Germany, France present EU reform proposal as bloc prepares for new members

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France and Germany connected Tuesday volition contiguous their associated transportation connected however the EU could accommodate to caller members during a gathering of European affairs ministers successful Brussels.

The 2 countries' report, authored by 12 French and German experts, pitches a betterment of the EU's institutions, treaties and fund arsenic countries specified as Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkans hole to articulation the bloc.

"We present person unit - for geostrategic reasons - to deliberation astir the enlargement of the EU, particularly to Ukraine, which has consequences for the EU institutions, policies and budget," Olivier Costa, Director of Studies astatine the College of Europe and 1 of the report's co-rapporteurs, told Euronews.

The authors accidental tighter rules connected regularisation of law, caller voting procedures successful the European Council, and a bigger EU fund could beryllium among the indispensable reforms. 

They besides suggest "differentiation" betwixt 4 tiers of a broader bloc, including a tier of "associate" countries that subscribe to the EU's principles and azygous marketplace without becoming full-fledged EU members.

France and Germany's Europe ministers, Laurence Boone and Anna Lührmann, are expected to contiguous the insubstantial to ministers successful Brussels contiguous arsenic a imaginable roadmap for enlargement, earlier the EU's 27 heads of authorities see it during an informal acme successful Granada, Spain, adjacent month.

It comes arsenic the EU enlargement statement intensifies, with European Council President Charles Michel mounting a 2030 target for the bloc to beryllium prepared to judge caller members.

Phased integration

The paper, archetypal reported connected by Contexte, references the well-known conception of gradually 'phasing in' campaigner countries into EU policies. In August, Michel named energy, the azygous marketplace and information and defence arsenic immoderate of the argumentation areas for progressive integration.

It besides pitches a multi-tiered bloc composed of an interior ellipse of prime EU countries, the EU itself, "associate members" of the azygous market, and the 44-country European Political Community arsenic an outer tier. 

"Maybe immoderate countries extracurricular the EU don't privation to articulation arsenic a afloat subordinate oregon cannot bash that, and they would admit being associated successful different way," Costa explained.

"And possibly immoderate countries wrong the EU don't privation to determination guardant connected immoderate policies and there's a request to let a "coalition of the willing" to bash more," helium added. "We whitethorn adjacent beryllium successful a concern wherever immoderate existent subordinate states would not beryllium funny anymore successful being successful an EU of that kind, oregon would consciousness much comfy successful different circle."

The connection suggests a tiny conjugation of "willing" EU countries should beryllium capable to determination up with argumentation and spending decisions adjacent if different EU members are not successful agreement.

Treaty, decision-making and electoral reforms

The insubstantial sets retired ideas that would let the EU to enlarge without needfully changing its treaties, which would necessitate the unanimous backing of the 27 subordinate states and a lengthy ratification process.

It besides floats a imaginable "supplementary betterment treaty" that would let the "willing" subordinate states to determination guardant with pact betterment without the backing of much sceptical countries.

One of the different contentious issues is however to accommodate the EU's decision-making procedures to guarantee a bloc of 30 oregon much countries could green-light argumentation decisions.

The authors urge much bulk voting alternatively than unanimity voting successful the Council, including connected cardinal overseas argumentation and defence decisions. This would mean EU countries would nary longer beryllium capable to veto decisions specified arsenic economical sanctions, arms proviso oregon fiscal enactment to Ukraine, arsenic Hungary has done successful the past. 

They besides suggest changing the bulk ballot thresholds to 60% of countries representing 60% of the EU population, from the current 55% of countries representing 65% of the population.

The European Parliament should beryllium kept to a maximum 751 seats, and the European elections should beryllium made accordant crossed subordinate states, the study says. It besides recommends reducing the fig of EU Commissioners oregon introducing a hierarchy wrong the College to guarantee swifter decision-making.

Budget overhaul and regularisation of law

The study besides tackles the thorny contented of the EU's fund and backing organisation successful a bigger Union. 

"If Ukraine joins the EU, astir subordinate states volition abruptly go nett contributors and volition not get immoderate much wealth and everything volition determination toward the east," Costa explained, "so if we privation to hole that situation, we request much budget."

The fund would request to beryllium bigger successful size, the insubstantial says, with much flexibility connected spending decisions and associated indebtedness instruments. Smaller groups of EU countries wrong the bloc could besides marque "intergovernmental financing agreements" to determination guardant with their ain spending plans.

An enlarged EU would besides request stricter rules to support the halfway EU values of ideology and regularisation of law, the insubstantial says. Current campaigner countries, including Ukraine, indispensable ace down connected corruption, instrumentality judicial reforms and fortify media state arsenic portion of the accession process, but galore fearfulness these precise values are being undermined by the bloc's members. 

The study pitches much powers for the EU to authorisation subordinate countries for regularisation of instrumentality breaches and different behaviours specified arsenic wealth laundering, by withholding funds oregon excluding countries from decision-making procedures.

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