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The inevitable reform of the European treaties
When the Conference on the Future of Europe was launched, the demand for change in the European construction came mainly from convinced Europeans and activists of the European integration. Few were the heads of state or government willing to embark on the perilous undertaking of recasting the European treaties, at the times where so many blockages and opportunities for disunity were multiplying, with first and foremost the tendency of certain countries to distort the rule of law, something that was new in the history of European construction. The Conference on the Future of Europe was at the time more of an outlet than anything else, out of which a few good ideas could eventually emerge.
The sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic made many Europeans and some of their leaders aware of the need to adapt the European construction model to make it more resilient in the face of new threats by making it more easily adaptable. After all, one acknowledged that the European Commission, pushed by the European Parliament, had embarked on coordinating policies, notably on health issues, that were not supposed to be its competences. And it proposed a recovery plan which became a milestone in European history as it was the first time the EU issued mutualized debts. Voices became louder to say that treaties should allow that type of needed moves with greater transparency.
Then came the war in Ukraine that accelerated this awareness of the need for Europe to change and quickly adapt, not anymore in a nice-to-have movement, not even as a much needed evolution to allow new policies in times of crisis, but as a way to strategically survive in the face of a new world full of perils unfolding in front of our eyes. Buying arms in the name of Europe, or coordinating unprecedented successive rounds of sanctions, or defining in all urgency a swift and accelerated energy transition, paired with a massive plan to offset the impact of the embargoes on Russian coal and oil (in the waiting for the one on gas) are moves that would have seemed unthinkable a few months ago.
To make all this possible in the future in a smoother and more efficient way, through a quicker and legally more solid process, creates a vital necessity for the reform of the treaties., This reform is fortunately now on everybody’s mind. The fact that Germany which had always been reluctant at such prospect has now embraced the move will serve as often in Europe as a catalyst for the evolution of others.
The Conference on the Future of Europe will have paved the way for a more solemn gathering that would dive into that crucial reform, that is a true Convention for a sui generis Union of the Federated States of Europe.
Editorial by Alain Deneef, Stand Up for Europe's President