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Magda Stoczkiewicz is director at Friends of the Earth Europe, an environmental NGO.
The EU is limping to the end of an annus horribilis that followed the UK’s vote to become the first country to leave the Union. A troika of populist storms hit the EU – the Brexit referendum one year ago today; extreme right, racist parties making serious bids for the reins of government in the Netherlands, Austria and France, and anti-democratic developments in Hungary and Poland; and Trump taking up residence in the White House with consequences for Europe and the whole world.
The positive outcome of the EU being plunged into this crisis of identity is an overdue debate about the future and the values of Europe.
One would hope that this debate would be an ideal opportunity to address the lack of connection between the EU and its citizens and to start to restore public confidence.
Yet, the Juncker Commission has refrained from talking about ‘what kind of Europe’ we need and focused on narrow, uninspiring questions about levels of integration: whether the EU should carry on, or do more, or do less. All of President Juncker’s five scenarios for the future of Europe neglect the crucial elements of ‘what kind of Europe we want’ and ‘who it is for’.