FUTURE OF EUROPE: European Parliament sets out its vision – By Welsh National Freedom News

Contents 1
Europeans expect protection from the EU 2
A more democratic Europe 3
Converging Visions 4
Security and Justice 4
Defence 5
Border Control 7
Migration and Africa 8
Single Market, Social Europe and Taxation 12
Digital, Innovation and Industrial Policy 14
Climate, Energy and Sustainable Development 17
Trade 19
EMU 21
Education and Youth 23
Enlargement 24

1

Dear citizens, Dear Members of the European Parliament,
Our priority is to bridge the gap between citizens and European institutions by listening to them and providing real answers to their problems.
According to the latest Eurobarometer results, Europeans are calling for a more political, democratic and efficient Union. They also want the European Parliament to play a central role in shaping our common future.
We were the first institution to initiate this debate. At the beginning of this year, we adopted the BrokBresso, Böge-Bérès and Verhofstadt reports, taking the lead in rethinking the European Union to better respond to citizens’ concerns.
It was also thanks to these contributions that the 60- year anniversary of the Treaties of Rome was not just a celebration of our achievements. It was a turning point where European leaders committed to address shared challenges through a united and more effective Europe.
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, presented an ambitious reform agenda in his last State of the Union speech, taking on board most of Parliament’s proposals. Soon after, President Macron expressed a comprehensive vision on the future of the EU, sharing many of the same concerns. As the only directly elected EU institution representing 500 million citizens, the Parliament has the duty to be the driver of this reflection.
We must be at the heart of this debate and we stand ready to host the contributions of all European leaders. This is why the Parliament’s political groups have decided to devote a series of debates in plenary to the future of Europe.
Speaking at the last European Council, I presented our plan to Heads of State and Government. One of the items on the Leaders’ Agenda, presented by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, at the October European Council, concerns the Spitzenkandidaten. I am sure that the aim is to make that arrangement – which contributes to the strengthening of the political relationship between the Parliament and the Commission – the norm.
Citizens want us to focus on their priorities: terrorism, migration, unemployment, poverty, climate change. As one of the budgetary authorities, we have the responsibility to champion a political budget that reflect these concerns
This Parliament has pointed out the need to find new own resources several times. I am convinced of that need, and I look forward to having a debate in our House and with the other institutions on this subject.
If the EU is to be more responsive to citizens’ expectations and democratically accountable, it must first boost its capacity to act and make the euro zone more resilient to economic shocks, whilst making full use of the Lisbon Treaty. But to go further, it needs to reform itself more substantially.
This document is a living document. It takes note of the common ground reached on different visions on the Future of Europe in key policy fields
Our citizens’ will feel Europe as their home, only if we provide the right answer and protect them. This should be our goal ahead of the next European elections in June 2019. The future of Europe is now. Antonio Tajani President of the European Parliament

2 Europeans expect protection from the EU

The last public opinion survey, Parlemeter 2017, shows the strengthened voice of European citizens, their strengthened belief in the European project – as well as a strengthened image of the European Parliament. It also identifies clear areas where Europeans expect protection from the EU.
A stronger voice: citizens’ strengthened belief in the European project
In the context of the renewed debate on the future of Europe, 47% of European citizens feel that their voice counts in the EU, the best result since the 2009 European elections. With 57% of those who responded feeling that EU membership is a good thing for their country, this indicator is also nearly back to its precrisis level.
Most said that EU membership has benefitted their country in all Member States. This feeling is growing at EU level by four percentage points compared to 2016 and now registers at 64%. In addition, more citizens find that things are going in the right direction in the EU (31%, +6 compared to March).
Also the European Parliament is seeing an uptick in public opinion. An increase of eight percentage points now means 33% of all citizens have a positive image of the European Parliament. This increase is coupled with a similar decrease of 7 percentage points to a total of 21% of citizens who have a negative image of the EP, while 42% of those surveyed still have a neutral image
The survey also identifies areas where Europeans expect protection from the EU. Terrorism comes out, at 58% , as the main threat that Europeans want the EU to offer protection from. The precarious economic situation suffered by many Europeans is intrinsically linked to issues such as unemployment (43%) and poverty and exclusion (42%). Protection against uncontrolled migration, with 35% on average, still ranks highly on citizens’ radar.
Secondly, the survey assesses the main accomplishments that citizens want the EU to protect for them. Answers can be categorised in two main types: on one side, fundamental rights (44%) and the freedom to travel, work and study across the EU (36%). On the other side stand economic achievements, namely labour rights (34%), adequate pensions (34%) and economic well-being (33%).
The fieldwork of this survey was carried out between 23 September and 2 October 2017. 27881 Europeans aged 15 or more were interviewed face-to-face in all 28 Member States.

