European Commission announces policy priorities for next mandate
This week the European Commission published its policy recommendations for the EU’s next strategic agenda from 2019-2024. The Executive’s priorities include measures to strengthen the European Security Union with the goal of developing a “genuine European Defence Union.” This measure is likely to cause further division among those member states who favour stronger defence cooperation and others who resist such efforts.
Ahead of an informal meeting of EU leaders in Romania next week the Commission also recommended that the internal market must be upgraded and modernised and also emphasised the need for a reform agenda to be fully adopted in the next mandate. These measures, it is hoped, will allow the EU to focus on research and innovation when it comes to environmental, social and economic issues, while also investing in key digital capabilities in line with the growth of artificial intelligence.
The European Commission also recommends that the EU accelerate efforts to fortify the position of the euro, embrace the circular economy through the promotion of sustainable consumption practices in light of climate change concerns and calls for measures to be taken to promote social inclusion across Europe.
However, the upcoming European elections are likely to see a rise in Eurosceptic and populist parties at the expense of the ruling EPP and PES blocs which will move the pendulum in terms of EU policy on a range of issues. Furthermore, the significant change in the number of EPP and PES Heads of State and Prime Ministers since 2014 will lead to a vastly different College of Commissioners and quite possibly, a new direction of policy travel to that favoured by the outgoing leadership.