Focus on Global Politics

A ‘multi-speed EU’ isn’t a recent idea Merkel has had, as she first called for a ‘two-speed’ Europe in 2012. Continue watching developments as they unfold and get ready for a German-dominated United States of Europe.

 

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – A new “White Paper” is supposed to precipitate the debate about the EU’s future. The paper, presented by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday, sketches out five scenarios for the EU’s possible development. These should be taken into consideration in preparations for the EU’s March 25 special summit. One of the scenarios corresponds to that of the “multi-speed EU,” which Chancellor Angela Merkel had recently called for. Juncker also now favors this demand. This demand means that certain groups of countries forge ahead with intensive cooperation in particular fields of politics leaving others two or three steps behind. This scenario permits the creation of multinational armed forces in Europe, in spite of persistent resistance from several EU member states. This is why Berlin favors it as a solution. Another of Juncker’s scenarios suggests that the EU reduce its number of key policy fields, to include warding off refugees, foreign and military policy. With elements of this scenario, Berlin could avoid paying billions to shoulder the consequences of the Brexit – at the expense of poorer EU members.

The “White Paper”

Brussels hopes its “White Paper,” presented by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, yesterday, will precipitate the debate over the EU’s future. The “White Paper” presents five scenarios to the Union, which, as Juncker explains, “are neither mutually exclusive, nor exhaustive.”[1] The paper is primarily seen as a contribution to preparations for the March 25 summit, marking the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. However, it should also help guide decisions over the EU’s future, which are expected around the end of the year, at the latest.

Nothing but the Single Market or a Comprehensive Union?

The spectrum of what the commission would like to have discussed ranges from a reduction of the EU to nothing but the single market all the way to a massive expansion of the EU’s authority. The reduction to “Nothing but the Single Market” (“Scenario 2”) would result in a very limited EU capacity for coordinating actions, according to the “White Paper,” a common foreign and military policy would be hardly possible. In addition, the commission notes that a “Carrying On” scenario (Scenario 1) would continue the status quo of the past few years. In this case, one can expect tedious decision-making processes in most fields of politics, with only minor adjustments in the monetary union and an insignificant EU foreign and military policy. “Scenario 5” provides the opposite image. It describes the communitarization at every level of all fields of politics. In this case, the monetary union could be expanded; Brussels would have significantly more authority to intervene in domestic policies of the member countries. But above all, a very powerful foreign policy would be possible and, if needed, Brussels would be able to intervene with an EU Army anywhere in the world.

More Military

Scenario 5 is considered hardly applicable because of the consistent – and recently even intensified – resistance by various member countries to Brussels’ interference. This is why the “White Paper” proposes – as a compromise solution – two scenarios, which would entail reinforced cooperation, either with fewer member countries or only in fewer political fields. “Scenario 3” stipulates that several “coalitions of the willing” will use the option provided by the Treaty of Lisbon allowing “permanent structured cooperation,” for example in the domains of domestic repression or closer collaboration in foreign and military policy. On the basis of a significantly conflated arms industry, the EU could extend the tentacles of its power much further into the world as has been the case until now. “Scenario 4” treats the possibility of the EU limiting its focus to much fewer political fields, and, instead, unanimously and energetically tackling those remaining fields of action. Thus, Brussels could largely withdraw from regional aid, public health and social policy and instead significantly expand its capacities for warding off refugees, domestic repression and for foreign and military policies. With this scenario, Brussels would acquire a realistic option for massively extending its political power.

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Full article: Focus on Global Politics (German Foreign Policy)

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