Mercedes Bresso (S&D, Italy) “The European Union doesn’t need a populist revolution. It needs peace and to adapt to the necessities of our time. This means coping with democratic challenges, providing citizens with social, fiscal, and ecological protection, defending their right to safety in a very degraded international context and delivering on our moral obligations to our neighbours”

3 A more democratic Europe

In February 2017, the European Parliament put forward a series of ambitious initiatives for the future development of the European Union. The proposal constitutes a response to increased calls for more institutional reforms, due to a wide range of complex international challenges facing the EU and its member states. In its proposals, the European Parliament encourages a broad reflection, both within and beyond the frame of the existing Lisbon Treaty.
Improving the functioning of the European Union and building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty
To begin with, MEPs favour making the most of the current Treaties, and present a range of possible improvements, without having to go through the burdensome process of changing the EU’s existing Treaties. Among many things, Parliament advocates:
• Improving the ways in which the EU legislates. MEPs suggests that the Council should switch to qualified majority voting, whenever possible, to avoid blocking important draft laws and speeding up the legislative process,
• The Council of Ministers should be turned into a genuine second legislative chamber and its configurations into preparatory bodies, similar to parliamentary Committees,
• A more democratic institutional set-up for the Economic and Monetary Union, with an enhanced scrutiny role for the European Parliament and national parliaments at EU level,
• Setting up a permanent Council of Defence Ministers to coordinate the member states’ defence policies, including cybersecurity and anti-terrorism.
Reforming the existing institutions and processes
Besides that, the European Parliament also laid out various possible reforms of the existing Lisbon Treaty, to allow EU institutions to be more flexible and better equipped to respond to the challenges facing the European Union. MEPs propose:
• Creating an EU finance minister (merge the position of President of the Eurogroup and Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs) and an EU Foreign Minister (merge Commission Vice-President/High Representative) in charge of representing the EU in international fora,
• Delivering solidarity to EU countries facing an exceptional economic crisis, by establishing a European Monetary Fund with adequate lending and borrowing capacities and a clearly-defined mandate to absorb economic shocks,
• Reducing the size of the College of Commissioners,
• Continuing with the successful “Spitzenkandidaten”, procedure whereby European political parties promote their lead candidates for the President of the European executive, elected by the European Parliament on a proposal by the European Council,
• Ending Europe “à la carte”, with its opt-ins and opt outs and limiting the amount of intergovernmental decisions.

4 Converging Visions Security and Justice

EPPO competences

5 DEFENCE

6 Border Control

8 Migration and Africa

Returns policy

PARLIAMENT’S VIEWS Acknowledges that, in the light of the fact that, in 2014, 36 % of third country nationals who were ordered to leave the Union were effectively returned, there is a need to improve the effectiveness of the Union’s return system;
Considers that in order to increase the efficiency of readmissions, and in order to ensure the coherence of returns at a European level, it will be necessary to adopt new EU readmission agreements which should take preference over bilateral agreements between Member States and third countries;
Believes that the return of migrants should only be carried out in full compliance with their fundamental rights, ensuring that the country to which they are being returned is safe for them;
Suggests that any attempt by Member States to ‘push back’ migrants who have not been given the opportunity to present asylum claims runs contrary to Union and international law, and that the Commission should take appropriate action against any Member State that attempts such ‘push backs’(Resolution of 12 April 2016 on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration (2015/2095(INI))
Recalls that migrants have the right not to be sent to countries where they risk ill-treatment and torture; recalls that collective deportations and push back are prohibited under international law; expresses concern at the treatment of migrants who are forcibly returned to their countries of origin or to third countries without adequate follow-up of their situation, and calls, whatever the situation, for account to be taken of the difficulties that they encounter when they return to these countries;
Proposes the introduction of reintegration programmes for migrants returning to their countries of origin; (European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2016 on human rights and migration in third countries, 2015/2316(INI)); Points out that mass expulsions and refoulement are prohibited under international law; Is worried about the unlimited returns of Afghan citizens, whether on a voluntary basis or not; Recalls that returns can only take place after due consideration of each individual case in full respect of their rights, and calls on the EU and the Member States to allocate the necessary resources to speed up current administrative and judicial procedures;
Recalls the importance of a balanced approach in the new Partnership Framework; warns against any quantitative approach in the new Partnership Framework and the related ‘migration compacts’, which would consider the ‘measurable increases in the number and rate of returns’ as the EU’s main goal;
Encourages those responsible in the field of foreign and development policy to ensure that people who are returned are treated properly and that their integrity is preserved; calls on the Commission and the Member States to draw up flanking programmes to ensure that practical assistance programmes are carried out in the countries of origin that comprise both vocational training measures and programmes aimed at building economic structures, including start-ups and small businesses, alongside professional and academic exchange programmes with the Member States;
(European Parliament resolution of 5 April 2017 on addressing refugee and migrant movements: the role of EU External Action (2015/2342(INI)).
STATE OF THE UNION – JUNCKER : Call to step up returns policy.

