EPC end of year message20 December 2016
Dear members and friends of EPC,
As 2016 draws to a close, I would like to thank all of you for your loyal support over the last year, which has been crucial for the EPC to enable us to continue to deepen our impact on EU policy-making and further develop our convening power.
It has been an excellent year for the EPC. In October we celebrated our twentieth anniversary as a think tank with a very successful high-level conference involving the presidents of the major EU institutions. The debate centred around a major EPC publication EU@60 - Countering a regressive and illiberal Europe by Janis A. Emmanouilidis and myself, in which we analyse the current state of the Union and the growing threat of an increasingly illiberal and regressive Europe, which is undermining the fundamental values on which the EU was founded and threatening the very existence of the Union.
As we look forward to 2017 and the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the ongoing poly-crisis is casting a shadow on the celebrations and the EU’s many achievements. Against this background, the EPC will step up its work in 2017 on what needs to be done to secure the long-term future of the Union in the light of the many challenges facing it: populism, aggressive nationalism, rising intolerance and xenophobia, growing distrust of traditional political parties, institutions and élites, widening inequalities and increased economic and political divergence across member states. Building on the Eu@60 publication, we will be looking at the causes of Europe’s malaise and possible solutions whilst putting forward a counter-narrative to those who wish to see the Union fail.
Through the New Pact for Europe project, the EPC and its member state think tanks and foundation partners will help draw up a “package deal” of proposals in the form of a European Reflection Report that will be put to EU leaders at the end of 2017.
Any debate on the future of Europe has to include the social dimension. There is an urgent need to address the growing sentiment among large swathes of Europe’s population that they are being left behind in the face of unstoppable technological change and globalisation. In 2017 EPC will increase its focus on the social pillar, including the future of welfare and how to strengthen social progress and inclusive growth.
2017 will be a year of change in many key member states with a number of elections on the cards, including the French and German national elections. The EPC will organise briefings on the outcome of the major elections through its Elections Monitor series and, of course, we will continue to monitor developments on BREXIT, as they arise, and assess their wider impact in the EU and global context. The EPC will also look into the possibility of a Franco-German deal on EMU after the elections in those countries.
Through our ongoing programmes we will bring you events and analysis on a whole range of policy issues, including climate, energy, migration, the single market, the digital economy, the EU budget, enlargement with a focus on the Western Balkans and Turkey, as well as the challenges to Europe’s security posed by radicalisation and terrorism.
We will also embark on a major new project in 2017, “Connecting Europe” with Stiftung Mercator, which will be creating further linkages with a variety of stakeholders at member state level and enable the EPC to take its work to the next level. The EPC will thus be further consolidating its position in the world of think tanks in Brussels and beyond and deepening its close relations to foundations, building on the EPC’s long-standing partnership with the King Baudouin Foundation.
Finally, not only will we be expanding with some additional senior appointments in 2017, including strengthening our communications team, we will also expand our premises in Rue du Trône, taking on another floor, and will be investing in key support services, including in ICT, financial management and accounting.
Despite the dark clouds on Europe’s horizon, the EPC looks forward with confidence to 2017, ready to defend the values that unite us. We look forward to working with all our members in 2017 and to supporting the long-term future of Europe.
With my very best wishes for the festive season,
European Policy Centre