Wednesday

6th Jul 2022

EU to lay out strategic plan after election shock

  • Leaders' dinner. Cameron (r) said: 'Brussels has gotten too big, too bossy' (Photo: consilium.europa.au)

EU leaders meeting in Brussels Tuesday (27 May) agreed the EU must be more strategic in its approach and clearer about the division of powers between local and European level.

At an informal meeting in Brussels, politicians had a first stock-taking since an EP vote at the weekend that shook up the traditional political order in several member states, including France, the UK, Spain, Denmark, Ireland, and Greece.

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

With far-right, eurosceptic, and anti-establishment parties represented much more strongly in the incoming parliament, EU Council president Herman Van Rompuy said that voters sent a "strong message" which was at the "heart" of the meeting's dicussions.

He said the EU must set "strategic" priorities for the coming years, focusing on economic growth, jobs, a "more developed" economic and monetary union, climate change, and energy union.

Touching on migration – EU freedom of movement has caused some of the most heated debates in members states – Van Rompuy said "key freedoms" must be preserved "while ensuring security and fighting irregular migration, crime and fraud".

EU institutions have achieved "common understanding on what should best be done at European and what at national level" said Van Rompuy.

British leader David Cameron has led the reform-the-EU charge. On the way into the meeting he said: "The EU cannot just shrug off these [EU election] results and carry on as before.

"We need change that recognises that Brussels has gotten too big, too bossy, too interfering. We need more nation states, Europe only where necessary."

Van Rompuy plans to talk with EU leaders individually about what changes they think are needed and will turn their input into a "strategic agenda" paper to be discussed at another summit towards the end of June.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "A strong message is needed that we are shaping Europe so it becomes more functional, to better respond to the needs of people."

She also underlined France's key symbolic and political place in the EU, after French voters caused an earthquake by giving the lion's share of their ballots to Marine Le Pen's anti-EU, populist National Front party.

"France is defining for the EU and the eurozone. As Germans we have the utmost interest that France is on a successful track. I will do whatever I can for France to be on a growth track, otherwise it is not possible for the eurozone to regain its stability."

French President Francois Hollande noted that while the different member states had different voting results, the EU vote could be characterized by a rise in the number of eurosceptics and a low turnout.

He called the National Front's success a "trauma for France and for Europe" and said voters need to be listened to.

Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response

The increasingly sharp debate over the rising cost of living exploded in European Parliament, with lawmakers from all stripes, liberal, left, green and conservative, calling on the EU to act.

Opinion

Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia

Two days before Vladimir Putin launched his illegal war on my home country Ukraine, Russian energy minister Nikolai Shulginov gave an interview addressing the European Commission's taxonomy on sustainable activities — saying he was pleased it kept gas as 'green'.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

News in Brief

  1. France to nationalise nuclear operator amid energy crisis
  2. Instant legal challenge after ok for 'green' gas and nuclear
  3. Alleged Copenhagen shooter tried calling helpline
  4. Socialist leader urges Czech PM to ratify Istanbul convention
  5. Scottish law chief casts doubt on referendum
  6. British PM faces mounting rebellion
  7. Russian military base near Finnish border emptied
  8. Euro slides to lowest level in two decades

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. Legal action looms after MEPs back 'green' nuclear and gas
  2. EU readies for 'complete Russian gas cut-off', von der Leyen says
  3. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  4. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  5. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  6. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record
  7. MEPs adopt new digital 'rule book', amid surveillance doubts
  8. 'World is watching', as MEPs vote on green finance rules

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us