As we prepare to mark the 60th anniversary of the EU, we look back on a peace spanning seven decades and on an enlarged Union of 500 million citizens living in freedom in one of the world’s most prosperous economies. At the same time, the EU has to look forward at how it will carve a vision for its own future at 27. The White Paper sets out the main challenges and opportunities for Europe in the coming decade. It presents five scenarios for how the Union could evolve by 2025 depending on how it chooses to respond.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “60 years ago, Europe’s founding fathers chose to unite the continent with the force of the law rather than with armed forces. We can be proud of what we have achieved since then. Our darkest day in 2017 will still be far brighter than any spent by our forefathers on the battlefield. As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, it is time for a united Europe of 27 to shape a vision for its future. It’s time for leadership, unity and common resolve. The Commission’s White Paper presents a series of different paths this united EU at 27 could choose to follow. It is the start of the process, not the end, and I hope that now an honest and wide-ranging debate will take place. The form will then follow the function. We have Europe’s future in our own hands.”
The White Paper looks at how Europe will change in the next decade, from the impact of new technologies on society and jobs, to doubts about globalisation, security concerns and the rise of populism. It spells out the choice we face: being swept along by those trends, or embracing them and seizing the new opportunities they bring. Europe’s population and economic weight is falling as other parts of the world grow. By 2060, none of our Member States will account for even 1% of the world’s population – a compelling reason for sticking together to achieve more. A positive global force, Europe’s prosperity will continue to depend on its openness and strong links with its partners.
The White Paper sets out five scenarios, each offering a glimpse into the potential state of the Union by 2025 depending on the choices Europe will make (see Annex). The scenarios cover a range of possibilities and are illustrative in nature. They are neither mutually exclusive, nor exhaustive.