Executive Summary

The European Union (EU) faces a critical juncture marked by geopolitical shifts, transnational crises, and internal complexities. For geopolitical reasons, EU enlargement is high on the political agenda, but the EU is not ready yet to welcome new members, neither institutionally nor policy wise. Against this backdrop, a ‘working group on EU institutional reforms’ was convened by the French and German governments. In September 2023, after several months of deliberation, The Group of Twelvesubmitted the results of its work with this report.

Recognising the complexity of aligning diverse Member States' visions for the EU, the report recommends a flexible EU reform and enlargement process. It highlights the need for immediate action to improve the EU's functionality, proposing a list of initial steps before the next European elections. More substantial reforms including preparations for treaty revisions should be implemented during the new legislative term (2024 to 2029).

The report’s recommendations are aimed at achieving three goals: increasing the EU’s capacity to act, getting the EU enlargement ready, and strengthening the rule of law and the EU’s democratic legitimacy. The report is structured into three main sections, dealing with the rule of law, institutional reforms, and the process to reform, deepen and enlarge the EU.

I. Protecting the rule of law

II. Addressing institutional challenges

III.Deepening and widening the EU


Main Recommendations

I. Better protect a fundamental principle: the rule of law

II. Addressing institutional challenges: five key areas of reform

1. Making the EU institutions enlargement-ready

2. Decision-making in the Council

3. EU-level democracy

4. Powers and competences

5. EU resources

III.How to manage progress: Deepening and widening the EU

1. Six options for Treaty change

2. Differentiation 

3. Managing the enlargement process



A Push towards the 2024 European Parliamentary Elections

Stay tuned here and on our social media as we kick off the "Make Your Vote!" project, as part of the European Commission's CERV Programme

Credits: Michael Swan via Creative Commons

Stand Up for Europe is a movement of citizens reclaiming their hope for a better future, something only a united Europe can provide. Stand Up for Europe unites citizens from across the continent who are ready to build such a future through a more democratic and federal Europe, a Europe more in touch with the needs of its people, and thus a Europe that is better equipped to tackle global challenges.


With the occasion of the Conference on the Future of Europe (2021-2022), Stand Up for Europe has been active in creating information flows between citizens and European civil servants, civil society organizations, the EU institutions, and has supported and coordinated the creation of spaces (online and in-person) for citizens to voice their opinions and share their ideas about this European project. The Conference on the Future of Europe is an unprecedented occasion to increase deliberative democracy in the EU. 

Join us to discover ways to actively participate in citizens' activities and stay up to date with the latest developments at our shared European transnational spaces. The future is yours! 


A Snapshot Dump for the European Energy Crisis


By Zeynep Önal

Despite high tension and insecure socio-political atmosphere, the Europe has overcome the last winter. Russia’s Ukrainian invasion, Putin’s aggression and economic black mills have revealed the Europe’s weakness on specific themes such as food security and energy security. Especially, the energy security factor has attracted the attention as the biggest vulnerability of Europe in front of Russia. The European Union’s dependence on Russia in energy has been the most controversial topic. In this short piece, we will have a look at the current status and remarkable highlights of the European Union’s energy agenda. However, firstly, what does energy security means and why it is important for the Europe will be elaborated. 


EU accession: the question on Western Balkan integration


By Jordy Benooit

Abstract: Get ready, it’s happening! But don’t hold your breath. 

The declaration made by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, on August 28, 2023, that "enlargement is no longer a dream"1 represents a significant development in the longstanding effort to integrate the Western Balkan countries into the European Union. This region has been a priority for EU integration since 20032, yet the current accession process has proven ineffective over the past two decades. Are we about to write a new chapter on European integration, or are we adding another paragraph to our list of broken commitments? 

Non-Religious Spiritual Practices and the Remedy for Women


By Layla Brener

Societally, believing in astrology and especially daily horoscopes has become incredibly polarizing. Most people either swear by it or find it childish and fake. Noticeably, women make up an overwhelming percentage of advocates for astrology and other non-religious spiritual practices. Examples of these practices include Tarot card readings, manifestation, affirmations, reiki healing, and meditation, among many other holistic forms of self-care. Non-religious spiritual practices, NRSP for short, will be an umbrella term for "Holistic spiritual practices aimed at attaining wholeness and well-being of body, mind, and spirit…" (The 'gender puzzle' of alternative medicine and holistic spirituality Keshet and Simchai). Non-religious spiritual practices strengthen women in the West by removing gender prejudices present in religion and prioritizing both physical and mental health.  

The War on Terror and its ‘regimes of truth’


By Sebastian Berchesan 

Following 9/11 the word ‘terrorist’ came to be used as a stand-alone term with no need for explanation. Post-structuralist theory would use this as an example that the mainstream political discourse nowadays tends to get dominated by universalist assertions based on subjective notions, often ‘produced’ rather than ‘discovered’. In this context, language can be seen as the core aspect in the formulation and preservation of what philosophers such as Foucault call ‘dominant discourse’ based on pairs of opposite terms that will always favour one to the detriment of the other. The ‘War on Terror’ showcases how such public speech can propagate certain political attitudes even at the heart of consolidated democracies, denouncing its dangers.