own nations than to the general values of the European Union. At the same time, the populace has taken on a dual identity. The relationships that connect people to their own nations (language, culture, ancestors, history) differ from the strings that connect them to the European Union (freedom of movement, peace between Member States, the Union’s economic strength, etc.).
Shared interest regarding the rest of the world. In the case of a unified or federal state, the relationship with the outside world is usually quite clear, regardless of the party leading the nation. In this respect, the situation is quite different in the European Union, as the interests of today’s Member States were exactly opposites of each other in the course of the past thousand years: there are seldom any instances of Europeans facing down others from outside of Europe. The European Union currently has no enemies; its opposition against Russia or China is more a reflection of the endeavours of the United States, or rather certain leading circles, that the EU, and thus especially Germany, should not form a close economic union with Russia. European Union Member States are quite divided in issues of foreign and military policy, which makes it difficult to formulate a common foreign and defence policy. The situation is similar as regards foreign trade policies. The interests of the developed northern countries, invested in high-tech exports, are significantly different than the interests of southern European countries, which have high levels of agricultural and consumer goods production.
Taking into account the elements that are responsible for the development of identity, we can come to the conclusion that if we want to realise lasting European cooperation, we have to find a solution that is satisfactory for all. A federation is not viable, as neither its economic nor social conditions are met.
Despite this fact, the leadership of Europe continues to force stronger integration. The views that have developed during the course of previous debates can be basically categorised into three large groups:
(1) The first, backed by the European, or rather the Euro-Atlantic elite (background powers), is the federal state, i.e. the United States of Europe. Among others, the idea was elaborated by Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Minister at the time, in a talk given at Humboldt University in 2000.
(2) The other form of integration, propagated mostly by French politicians, is an alliance of nation states or a kind of confederation where the sovereignty of nation states would basically remain intact and no new (federal) state would be created.
(3) Finally, an unconstrained format is free trade, for example as recommended by the UKIP (United Kingdom Independent Party) and which the Brits implemented for themselves by leaving the Union.
There are numerous transitional solutions in addition to the above “clean” formats, where cooperation extends only to certain areas where interest is especially strong. These formats have been given a variety of names, such as ‘Europe à la carte’, ‘concentric circles’, ‘Olympic rings’, ‘variable geometry’, and ‘multi-speed Europe’. From a legal aspect, Bruno S. Frey’s and Reiner Eichenberger’s ‘flexible Europe’ has been worked out in the most detail, the essence of which is that integration takes into account the economic development of new Member States and extends only to the areas that are advantageous to such new Member States. Cooperation can then be expanded to include an increasing number of areas as the Member State progresses with its catching up.
Let’s examine some of these recommendations in detail.
Europe, as a federal state. The European federation and a unified Europe is not a new idea: it was first recommended by William Penn in 1693, then revisited by Victor Hugo in 1849 and Coudenhove-Kalergi in 1926.
The founding fathers of the European Union were also thinking in terms of a federal state, though at the time it was not considered a realistic notion, and so the preamble to the Rome Treaty makes reference only to ‘an ever-closer union’. The issue was raised by Joschka Fischer in 2000 at a talk given at Humboldt University. His reasoning was that the institutions that had been designed to meet the needs of six countries were no longer functioning properly, for example they do not meet the requirements of a common foreign and defence policy in a globalised world or the requirements of a democratic political system.
He recommended a two-chamber parliamentary system where one chamber would consist of elected representatives who are also members of their respective national parliaments, and the other chamber would be a type of senate, similar to the Senate of the United States.
However, his opinion was that even though the Treaty of Maastricht relegated certain elements of national sovereignty, such as national currency and internal and external security, to the competence of EU institutions, this does not equal the end of nation states.
Other proponents of the European federation are primarily against nation states, accusing them of being the cause of wars, the source of the cultural, political, and economic oppression of minorities, and alienating their citizens with large, centralised, bureaucratic organisations.
