EU Commission reflects on past success.

IF – 05/2019

The 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 area.


The 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?

Among 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.

In 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?

The 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 tax avoidance.

The 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).

It remains to be seen what the new European Commission will promise the Union’s citizens in terms of future prospects and priorities.