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Newsletter September 2023

The European rentrée’s countdown : 7 days, 5 weeks and 10 months

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Letta E. 2023. « The European rentrée’s countdown : 7 days, 5 weeks and 10 months », Newsletter, Paris : Jacques Delors Institute, September.

September is synonymous with the start of the new academic and institutional year. For the European Union, it is also the start of the countdown to next June’s European elections, when citizens will renew their representatives for another five years. In exactly seven days’ time, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will deliver her State of the Union Speech in Strasbourg. The aim is to announce the major projects for the last year of her term of office. While support for Ukraine should be reaffirmed, European issues such as the negotiation of the Stability and Growth Pact, enlargement, and migration remain key points. Beyond the address, the management of the EU Green Deal following the departure of Frans Timmermans will also be closely monitored by MEPs. In parallel with this European political event, the Franco-German expert group (which includes our vice-president Christine Verger and our colleague from Berlin, Thu Nguyen) will be announcing its conclusions and ideas for reforming the European institutions in September.

In five weeks’ time, the Polish elections on October 15th will be a determining factor in the European political balance of power. Warsaw, that its support to Ukraine has strategically put forward, has been obstructing Brussels for several years now. Tensions over the rule of law are still high. While the ultraconservatives of the PiS remain the favourites, the recent results in Spain, with the conservatives’ half-hearted victory, show that we should not always trust the polls, which are currently predicting a close election. October will also be an important month for discussions on EU enlargement. The European Commission will publish a written assessment of the progress made and recommendations for candidate countries such as Ukraine, while the 27 heads of state and government will discuss the issue in Granada.

Ten months to go before the European elections. The election campaign will undoubtedly set the discussions in the European Council and Parliament, which promise to be sometimes heated and very tense (as was the case with the vote on the nature restoration bill before the summer). Our Institute will be keeping a close eye on European developments and proposals in order to contribute to this unique exercise in European democracy.

Enrico Letta

President of the Jacques Delors Institute