Reports 2016

Making sense of Europe’s cohesion challenge: The EU Cohesion Monitor and the path of the EU28

8 September 2016


The member states of the European Union (EU) and their societies share a variety of diverse linkages. Over the past decades these connections have shaped Europe more profoundly than is often assumed. The EU Cohesion Monitor, a pioneering study by the European Council on Foreign Relations and Stiftung Mercator under their Rethink: Europe initiative, illustrates that even after years of crises EU cohesion is more resilient than commonly perceived.

The monitor illustrates that cohesion is not static but subject to constant change. This is particularly true for the Southern and Eastern EU member states. In the years of the financial crisis, according to the study, the European south has significantly lost in cohesion, while Eastern and Central European countries have shown a strong positive development. How can this be explained and what does this tell us with respect to future potential developments? What do these findings mean for Europe today, where the refugee crisis and UK referendum on leaving the EU have come as an additional challenge to the political cohesion of the EU, exposing divisions within and between member states?

These and other questions were addressed at this Policy Dialogue. The panel discussed the findings of the EU Cohesion Monitor in the context of current developments in Europe and took part in an interactive Q&A session.

Speakers included: Giovanni Grevi, Senior Fellow, European Policy Centre; Josef Janning, Head of European Council on Foreign Relations’ Berlin office and Senior Policy Fellow; Danuta Maria Hübner, Member of the European Parliament; Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs; Paweł Świeboda, Deputy Head of the European Political Strategy Centre, European Commission; Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Director of Studies, European Policy Centre