Thursday

19th May 2022

Verheugen predicts political union in 20 years

EU industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen has predicted that some EU states will in 20 years form a political union.

In in an interview with German daily Die Welt, the commissioner was asked how he sees the EU in 20 years' time.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He responded by saying "I believe… we will have a political union, but maybe not with all states that now form part of the EU."

"Certain European states will agree to have common competencies in foreign, economic and financial policy as well as in judicial policy," he said outlining his long-term vision.

The remarks point to the possible creation of a "core" Europe of EU states further integrating policies, with other states opting out.

This vision emerged in the 1990s in German conservative political circles, and has since won supporters mainly in France and Belgium, with the Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt recently suggesting closer co-operation between the eurozone states.

The commissioner also appeared to predict predicted a further enlarged EU encompassing the western Balkans, Turkey, Switzerland and Norway - but excluding states like Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Russia.

"In 20 years all European states will be members of the EU, except the post-Soviet states that do not yet form part of the EU now," he said.

Mr Verheugen served as the EU's enlargement commissioner in the previous Prodi commission from 1999-2004, succesfully managing the bloc's 2004 expansion while championing further enlargement, including with Turkey.

EU lobbies Hungary to break oil sanctions deadlock

After the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's Budapest trip, Hungary suggested it wants EU funds to offset the extra costs from receiving different oil sources, and the increased energy prices the planned Russian oil embargo entails.

Political groups shun far-right pro-Kremlin MEP

French MEP Thierry Mariani from the far-right Identity and Democracy Group is spearheading a report in the parliament's foreign affairs committee. The socialists are boycotting it.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. Finland expects cut in gas supply after Nato application
  2. Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands push offshore wind
  3. Turkey strong-arms Finland and Sweden on extraditions
  4. Sharp increase in irregular migration to EU
  5. Russia ejects 85 European diplomats
  6. Germany shuts ex-chancellor Schröder's office over Putin ties
  7. Russia soldier pleads guilty to Ukraine war crime
  8. EU to protect Finland and Sweden until they join Nato

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. Nordic Bridges unveil latest highlights of Spring programme
  2. EU plans to jointly invest in defence capabilities
  3. EU and US keen to seize Russian funds for Ukraine
  4. EU to boost solar and renewables rollout to cut Russian gas
  5. Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag
  6. Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy
  7. Watchdog calls for tougher curbs on 'problematic' revolving doors
  8. Borrell: EU arms flow to Ukraine amid 'record' Russian losses

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us