eu-birthdayThe EU is 25 years old. It was born on 7 February 1992, when the Treaty of Maastricht was signed by 12 European heads of state and government. Now, admittedly, it’s not the happiest birthday ever; the EU is beset by all sorts of challenges (including a messy divorce with Great Britain).

Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to reflect about the future. One of our most popular debates of 2016 asked readers to tell us what they thought Europe should look like in twenty years. So, as the EU closes its eyes, blows out its candles and makes a wish, what sort of future should it hope for?

EU leaders are asking themselves the exact same question. Of course, the process of European integration is much older than just 25 years. The 60-year-anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, establishing the European Economic Community (the precursor to the EU), also takes place this year. In March, the European Commission has said it will publish a White Paper on its future vision for the EU, including reforms to the Euro and ways to better manage the “political and democratic challenges” facing Europe.

25 years since Maastricht, where does the EU go from here? What should be in the European Commission’s White Paper on the future of Europe? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Thomas Hawk

128 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • Clara Esteves

      A project to be improved. It`s the right moment to check all the political ideas, what is right or wrong. I am sure this is the very best moment of understanding what needs to be changed in order to keep PEACE in Europe. Equality of rights and respect for all the countries are very important, according with the principle that all the countries are equal.

  1. Ta

    Due to policy austerities, lack of a social agenda, unwillingness to focus on the people and obsessively focusing on figures, Europe will disintegrate sooner or later. All we see is rise of far right and fascist movements, entrenchments and conservative approaches. It is beyond salvation and we have to thank capitalism for that once again….

    • Clara Esteves

      I agree with Ta. We have to think of PEOPLE and not only of FIGURES, otherwise fascism will come soon.

    • Mike Grek

      Europe must put Europeans first,and stop fake bad Russia,lazy Greeks and other myths and see the situation and deal with it,stop supporting Syrian terrorists and help establish peace,promote more work opportunities to europeans inside theyr countrys.
      To do that we need new politicians,patriots,with new ideas that will do theyr best for Europe.

  2. Cris Dracou

    Unification of Europe, was the best act ever took place in Europe. Europe is our home, let us love her!

    • Paul X

      The best thing to love about Europe is its diversity…. which is something the EU has been gradually eroding for 25 years

    • Karolina

      So, if you like diversity, why do you want to get rid of Poles and Romanias, Paul?

    • Karolina


    • Paul X

      For the record my use of the word diversity was referring to the countries of Europe, their cultures & social attitudes…. I have never said I want to “get rid of Poles and Romanians” and fail to see how your comment has anything to do with diversity except for trying to provoke (yet another) argument about immigration

    • Karolina

      Just trying to make sense of the entirety of your comments, Paul, but…I don;t think there is any. Just like in genuine propaganda.

  3. Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

    Those of us who worked for it to happen 25 years ago must say that we thought of a Europe of the people, governed by the people and for the people, not the vested interests non-voted EU governance of today.

  4. Florin Ivan

    No need europe ….Europe islamic ….Europe poor est rich west good & fuel dame orice …..

  5. David Wright

    Gone too far left for its own good. Too many washed out so called politicians on the gravy train. Suggest change or dismantle.

  6. Dimitri Dragounis

    It goes to its destruction. The majority of EU citizens hate the institution and the burocrates who steal our money. I wish nothing but death to this monster called EU. EU destroyed my country. We work for 300€ per month while in the north everybody gets payed 2000€. The EU destroyed Greece and we want out of it.

  7. Pavlos Papathanasiou

    Where does the EU go from here?!?! Do you need to ask? Straight to the HELL and to its DESTRUCTION, excactly where it deserves to! If you the corrupted elites and neoliberal monsters of Brussels, Frankfurt etc dare to allow referenda in most of the countries about EU participation the verdict would be “OUT”! Even in Greece with the the corrupted and Europhile Media that used the worst pro-EU propaganda (well paid of course) even themselves now admitt that day by day that the GREXIT is the leading trend in our society!

    • Paulo Monteiro

      Portugueses e Gregos a mesma luta contra Bruxelas e a Tróica.

    • ta

      Got that right! I think us Greeks have not come to realise yet that either in a eurozone without euros in our pockets or outside the eurozone, we will still be poor, so what’s the point in remaining and selling out whatever has been left of our country….

    • Jakub Master-xotox Kovacs

      Getting Out will not help Greece. Result will be even bigger depression. Without backing of others, Greece has no chance of borrowing any money.

