THE EUROPEAN UNION FOCUSES ON DELIVERING MORE AND FASTER IN SELECTED POLICY AREAS, WHILE DOING LESS ELSEWHERE.Why and how?
In a scenario where there is a consensus on the need to better tackle certain priorities together, the EU27 decides to focus its attention and limited resources on a reduced number of areas.
As a result, the EU27 is able to act much quicker and more decisively in its chosen priority areas. For these policies, stronger tools are given to the EU27 to directly implement and enforce collective decisions, as it does today in competition policy or for banking supervision. Elsewhere, the EU27 stops acting ordoes less.
In choosing its new priorities, the EU27 seeks to better align promises, expectations and delivery. A typical example of recent mismatch is the car emissions scandal where the EU is widely expected to protect consumers from cheating manufacturers but has no powers or tools to do so in a direct and visible manner.By 2025, this means:
The EU27 steps up its work in fields such as innovation, trade, security, migration, the management of borders and defence. It develops new rules and enforcement tools to deepen the single market in key new areas. It focuses on excellence in R&D and invests in new EU-wide projects to support decarbonisation and digitisation.
Typical examples include further cooperation on space, high-tech clusters and the completion of regional energy hubs. The EU27 is able to decide quickly to negotiate and conclude trade deals. Cooperation between police and judicial authorities on terrorism-related issues is systematic and facilitated by a common European Counter-terrorism Agency.
The European Border and Coast Guard fully takes over the management of external borders. All asylum claims are processed by a single European Asylum Agency. Joint defence capacities are established.
Conversely, the EU27 stops acting or does less in domains where it is perceived as having more limited added value, or as being unable to deliver on promises. This includes areas such as regional development, public health, or parts of employment and social policy not directly related to the functioning of the single market.
State aid control is further delegated to national authorities. New standards for consumer protection, the environment and health and safety at work move away from detailed harmonisation towards a strict minimum. More flexibility is left to Member States to experiment in certain areas. However, for those domains regulated at EU level, greater enforcement powers ensure full compliance.
Elsewhere, steps continue to be taken to consolidate the euro area and ensure the stability of the common currency. The EU’s weight in the world changes in line with its recalibrated responsibilities.Pros and cons:
Ultimately, a clearer division of responsibilities helps European citizens to better understand what is handled at EU27, national and regional level. This helps to close the gap between promise and delivery, even if expectations remain unmet in certain domains. Citizens’ rights derived from EU law are strengthened in areas where we choose to do more and reduced elsewhere. To start with, the EU27 has real difficulty in agreeing which areas it should prioritise or where it should do less.Impact on policies
Single market & trade
Common standards set to a minimum but enforcement is strengthened in areas regulated at EU level; trade exclusively dealt with at EU level.Economic & Monetary Union
Several steps are taken to consolidate the euro area and ensure its stability; the EU27 does less in some parts of employment and social policy.Schengen, migration & security
Cooperation on border management, asylum policies and counter-terrorism matters are systematic.Foreign policy & defence
The EU speaks with one voice on all foreign policy issues; a European Defence Union is created.EU budget
Significantly redesigned to fit the new priorities agreed at the level of the EU27Capacity to deliver
Initial agreement on tasks to prioritise or give up is challenging; once in place, decision-making may be easier to understand; the EU acts quicker and more decisively where it has a greater role.Illustrative snapshots
- A European Telecoms Authority has the power to free up frequencies for cross-border communication services, such as the ones needed for the use of connected cars across Europe. It acts as a regulator to protect the rights of mobile and internet users wherever they are in the EU.
- A new European Counter-terrorism Agency helps to deter and prevent serious attacks in European cities by the systematic tracking and flagging of suspects. National police authorities can easily access European databases containing the biometric information of criminals.
- The European Border and Coast Guard fully takes over the management of external borders.
- Salaries, social legislation and taxation levels continue to vary significantly across Europe.
- European consumers misled by car manufacturers can now rely on the EU to sanction such companies and obtain compensation.
- Farmers can access affordable, real-time weather and crop management data thanks to a fully-functioning European satellite system.