This paper reflects the position of the S&D Group, as the most progressive and pro-European family in the European Parliament, on the constitutional future of Europe. It also intends to offer a first contribution –as regards the institutional dimension –to the Conference on the Future of Europe, expected to start in the autumn of 2020.
This exercise comes two decades after the launch of the last official debate on the future of Europe (European Council of Nice, 2000,followed in 2001 by the Laeken Declaration). We believe our European constitutional framework requires an update on its contents (policies), resources, decision-making (procedures)and democratic legitimacy, thus resulting in a stronger, more perfect political union. These three dimensions are closely connected, since we realise that the implementation of our ambitious progressive agenda in the social and ecological fields depends also on more democratic and efficient decision-making at the European level. Some of these improvements can be made within the Lisbon Treaty, that must be explored to the maximum, others require its reform.
In this regard, we are cognisant that crises are also opportunities for further European integration and sovereignty. This proposal will allow our Union, in a changed Europe and world, to focus on the big transnational challenges, such as inequalities, pandemics, climate change, migration, digitalisation, terrorism and foreign affairs and security, among others, in full respect of the principle of subsidiarity and of a well-functioning balance between national and European competencies, particularly as regards national and regional roles in fields like education, culture, sports, pensions, etc. An equally importance balance to preserve is the one between big and small member states. We reaffirm the great potential of engaging with the European citizens through the Conference on the Future of Europe, as an open-ended process with no pre-defined conclusions, the primary aim of which is to establish new ways of interaction and dialogue with a wide range of our society, in order to develop joint proposals for a better future in the EU.S&D