    • Stefania Portici

      Jakub Master-xotox Kovacs la Grecia è già in depressione dentro la UE. Se dovesse uscire significa che è crollata la UE . Tolta la UE ,si toglie anche l’euro . Se l’euro non c’è più la Grecia non può ripagare il debito in euro dunque non ha più bisogno di prenderlo in prestito.

    • Karolina

      Pavlos, do you understand what the word “might” in the title means?

    • Stefania Portici

      l’articolo mi sembra esatto , solo che nella UE non ci sono vincitori e vinti, si è una squadra e quando si perde si perde TUTTI cosa che non ha capito la Germania che ANCORA sta lavorando contro tutti e CONTINUA a fare tranelli per derubare i suoi partner

  8. Zsuzsanna Griga

    Hopefully not on the path that its very idiotic left liberal leaders have set as a course for us…

  9. Georgi Parushev

    Where goes Europe after 25 years !? – goes to nowhere, goes to hell with the immigrants and the corrupted leaders following the rules of the neo liberal open society of the Clintons & Soros and the “fake news ” of CNN / Clinton Network News/ . Enough with that Europe. But Putin and Trump will teach Europe a good lesson soon, and Europe will be staying in the corner like a punished dog…..

  10. Fernando Fuster-Fabra Fdz.

    Less ideology and more ideas ……. Some comments are just made to irk the other side. the EU has space for all that wish to share their talent towards a commong goal – quality of life in a sustainable world.

  11. Daniel Parvanov

    Yes and they ask us the people…. and that is good cause people should be asked, not forced in a narrative or agenda….

  12. Carlos Fonseca

    May be, in Maastricht is the city starter for what we are suffering now. May be has been the time for a big, big illusion.

  13. Bencsik András

    Our prime minister Viktor Orban several times suggested how to solve some problems of EU. For example migrant crisis! Nobody payed no attention to him, nobody listened to reason, nobody helped – except for V4 countries and Austria – to Hungary to close the external border of Union! What kind of alliance is EU, where the members don’t help to each other but criticize that who starts to solve the problems alone?!

    • Ta

      Your prime minister has adopted a far from humanitarian stance, I am sorry to say. Is it the regugees fault? They are the victims of neoliberal policies…. Instead of supporting them in solidarity, since they have fled their countries, they have escaped capitalists bombs, your prime minister together with other fascist prime ministers closed the borders, trapping thos people in and forcing refugees to take other more dangerous even paths….

  14. Pedro Vaz

    It goes nowhere simply because people will not accept their genocide by ethnic replacement.

  15. John Keogh

    The next step would be a European Republic. I beleive the people are ready to commit to peace and prosperity and a republican constitution to back it up.

  16. Stefania Portici

    come è nato il 3% di Maastricht ….dai francesi , senza nessuna base scientifica ,senza nessuna riflessione teorica. Noi TUTTI siamo morti per questo ? Condoglianze

    how did the 3% Maastricht …. by the French, without any scientific basis, without any theoretical reflection. We ALL have died for this? Condolence

    • Stefania Portici

      come si risolve ? Buttandio via tutte queste porcherie

      how do you solve? Buttandio away all this garbage

  17. Panagiotopoulos George

    hey psychos of brussels, we want europe , but not this europe.You are confusing free trade, of minds, services, and goods, with corporatism, we cannot sustain a europe , when 3 countries blackmail the rest and exploit the rest. The union of the currency is the problem…and now you want european army, against what you psychos?you think we have time as a race to play this war games, blackmailing eachother for pushing the agenda elite. ?The transfer of power from the politicians to the elite sorros puppets is the problem, no other time in history the leaders of this union are so far away from the real problems of the people they pretend to represent.See how Germany treats Greece, Italy, Spain, Britain, Soible “a person” saying to a whole country hard brexit or no brexit?Who are these people, who they really represent?Bring back equality, and solidarity in europe, or this union, in this form is going down

    • Karolina

      George, the position of the Greek government in Brussels is hard Brexit or no Brexit.

    • Paul X

      Which bits are a lie then?

      That most people want a Europe of Free trade?
      That Europe is mostly run from/for the big players?
      That the Euro is a big problem for some countries?
      That the EU leaders are far removed from the concerns of the people they “pretend to represent”?

      All sounds a pretty reasonable assessment to me..

  18. Akos Tarkanyi

    I hope that it will go back to a national veto in the Council and the omission of normalcy of perversion from the basic Treaty.