Legal pathways for migration and Blue card

PARLIAMENT’S VIEWS Stresses that the opening up of safe and legal channels to asylum-seekers and potential migrants would allow them to use formal entry and exit channels, thus denying business to human traffickers and associated organised crime networks; stresses that the lack of legal avenues for migration often leads to an increase in irregular methods of mobility, which translates in turn into greater vulnerability and the risk of abuse during all stages of the migratory and refugee movement (Resolution of 5 April 2017 on addressing refugee and migrant movements: the role of EU External Action (2015/2342(INI));
Members propose to extend the scope to include third-country nationals who already hold a residence permit in a Member State for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing;
Persons applying for international protection should be subject to the same rules as any other third-country national falling within the scope of the Directive (Report on reforming the EU Blue Card scheme, confirmed in Plenary on 3 July 2016/0176(COD));
(…) points out that the lack of legal avenues into the EU in order to seek protection generates a constant demand for irregular avenues, thus endangering vulnerable migrants in need of international protection;

Africa Trust Fund

12 Single Market, Social Europe and Taxation

Fighting abuse of labour mobility laws

Social Europe

Common consolidated corporate tax

14 Digital, Innovation and Industrial Policy Industrial

Digitalisation Strategy
Space strategy for Europe

EU Blue Card Directive.

PARLIAMENT’S VIEWS EU co-legislators working on the Commission proposal on the conditions of entry and residence of third country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment, i.e. EU Blue Card Directive. Mandate adopted in Plenary on 3 July 2017 on Blue card for higher professional skills, refugees and asylum seekers. INITIATIVE FOR EUROPE – MACRON Calls for measures to attract foreign talent: scientists and entrepreneurs.

Cybersecurity

EU Agency for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Copyright and data protection and taxation in the digital economy

Data Protection

17 Climate, Energy and Sustainable Development

Reducing carbon emissions in the transport sector

Minimum carbon price and an EU carbon tax & Territorial transition contracts

Connections and energy infrastructure

Common Agricultural Policy

19 Trade New trade agreements

Transparency

Reciprocity

Export European standards

Defend strategic interests

Implementation of trade agreements

PARLIAMENT’S VIEWS ‘Calls on the Commission to regularly update its trade and investment strategy and to publicly present every two years a detailed implementation report to Parliament, starting in 2017, to ensure that it delivers on its promises; calls on the Commission to include in these reports the progress of the ongoing trade negotiations and the implementation of the current trade agreements’ (Resolution of 5 July 2017 on Building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe);
‘Making the monitoring, evaluation and follow-up of existing agreements a key priority for EU trade policy: Welcomes the Commission proposal for an enhanced partnership with Parliament and stakeholders for the implementation of trade agreements; emphasises that Parliament needs to be involved and fully informed, in a timely manner, at all stages of the procedure, including by means of a systematic consultation with the Parliament prior to the drafting of negotiating mandates; points out that the Commission is under an obligation to inform Parliament about its activities concerning the implementation, monitoring and follow-up of trade and investment agreements (…) Insists that the monitoring, evaluation and follow-up of existing agreements become a key priority of the CCP; calls on the Commission to re-allocate adequate resources in order to enable DG Trade to better monitor trade agreements that need to be implemented considering the growing negotiating agenda; asks the Commission to establish specific indicators, in order to ensure the monitoring of the implementation of trade agreements and, to publicly and regularly present a substantial and detailed implementation report to Parliament indicating, for instance, the performance of EU industries and the impact of the agreements on different sectors and their respective market shares’ (Resolution of 5 July 2017 on Building an ambitious EU industrial strategy as a strategic priority for growth, employment and innovation in Europe).

21 EMU : Joining the euro & Euro area budget

Democratic accountability

European Minister of Economy and Finance

PARLIAMENT’S VIEWS The positions of President of the Eurogroup and Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs could be merged, and in such a case the President of the Commission should appoint this Commissioner as VicePresident of the Commission; A finance minister and treasury within the Commission should be fully democratically accountable and equipped with all necessary means and capacities to apply and enforce the existing economic governance framework and to optimise the development of the euro area in cooperation with the ministers of finance of the euro-area Member States (Resolution of 16 February 2017 on budgetary capacity for the euro area (2015/2344(INI)); Believes it is possible to merge the position of President of the Eurogroup and Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, and would in such case propose that the President of the Commission appoints this Commissioner as Vice-President of the Commission (Resolution of 16 February  2017 on improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty (2014/2249(INI)). 

Joining the Banking Union

European Monetary Fund

23 Education and Youth – European Solidarity Corps

Erasmus+

24 Enlargement Serbia, Montenegro accession

Freeze Turkey’s accession

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