Strategic agenda – Who decides on future orientations?

By the end of this week the European Council has decided on the next President of the European Commission who although he was “Spitzenkandidat” for his political family had not the unanimous support from the own heads of State. But the summit dealt with a document called the “Strategic Agenda for the Union in Times of Change which is in a sense a guideline that was decided on by the head of States becoming a sort of “lettre de mission” (i.e. “mission letter”) before the new Commission’s proposal and the consultation of the European Parliament.

Independently from the relevant issues listed, it turns out that there is a clear indication of the dominant Intergovernmental Method prevailing over the Community Method. As they a quoted in the document the Union will have to tackle challenges like unemployment, in particular youth unemployment, ageing population and demographic trends, growing inequalities, climate change, migration flows and radicalisation and terrorism after all.

But the agreement on the issues does not mean an agreement on the way to tackle the issues! The remedies are not new: “growth friendly fiscal consolidation” (which is in itself contradictory) and a “favorable investment environment”, “full potential of the single market”, REFIT and the “Compact for Growth and Jobs”.

Europe needs investment and an interpretation of the Stability and Growth Pact which does not undermine the investment capacity of member states as the informal European summit of Progressive European leaders called for last Saturday in Paris.

If this paper becomes the next guideline for the new Commission the consequence will be that the revision of Europe2020 Strategy will end like the adaptation of the Lisbon-Strategy ten years ago: without any conditionality of “smart, sustainable and inclusive” jobs and growth. Progressives in Politics, Trade Unions and Civil Society shall ask “has nothing been learned?” and will call for change like SOLIDAR has done with its key demands for change voted in our General Assembly on Tuesday in Brussels.