European Union institutions are not always willing to adopt a long-term vision, Associate Director of European Policy Centre Elizabeth Kuiper told EURACTIV.cz in an interview where she reflected on the takeaways of last year’s Conference on the Future of Europe.
In Kuiper’s view, Czechia’s stint at the helm of the six-month rotating EU Council presidency was very successful, though it could have done more on EU reform, particularly with regard to the Conference on the Future of Europe.
“If I were to mention a file where perhaps the Czechs could have put a bit more passion, it is indeed the Conference on the future of Europe,” she told EURACTIV.cz.
“They only did what was needed to do,” Kuiper added.
The Conference on the future of Europe proved that “citizens are willing to work on the European project and come up with ideas,” she added.
“It also shows that the EU institutions are not always willing to take long-term visions. A lot of the proposals would require treaty change and for many countries, it is very tricky, because it involves difficult decisions which have to be done at home,” she said.
For politicians it is not easy to explain to the public that such a costly and lengthy process is actually needed, she added.
Regarding talk in Europe on a defence union or strategic autonomy, for example, Kuiper pointed out that there is a lack of debate about what such things mean in practice. She also pointed to EU reform discussions also having to be linked to the enlargement process.
“Of course, it is great to see Ukraine making great progress in the accession process, but a lot of work to do remains for the internal dynamics of the EU,” Kuiper said.
“We need to think about what it would mean to have other countries joining the EU. If we disconnect this discussion from the internal EU reforms, it will create problems.”
(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)