  19. Helena Corte-Real

    What EU? The one which UK rejected? The one that´s already divided between north and south? Bah…! STOP fooling people! EU ´s going to collapse before you know it…! And YES, it´ll be a caliphate!

  20. klassen

    Where europe goes from here is predetermined!
    Whats the sense asking questions like this ?
    Why bother?

  21. Viorika Motoi

    No creo que la globalizacion es buena ya esta demonstrado,los paises pequeñas sirve solo como mercado para los paises mas ricos,ser membro de la EU no es grato ni compensatorio ,Europa ya pasa por dos guerras mundiales y cada pais por su propria guerra ya cada pais europeo se merece vivir en paz sin las crga de los demas paises de oriente.sin vetos y sin impoziciones ,despierta Europa!

  22. Caius Adam

    E.U. has to take the model of the U.S.A , otherwise it will end up by being occupied by RUSSIA and having an tremendous number of MUSLIM population and Gypsies” ( Romany ) while Europeans will disappear in about 100 years ! “Europe is committing suicide. Langsam aber sicher. Slowly but surely.”

    Is there nothing we can do to avoid this, I ask.

    “There is no escape. It is our destiny.”

    I am taking tea with Neagu Djuvaru, the doyen of Romanian historians, who will be 100 in August. He is an old man but has the ebullience of a child, except when he thinks about the future of Europe, which he is glad he will not live to see. There is, he says firmly, no alternative to a Muslim conquest of Europe and the end of Western civilization.

    I remembered that H.L. Mencken said that America was the only country to have gone from being primitive to being decadent with no period of civilisation in between. The approaching end of European civilisation seems to be bad luck on Romania, which has not yet had the chance to become decadent. Professor Djuvara agrees, but says there is no help for it.

  23. Caius Adam

    E.U. Should follow the example of the U.S.A and to become The United States of Europe ! Otherwise there the risk of being occupied by the Russians . There are also the other threats as the growing of the Muslim population which is worrying and also many other threats …. Neagu Djuvara tells me Europe is committing suicide “Europe is committing suicide. Langsam aber sicher. Slowly but surely.”
    Is there nothing we can do to avoid this, I ask.
    “There is no escape. It is our destiny.”

    I am taking tea with Neagu Djuvaru, the doyen of Romanian historians, who will be 100 in August. He is an old man but has the ebullience of a child, except when he thinks about the future of Europe, which he is glad he will not live to see. There is, he says firmly, no alternative to a Muslim conquest of Europe and the end of Western civilization.

    I remembered that H.L. Mencken said that America was the only country to have gone from being primitive to being decadent with no period of civilisation in between. The approaching end of European civilisation seems to be bad luck on Romania, which has not yet had the chance to become decadent. Professor Djuvara agrees, but says there is no help for it.

    • Duncan

      Follow the example of USA, where hate groups can thrive and political options are limited to two, and there is more self harm than external threat and people are dumb enough to vote in Hitler 2.0 to lead them on the promise he can make another country fund their needless and useless infrastructure developments. And women have no equality and ethnic minorities have no equality and nobody has affordable medical care and the wealth devide is one of the worst in the world . . . . . . . . . . Why do you want that for the EU? Frankly that becoming an ever increasing likelihood is one of the biggest reasons I voted for leave.

    • Paul X

      Unfortunately just calling it “United States of Europe” will not prevent Russia walking in, EU countries need to start putting their hands in their pocket and contribute to their own defence instead of relying on the few that do take their security seriously

  24. Yordan Vasilev

    The populism becomes restive, but the European project will withstand. United we stand, devided we fall. I think the European solidarity will help of all of us.

    • Duncan

      So populism (suggests popular in it’s form as a word) is increasing and your opinion is to stick your fingers in your ears and scream lalalalala until it stops and keep going the same route anyway and expect that to work? Ar you by any chance an MEP?

    • Karolina

      Duncan, once the over 60’s are gone, the UK will be back in it.

    • Karolina

      Remember what was said in UK Parliament this week: “Sensible countries don’t have refererenda”. That’s because they know what is good for them, who they work for and what direction they want to take. They are not going to ask wealthy pensioners what they think the future of current teenagers should be.

    • Karolina

      The EU will roll on one way or another till we get the United States of Europe, that is going to be really powerful.

    • EU Reform- Proactive

      Karolina ….”once the over 60’s are gone…………….”.?

      Unfortunate greenhorn comments like yours- who prematurely & foolishly wish away their parents & grandparents influence & experience- who are & were the architects of the present political system, the builders of wealth over the last 40-60 years- is very immature and disrespectful. Grotesquely, it is THEIR political concept you seem to support. Or was the EEC the makings of the millennials?