A number of political groups, public figures, and businessmen support the creation of a European federation or the United States of Europe. The Union of European Federalists, the German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas, and others have worked out specific ideas for the constitution of a federal European state.
A confederation of nation states. A confederation of nation states is basically a French idea raised by De Gaulle in the beginning of the 1960s. He declared that the most important task of a French politician is to protect the French nation with its 2000-year history, which requires strong national institutions. European states have to work together, but the cooperation has to use intergovernmental tools and not supra-national organisations. De Gaulle’s ideas were written down by Christian Fouchet, French ambassador to Denmark: this became the Fouchet Plan, which was prepared in two drafts, one in 1961 and one in 1962.
Under the Fouchet Plan, the Union would have four institutions: the Council, consisting of the heads of state; the Council of Ministers, consisting of ministers; the Political Commission, consisting of delegates of the Member States; and the European Parliament, which would have an advisory capacity.
The Political Commission would be responsible for preparing and implementing decisions, and the decision itself would be made in the Council, where unanimity would be required. If any country is not present at the making of a decision or abstains, the decision would not pertain to the given country; however, it may decide to join at any time, in which case the decision will be binding on it. The Union would have a budget, compiled by the Political Commission and approved by the Council. The Union would also be a legal entity, meaning it could conclude the agreements on behalf of the Union for which it is authorised. The Union would be open to countries that follow the Union’s values (human dignity, democracy, the respect of human rights, social justice).
The French, especially the right-wing political powers, are still strongly in support of De Gaulle’s ideas. In 2000, when Joschka Fischer gave his talk on the European federation at the Humboldt University, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin criticised the proposal strongly, saying that the French would never accept a status such as the states in the United States of America or the federal provinces in Germany. ‘There are nations, strong, vibrant nations for which identity is important, which constitute the wealth of our continent,’ said the French PM. However, he did not want to degrade the competences that had form a community; he basically wanted to keep the Union in the form it was under the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties.
Flexible cooperation. As part of flexible cooperation, the various nations would retain their independence and would participate in various Union projects on a voluntary basis, such as cooperation in industry, the development of infrastructure, etc. There are existing forms of this type of cooperation, for example Airbus in the field of industry. Goods, services, capital, and labour flow in a controlled manner. This form of communication would require a minimal common budget of around 1%. This approach was developed in detail by two professors at the University of Zürich, Bruno S. Frey and Reiner Eichenberger, based on the example of Swiss cantons. The most important element of this proposal is that it does not strive to attain any form of homogeneity or to create ‘an ever-closer union’. This form of cooperation has been raised by different people with different names, such as ‘variable geometry’, ‘Olympic rings’, and ‘Europe à la carte’.
Europe as a free trade area. A free trade area is a form of commercial integration where the member countries do not apply customs fees or commercial restrictions against each other. An important difference as compared to the customs union is that countries in the free trade area do not apply a common customs policy towards economies outside of the area. There are currently a number of free trade areas in the world, some of the better known of which include the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA), MERCOSUR (which incorporates Latin America), AFTA (the ASEAN Free Trade Area involving Asian countries), and the South African COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa).
The UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) was the main proponent of transforming the European Union into a free trade area, and it managed to have its own nation leave the Union, which increasingly centralised competences.
An English Eurosceptic group called Campaign for an Independent Britain (CIB) recommended a model where the cooperation of European countries would be based on the willingness of the various European people to cooperate instead of political and economic intent. Their viewpoint is that lasting European cooperation can be based only on the will of the participating nations. Each party would participate in cooperation only in the areas in which they have a vested interest.
However, it is not only the Eurosceptics that feel a free trade area would be a good solution: it is also backed by the experts who are otherwise in favour of integration but see the contradiction between political intent and economic and political reality.
