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Europe as it is made…

Newsletter Special European Elections June 2024

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Matelly, S. “Europe as it is made…”, Newsletter Special European Elections, Jacques Delors Institute, June 2024

May is a special month in Europe, with many public holidays, but it is also when we celebrate Europe Day. Indeed, 9 May 1950 is a founding date, since it was on this day that Robert Schuman, in the aftermath of the Second World War, called for the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the ECSC, to create interdependence between countries that would make war impossible. ‘For peace to have a chance, there must first be a Europe’, he explained.

With the European elections only a few days away and war on Europe’s doorstep for the past 2 years, this year’s celebration had a very special resonance. All over Europe, at the same time, there is a particularly destabilising sense of the concerns of citizens, who are calling for a united and protective Europe, and a temptation to take a break from this integration, which was expressed a few months ago in the agricultural protests and could lead, in a few days, to a populist wave, bringing an unprecedented number of far-right MEPs to the European Parliament. A sad lapse in European memory? In her May blogpost, Nicole Gnesotto reminds us that No, there are no ‘good’ populists. It is also against this electoral backdrop that Andreas Eisl has produced an analysis of the economic programmes of the main parties for the 2024 elections. In it, he lists the common ground and the dividing lines in the visions of the Union’s economic policy as proposed by the various lists running. This analysis is particularly useful to consult before making your choice on 9 June, as are our two infographics on Why the European Parliament matters? and European elections 2024: guidelines, which are suggested reading in this newsletter.

Beyond the electoral stakes, the Jacques Delors Institute and our two sister organisations, the Jacques Delors Centre in Berlin and Europe Jacques Delors in Brussels, have already been working for several months on the post-election period. Once again, our work has covered a wide range of subjects. The infographic on The European Pact for Migration and Asylum: what responses to the challenges of irregular migration and asylum gives an overview of the logic and general architecture of this pact adopted by the European Council on 23 April. It also outlines the division of powers between the European institutions and the Member States – and provides many statistics to give a clearer picture of the reality of migration in Europe. These are useful reminders and data in the context of an electoral debate that is often tense on these issues.

Europe Jacques Delors, which looks at possible avenues for a more sustainable and inclusive agricultural trade in Europe. Towards a more inclusive, sustainable, and cooperative EU agricultural trade: Lessons from practice reminds us that while Europe is undoubtedly a pioneer in sustainable development, it must use its trade policy to promote environmental action and the sustainability of the global food system. He proposes several avenues for a more inclusive and cooperative approach to EU trade agreements. Arthur Leichthammer, Policy Fellow at the Jacques Delors Centre in Berlin, stresses the strategic dimension of our dependence, particularly on critical raw materials to European industry and in the context of the energy transition. He explains the extent to which this dependence, not only because it is diversified but also because it is currently being played out in the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the rivalry between China and the United States, means that Europeans urgently need to understand their place and role in global geopolitics that is both more complex and more decisive. It warns of the risk that stated ambitions may lead to the wrong instruments being used. Concerned about the lack of dedicated resources, he points out that while reducing dependency is a sensible objective, total independence is neither possible nor desirable, and partnerships and cooperation can offer useful alternatives.

Finally, for our Institute, May also marks the end of the year for the young members of the Académie Notre Europe and the time for their final session at the Jacques Delors Conference. This year’s conference was a tribute to Jacques Delors and, against the backdrop of the elections, it provided an opportunity for diplomats based in Paris to exchange views on European democracy and the issues at stake in the elections, as well as for candidates to discuss the legacy of Jacques Delors. With that event in mind, Sofia Fernandes and Inès Saidji published an infographic on Young people and the 2024 European elections. It shows that the image of the European Union remains very positive in most European countries, and much more positive overall than for the rest of the European population. It also shows that 63% of young people under 25 intend to vote this June. Such a turnout would be unprecedented if it were to be achieved… Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Our young people at the Académie put all their energy into convincing their friends and family through workshops and presentations in secondary schools. As they do every year, they also led the debates at the Jacques Delors Conference. We thank them and congratulate them on their commitment.

And remember to vote !

Sylvie Matelly 

Director of the Jacques Delors Institute