French President Emmanuel Macron has underscored the necessity for the European Union (EU) to be intrepid in its approach, advocating for the integration of candidate nations, such as Moldova, Ukraine, and the countries of the Western Balkans.
This comes amidst larger discussions in Brussels about the future shape and form of the EU.
An EU in Need of Transformation
“It's crucial for the EU to undergo reforms if it's genuinely keen on welcoming new member states,” Macron remarked.
He emphasized that for effective integration of these nations, the Union must establish a consensus among the more than 30 existing members. A challenge indeed, given the already complex dynamics of the EU. “The risk is to think we can enlarge without reform.
I can testify that it is hard enough for Europe to advance on sensitive topics with 27 members. With 32 or 35 members, it won’t be any easier,” he conveyed candidly at the annual gathering in Paris. He then introduced a compelling idea – a “multi-speed Europe” – suggesting that this might be a necessary evolution for the EU.
However, what this "multi-speed Europe" would entail remains relatively vague. Macron hinted that the concept would revolve around specific member countries collaborating more closely on select policy domains.
A Multi-speed Europe: The Way Forward?
The notion of a multi-speed Europe isn't entirely new but has gained traction amidst ongoing debates about the EU’s future.
While President Macron did not delve into the intricacies of this approach, he did stress the need for procedural overhauls to ensure the bloc remains "attractive." Elucidating on this, several French officials disclosed that Macron's administration is actively devising proposals for this multi-speed structure.
They revealed that this might lead to the formation of informal clusters of member states focusing on distinct policy arenas. Intriguingly, the French President has also signaled that he will be sharing more comprehensive views on both EU enlargement and the requisite reforms in the foreseeable future.
Given the European elections are on the horizon, his insights and proposals will certainly be keenly awaited, as they could shape the EU’s strategic roadmap for the years to come.
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