According to Economics Professor at the University of Leuven, Paul de Grauwe: ‘A political union is the logical end-point of a currency union. If political union fails to materialise, then in the long term the euro area cannot continue to exist. Now that nobody appears to want that political union, you can begin to wonder whether monetary union was such a good idea. I hardly dare predict that, in the longer term, the monetary union will collapse. Not next year, but over a time frame of 10 or 20 years. There is not a single monetary union which survived without political union. They have all collapsed. You invariably get big shocks. A monetary union becomes very fragile without a political framework. With the exception of a Don Quixote-like Guy Verhofstadt, I see nobody who is pushing the case for a political union. The only viable way for Europe is to alter its strategy and focus on the only financial option open, a large free trade zone. It’s an illusion that a political union can be realised within Europe in the near future.’
Localisation. The economics of localisation is based on the statistically proven fact that the majority of human needs can be economically satisfied locally (as referred to above), with long-distance commerce necessary mainly due to geographical features and to expand offers. According to this view, it is especially important that public utilities (railway, telecommunications, energy supply, water supply, education, and healthcare) and the use of farmland and raw materials be owned by local communities. Localisation is not anti-commerce, but aims to create diversified local economies instead of forcing all companies to participate in self-exploitative international competition.
European empire. The adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon essentially transformed the European Union into an empire. Former Commission President Manuel Barroso called attention to this fact when he compared the European Union to an empire in an interview. He wanted to use the comparison to defend the stance that many compared the post-Lisbon Treaty Union to a supernation. Although Barroso generally uses the term in his university lectures when explaining the structure of the Union, it aptly fits the state of the Union following the Treaty of Lisbon, as the Union cannot be compared to a federal state because a federal state (such as the United States or Germany) has a democratic political setup, a common language, strong social solidarity, common foreign policy, and a central budget equal to 20-25% of the GDP, to list only a few important attributes of a federal state. Although the European Union has none of the above, it is endeavouring to develop a strong centralised decision-making mechanism. If current tendencies continue, the Union will gradually transition from the cooperation of equal nation states to an empire. The main drive behind this trend is partly the far-left movements that wish to do away with nation states, and partly a narrow business and political elite (the background powers) whose will is transformed by the mainstream right and left-wing parties into EU legislation.
A socially sensitive empire based on solidarity. Although the left-wing and green groups in the European Parliament supported the Treaty of Lisbon, they objected to its neoliberal nature. Similarly, the European Trade Union Confederation also approved the Treaty of Lisbon, reasoning that it makes the social values of the Charter of Fundamental Rights compulsory. Accordingly, it is the left and the greens who would support a European Union that would in some form or other emphasise social justice and a stronger form of environmental protection. Such a formation could be called a socially sensitive empire, as it would retain the decision-making competences centralised by the Treaty of Lisbon, and would in fact increase centralisation, and not make the system any more democratic while introducing a form of redistribution to the system that would significantly reduce the differences in income and finances within and between nations.
Multi-speed Europe. The idea of a ‘multi-speed Europe’ means that although the final goal of a European cooperation would be a common or federal state that all nations strive towards, they would reach the goal at different times: some would proceed faster, and some would proceed slower down the same path. In practice, this ‘multi-speed’ approach has been realised, as, for example, only 19 of the 27 Member States are part of the Eurozone; 22 are parties to the Schengen Agreement; and Austria, Sweden, Finland, and Ireland are not NATO members. There are examples for the multi-speed approach. The question is rather whether this should be considered a negative development, one that leads to integration after a while, or a natural or perhaps even lasting situation that expresses the economic and social situations and national interests of the various Member States.
Our own recommendation
Current discussions about the future of the European Union are primarily centred around slogans. We would like to elevate this discussion, as far as possible in a fundamentally politically charged environment, to the level of feasibility. It is our opinion that of the above variants, only the concept of the cooperation of nation states can be put into practice. However, we are interested in the opinion of the wider stratus of society, which is why we have prepared a questionnaire to be completed by citizens and the think tanks of research institutes to gain information on their opinions.
Please use the above information and other information in your possession to share your opinion regarding European cooperation and answer the attached questionnaires.
What kind of Europe do we want?
