last informal EU27 leaders’ meeting of the current legislative period took
place on 9 May 2019 in Sibiu under the Romanian Presidency. The outgoing
Juncker Commission took the opportunity to once again attract media attention.
In the lead-up to the summit, it published an overview of the successes achieved
in the last legislative period in a paper entitled ‘Europe in May 2019: Preparing for a more united, stronger and more
democratic Union in an increasingly uncertain world’. The paper is intended as
a guide to assist the new Commission to build on past successes and to focus on
various policy areas such as tackling climate change and strengthening the euro
paper focuses on the EU’s strategic agenda 2015-2019 with the 10 Commission
priorities for a strong and united
Europe, thus building on previous key issues. Current issues on the agenda
include employment growth and competition, protection and security for EU
citizens, the development of the Energy Union, ensuring lasting peace, and
positioning the EU as a strong global partner.
What has been achieved?
the 20 most important achievements are the European Fund for Strategic Investments,
the Stability and Growth Pact, the ban on disposable plastics, trade agreements
with Japan (JAFTA) and Canada (CETA), while the introduction of the European Labour
Authority is the only social policy success.
total, the Juncker Commission made 471 new legislative proposals over the last
five years, of which 348 were adopted or agreed by the European Parliament and
the Council. Juncker himself recommends that the new Commission focus on only a
select few but crucial tasks. Although the EU managed to successfully overcome
the economic and Greek crisis, partly due to a noticeable upward convergence,
general prosperity is unequally distributed among the Union’s citizens. He also
noted that social policy should be given a higher priority.
What remains unresolved?
paper also lists unfinished business. This will be negotiated in the next
legislative period. The EU continues to seek final agreement on a balanced
budget, reform of the European asylum system, modern tax rules to simplify
business in the single market and new tax rules to prevent multinationals from
reform of the coordination of social security systems also remains unresolved.
The Commission proposal of December 2016 could not be adopted due to a lack of
agreement between the Member States (see article Apr 2019).
remains to be seen what the new European Commission will promise the Union’s
citizens in terms of future prospects and priorities.