Summary: EU Commission President Barroso: A Citizen's Agenda - Delivering Results for Europe (Brussels, 10 May 2006)
Hereafter, some of the elements that President Barroso used to introduce the Commission's paper on the Future of Europe which was adopted on 10 May 2006.
Vice-President Wallström has outlined the analysis of the situation we face and the starting point for our work.
The Union needs to go further: through a policy driven agenda which addresses the expectations of EU citizens.
We need to deliver results through a citizens' agenda for Europe.
Today, we have adopted our proposal for the citizens' agenda.
The Communication proposes twelve initiatives, centred on
- First, the single market;
- Second, solidarity, access and sustainability;
- Third, security;
- Fourth, enlargement;
- Fifth, the role of the EU in the world.
I will not go through them all.
Let me just pick out some examples to illustrate our thinking.
The single market has brought huge benefits to Europe's citizens. Just recently, we have had to take up the issue of roaming fees. Without our action, citizens would still be waiting to reap the benefits of the single market in mobile telephoning.
But there are still barriers which restrict citizens' access, opportunity and choice.
We will therefore undertake a comprehensive review of the single market, to be completed next year. There is unfinished business, in areas as diverse as energy, banking charges or roaming fees. And there are new areas for work such as to make it easier for citizens in one country to obtain insurance in another.
Citizens also say they want greater solidarity and support to help them adapt to globalisation.
There are indeed radical changes under way in our societies. The EU must continue to develop policies for this. The development of the single market must go hand in hand with the development of cohesion. Citizens expect modern solutions such as the Globalisation Adjustment Fund. They also wish to have better access to the rights they enjoy under the existing treaties. Rights such as the right to live and work anywhere in Europe, rights to social protection and so on.
To respond to these concerns, the Commission will launch an agenda for solidarity and access together with the single market review. And it will explore the possibility of developing an "entitlement" card. This would enable every European citizen to be aware of and enjoy full access to their existing rights.
Europe must also respond to citizens concerns over security.
People are asking for "more Europe" in order to combat terrorism and organised crime. They know that the efficient answer to these challenges is the European answer.
The Commission has agreed today to my proposal to improve decision-making and accountability in areas such as police and judicial cooperation and migration. This can be done under the existing Treaty provisions by transferring such areas from the third pillar to the first pillar by applying the Community method to them.
What we are trying to achieve in practice?
We want more effective action. Action to combat crime, fight terrorism and deal with trafficking in persons and offences against children. We want closer co-operation between police forces, customs authorities and judicial authorities. A good example for what we need is the European evidence warrant.
We cannot wait for another terrorist attack before we have effective joint action across Europe to fight terrorism,
Let me turn to enlargement. It has been one of the greatest successes of the EU. At each enlargement there have been doubts. But each time the EU has emerged stronger and more confident.
The starting point of our future approach is that we must honour existing commitments. At the same time, we must respond to questions about its pace and scope.
This will be part of our enlargement strategy report for the December European Council.
In 2001, when they met in Laeken, EU leaders called for a clear, open, effective, democratically controlled Community approach delivering a Europe which points the way ahead for the world.
This remains as valid today as it did five years ago.
But it is clear that there is as yet no consensus on this either amongst citizens or Europe's leaders.
Let me be clear: the Commission is and remains committed to the principles and values of the Constitution.
What we have to do is set the conditions that will provide the opportunity for a future institutional settlement.
The Commission has today suggested a twin track approach.
On the one hand, we have to step up our delivery of the citizens' agenda.
On the other, we believe that as a first step towards an institutional settlement, EU leaders should adopt a political declaration which not only sets out principles and values, but also an obligation to engage and to deliver. It should be signed by the Member States but also the Commission and the European Parliament.
This solemn declaration should serve as the basis for decisions by the European Council on a process designed to lead to a future institutional settlement.
The review of the Union's budget will be a further step in this process.
In this context, further development of our better regulation efforts, our commitment to subsidiarity, openness and transparency will be vigorously pursued.
I believe that the communication that we have adopted today offers the Union the best opportunity to regain the confidence of its citizens.
Citizens have made it clear that they don't want an institutional debate for institutional sake. They want an institutional debate for policy progress.
It offers an opportunity for a policy agenda to move Europe forward, through a Europe of results.
It is an agenda based both on an ambitious challenge and on a refreshed partnership: an agenda that requires a concerted effort by Member States and the EU institutions alike.
Today, a new phase of commitment to Europe must begin: The Commission is ready to take up the challenge of invigorating the citizens' Europe. We challenge the other players to take up the challenge and to match our ambition.