Questionnaire for citizens
With the events surrounding Brexit and other problems faced by the Union, the discussion regarding the future of the European Union has been put back on the table. These include a number of issues that fundamentally affect citizens. The association of conservative civil society organisations, EuCET, would like to learn what the population’s opinion is about the issues we consider the most important, which is why we are contacting you with this questionnaire.
As these issues are too complex for simple yes or no answers, each question describes the issue and possible solutions based on the positions of previous discussions, and we also provide a possibility for writing your own responses.
- The political form of the Union
The first and most important question, which is currently subject to the most debate, is whether the Europe of the future should be based on federal foundations (similarly to the political system of the United States of America or the Federal Republic of Germany), or whether relations should be developed along the lines of shared interests while maintaining the sovereignty of nation states (a Europe of nations).
What is your opinion?
A I would prefer a federal state
B I would prefer an alliance of nation states
C I recommend another form, namely:
- The size of the common budget
As widely known, the various Member States of the Union currently pay one percent of their respective GDPs into the common EU budget, which is then used to finance EU policies. It is also widely known that the various forms of cooperation determine the size of the common budget. In federal states, the common budget is 15-20% of the budget. Thus, if we want a federal Europe, we have to be happy with paying 15-20% of our income to common pot, whence it will be redistributed along the lines of Union policies, probably to support and promote the catching up of less developed nations, as that would be the most important task in a federal state.
What percent of your income would you be willing to give up to help the Union’s less developed regions catch up?
- Possible forms of cooperation
Based on the above, what forms of cooperation would you support or oppose? Please mark the supported forms with +1, +2, or +3 and the forms you oppose -1, -2, or -3 depending on the strength of your feelings for and against (e.g. strongly support: +3; strongly oppose: -3). If you do not have an opinion regarding a certain form, write 0.
|Europe, as a federal state|
|A confederation of nation states|
|Europe as a free trade area|
|A socially sensitive empire based on solidarity|
- Helping less developed countries catch up
The differences in the development of various European countries are currently quite significant; for example, the difference in wages is more than ten-fold.
What do you think, are special catching-up programs (e.g. suitable technological transfer, supporting access to the market, support for building infrastructure, etc.) necessary to help less developed countries catch up?
- Yes, these types of programs are necessary
- All countries should solve their own problems
- I don’t know
Other reply or recommendation:
- Europe’s demographic future
The populations of most nations in the European Union are decreasing, and the number of births (fertility rate) is especially low among traditional European people. Do the leaders of the various countries or the leaders of the Union have to take measures to stop the demographic decline?
No, immigrants will make up for the decreases
Yes, measures would be required to increase the number of births
- View of immigration
There is currently strong debate concerning the necessity of immigration. Do you think:
Immigration is necessary
Immigration is not necessary
- How do you see the integration of immigrants from different regions in past decades in your own country?
|European immigrants||Immigrants from the Middle East and Africa|
|Immigrants have integrated well|
|Immigrants have somewhat integrated|
|Immigrants have integrated a little|
|Immigrants have not integrated at all|
- European and national identity
Do you feel a sense of belonging
– to your own nation only
– first to your nation and then to the Union
– first to Europe and then to your own nation
– to Europe only
- What is good about the European Union that is worth keeping?
- What is not good about the European Union that should be changed?
younger than 30 □
over 60 □
Higher education □
The idea of participation, i.e. the active involvement of workers in the management of companies, is an old one. It has various facets, ranging from institutionalised information and consultation to outright co-determination, i.e. the active presence of workers’ representatives in the decision-making bodies of their company, whereby workers take part in strategic decisions and share the economic results of the firm.
Tomasz Sakiewicz, Editor-in-Chief of Gazeta Polska, and László Csizmadia, President of CÖF-CÖKA, in Budapest, renew cooperation between NGOs from the two countries.
Tomasz Sakiewicz, Editor-in-Chief of Gazeta Polska, and László Csizmadia, President of CÖF-CÖKA, in Budapest, renew cooperation between NGOs from the two countries.