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Policy crossroads: A new video series where MEPs discuss the future of Europe

Date: 30/04/2024

Ahead of the European elections, the EPC is launching the “Policy Crossroads”. This series of short videos features conversations between EPC analysts and Members of the European Parliament on the future of the EU’s strategic direction after June 2024.


Recorded in the European Parliament, these videos focus on policy areas central to the EU’s transformation, internal action, and global role. Conversations delve into priority issues linked to economic security, climate change, agriculture, social Europe, foreign policy, and defence, among others. With this initiative, the EPC aims to enhance awareness of the Parliament's crucial role and its contribution towards building a shared, stable, and sustainable European future.

Episode 1: EU Economic Security

 In the inaugural episode of Policy Crossroads, Paweł Świeboda and Georg Riekeles, EPC experts, engage in dialogue with MEP Bart Groothuis from Renew Europe Group, probe into the evolving landscape of economic security. The exchange revolves around the following questions:

a) Will strategic global competition and the escalating US-China rivalry worsen the economic security landscape, and how do such trends prompt a profound policy shift in Europe?


b) Is economic security adequately prioritised by member states and the European Parliament, and what areas must Europe prioritise to bolster its role?


c) What measures are anticipated in the 2024-2029 EU cycle to fortify economic security, especially in technology and supply chains? How does partnership factor into this strategy?


The world has become a more hostile and volatile place where geopolitics plays out as an integral part of trade and economics. Global strategic competition is shaking the very assumptions of the open market thinking of the European Union, which now needs to take a more assertive geoeconomic turn. As the external environment is transitioning from a rules-based order to a deal-based order, this conversation indicates pathways for the EU to promote its global competitiveness, protect its economy and strategic industrial sectors, and build meaningful partnerships abroad.

Episode 2: The Future of the European Green Deal

Speakers: Sara Matthieu, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance ; Brooke Moore, Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre ; Garvan Walshe, Head of Communications, European Policy Centre

In this second episode of Policy Crossroads, Brooke Moore and Garvan Walshe from the EPC engage in conversation with MEP Sara Matthieu from the Greens – European Free Alliance to explore the challenges with the implementation of the Green Deal during the next mandate. The exchange revolves around the following questions:

a) Where does the disconnect between the EU and public sentiment lie regarding environmental policies? How can the EU bridge this gap effectively?

b) Are objections from the far right solely aimed at the agricultural sector, or do they reflect a wider criticism of the European economic system? What is the biggest challenge to implementing the Green Deal post-elections?

c) How can the Green Deal involve citizens in the transition instead of imposing changes on them? Is there space for increased citizen participation to overcome obstacles and foster inclusion?

Public understanding of environmental policies is generally high, though concerns from sectors like farming highlight specific challenges, such as inequitable subsidy distribution and affordability issues. Efforts to compensate for transition costs lack clear ambition and communication, prompting calls for greater investment in the Green Deal's social dimension. Moreover, budgetary constraints and the rise of far-right ideologies pose significant threats, potentially diverting resources from environmental initiatives. Balancing investment priorities between defense and environmental sustainability is crucial to avoid undermining the transition. Citizens and economic actors must be supported in better understanding the importance of fighting climate change, and in mitigating the costs of the environmental transition. Fears of poor popular support and reluctance among member states to shoulder financial burdens emphasise the need for participatory democracy approaches like climate assemblies to enhance public engagement and policy legitimacy, ensuring the Green Deal's successful implementation.

Key quote from Sara Matthieu: “We are not going to have this big renovation that we need if member states do not put money where their mouth is”.

Follow-up reading: From protests to policy: What is the future for EU agriculture in the green transition?

Episode 3: Towards more holistic policymaking

In this third episode of Policy Crossroads, Elizabeth Kuiper and Danielle Brady from the EPC engage in conversation with MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen from the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) to explore pathways towards an approach that aims to improve societal resilience and steers policymaking in the EU towards multiple economic, social, and environmental goals, rather than only focusing on economic growth.

The exchange revolves around the following questions:

a) What are the achievements of the current mandate with regards to advancing a more holistic approach in policymaking?

 b) As we move further away from the pandemic and in the context of permacrisis, how can we ensure that health remains a priority in the next mandate, especially considering the interconnectedness of health and other policy areas such as the environment, industrial policy, research and innovation, digital health and artificial intelligence, and broader social policies?

c) What action is needed in the next mandate to further shift towards a more holistic policymaking approach and promote an approach that goes beyond economic growth?  

The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the necessity to shift from isolated health policies towards a holistic approach that recognises the interconnectedness of public health, economic security, and climate change. Embracing a holistic policy framework is essential for policymakers to understand the broader impact of their decisions on people's health and societal resilience. 

 In fact, there is a notable disconnect between current economic priorities and broader social and environmental objectives, with traditional models failing to account for factors like mental wellbeing, work quality and environmental degradation. Bridging this gap requires engaging citizens who increasingly feel left behind. Geopolitical concerns like the EU’s defense and security from external threats, should not divert political willingness and budgetary resources away from social and environmental concerns. The EU needs to broaden its understanding of what a functional economic model entails, and to place people’s wellbeing alongside the notions of security, prosperity, and competitiveness.  This entails more holistic policymaking and coordination mechanisms at the EU level, while also combating anti-European sentiments and illiberal movements to ensure the EU's capacity to enact transformative, health-focused, and human-centered policies.  

Key quote from Sirpa Pietikäinen: “The economy is for the purpose, and the purpose is people’s wellbeing”

Episode 4: Foreign and security policy

In this third episode of Policy Crossroads, Amanda Paul and Garvan Walshe from the EPC engage in conversation with MEP David McAllister from the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) delving into the future challenges for the EU’s foreign and security policy. The exchange revolves around the following questions:

a) Is the EU providing sufficient military and practical aid to Ukraine while effectively pressuring Russia's war economy and Putin's resolve, and is the EU prepared for the potential outcomes of a Russian victory?

b) Are European nations, including non-EU states, ready to defend against Russian aggression if US commitment under a potential Trump re-election is uncertain, and are measures in place to bolster Europe's defense capabilities and security infrastructure?

c) More broadly, as the EU increases the resources and attention it devotes to defense, how should this affect EU-NATO relations?

 The EU has shown unprecedented support to Ukraine, encompassing financial, humanitarian, economic, and military aid, committing to help for as long as necessary and whatever it takes. Ukraine urgently needs ammunition, air defense, and long-range missiles to counterbalance Russia's material superiority, and regain momentum on the ground. Despite knowing these needs, European support has been insufficient, risking ceding advantage to Russia, which relies on European delays and hesitancies. Strengthened US support is also crucial, as Ukraine is fighting not only for its territorial integrity and sovereignty, but also for Europe's security and the international peace and security architecture. With defense spending increasing and cooperation improving, Europe is becoming more aware of its geopolitical environment of security threats, and is politically willing to invest in joint defense capabilities. Establishing a European Defense Commissioner and coordinating defense policies and investments, including new joint projects like next-generation tanks and fighter planes, is essential for a robust European defense strategy.

Key quote from David McAllister: “We need to give the Ukrainians what they need. As Europeans we are doing what we can, and yes, we can do more”.

Photo credits:
Matteo Gorgoni

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