Writing in two paragraphs which are the main challenges for Europe is far from being an easy task. For sure there are many policy areas in which Europe should be able to give its contribution both internally (e.g. by increasing the solidarity and cooperation among the peoples of Europe), and internationally (e.g. by rising its profile with regards to the old and new powers).
However as any bright student, EU’s main challenge is not only to think to what it could do, but most likely to what it wants to do. The Lisbon Treaty even though could significantly improve the governability of the EU, it fails in giving Europeans a definition of what the European Project is. More importantly little effort has been put in drafting such definition in an open pan-European debate.
Since the early days of its existence the ECC has moved incrementally to new competences but while obtaining major results in a wide range of areas, it has failed in sharing them with its citizens. If it is true that what make democracies strong is their legitimacy, and that what makes democracies work is public participation, both cannot live without citizen’s awareness of a shared vision and of its past achievements. These are the seeds of individual engagement in the management of the res publica. In this sense EU’s effectiveness cannot escape from these dynamics. On the other hand Member States’ ability to achieve their promised goals locally are challenged by their limited capacity to influence global outcomes, which require additional legitimacy at global or regional level. The management of this vicious circle which is set to affect both citizens’ participation and the very same concept of democratic governance is without doubt the main challenge that the EU need to face in the coming years.
Background Information: the Reflection Group on the Future of Europe was established under the Conclusions of the European Council; its work started in December 2008 and it is due to complete its report by June 2010.