      Those who “cock a hoop” or is it “cock a snook’ their elders & their collective wisdom today, deserve no better when 60+ themselves. The voting age cannot be set high enough!

    • Duncan

      Karolina, hate to burst your bubble but it wasn’t just wealthy pensioners who voted to leave. I’m a middle age working class and I voted to leave too. Despite many people claiming the young all voted to remain I know people in their 20’s who voted to leave. Oh, and not all pensioners are rich either. So how about you stop just believing whatever suits your comfort and think about things for yourself.

    • Paul X

      “The EU will roll on one way or another till we get the United States of Europe, that is going to be really powerful”…..ah now I get it, you must be Karolina Juncker?

    • Karolina

      Karolina Juenger for the record :-)

  25. Monique Taxhet

    Hopefully continuing its path to peaceful union of all 27 members :-) please give us EU citizenship possibility. Let it open to all citizens of the 27 members, plus to those UK citizens who which to apply. Minimum stay in a,EU country of x years should be required. British citizens able yo apply until the UK has definitely left the EU.
    My British husband and I will be the first on the list :-)

  26. Peter

    We spend less than 1% of BNI for peace and development in Europe (=EU). Why are the British government and others pushing peaceful Europeans for military spending of >2%? Don’t get it. Let’s not waste money!

    • Duncan

      >2% of gdp, as in the minimum spend required under the treaties for N.A.T.O. membership, if you look at it in terms of bare money spent then you’ll never get the point. The more you spend on military and as long as you have benevolent peaceful leaders the less likely you are to need to use your military. Aka, spend 0% of gdp if you want, then watch how quickly your country is taken away, and while it might not have required a war, most likely innocent children/civilians in general will be killed or injured in the process. Also, the better your military equipment, the more likely troops required to use it will survive. You can I believe still purchase Cheiftain MBT’s from the British surplus, they’re very out of date and are showing their age and may break down and endanger their crews and the lives of those depending upon the tanks to protect them, but they will be a big saving over buying challenger 2’s, arguably the most protected MBT in the world today. That has high end target tracking equipment enabling you to fire at 8 targets as quickly as you can load the gun, taking out multiple threats much more quickly. What gives better value for money, the £40,000 tank or the £4.2 million tank? If so, what equation did you use to calculate the lives of those fighting to protect you?

    • Paul X

      The bottom line is why should those who do spend the required 2% of GDP be expected to rush to the aid of those who don’t when the sh!t hits the fan?

      The EU and your “peaceful Europeans” have no answer if a major superpower decides to walk into Europe one day

  27. Nicola Piazzalunga

    I think Europe will continue to grow as a multipolar object, where, through the peaceful resolution of conflicts, a number of states will concur to find the right level of sussidiariety, that is the one that maximises a proper social utility function, or something along these lines :)

  28. Jokera Jokerov

    Straight to hell because of the mad cow in Berlin and the servile biggots in 26 more countries.

  29. EU Reform- Proactive

    The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht (& its successors) magically changed the name of the EEC into the political EU. While expanding its POWERS to include a social chapter it failed the popularity test.

    Who will be seen celebrating and congratulating each others over such treaties? Who will be laying wreaths on the grave of self-determination, sovereignty & fairness? The EU expects supranational patriotism, but belittles & fights same for sovereign nations.

    Why not compare Kant’s 1795 essay, “Perpetual Peace” -with the contents of The State of the E-Union Address 2016 by its top bureaucrat JCJ (“if you’re out you are out”- pasta!):

    “Towards a better Europe – “A Europe that protects, empowers and defends” ???

    Has Kant’s federal idea been finally reach its zenith by the formation of federal states within a nation like Germany & others? According to many, the EU has overplayed its cards, became a victim of corporate ambitions, a perception of wishful strength but failing unity. Why?

    EU law has been made to override national law- not only to synchronize but to impose. Now EU law tries to compete as a “species” of international law- but cannot! This is demonstrated by the inclusion of ISDS- (Investor-state dispute settlement) in TTIP. Known as a system where individual companies can sue national Governments (its taxpayers) for “alleged discriminatory” practices (loss of profit), mistakes or obvious collusion by its politicians to enrich a few shareholders & their lawyer friends.

    Has JCJ’s speech ever been scrutinized & critically analyzed by the EP, others or just filed & accepted? It should- before its “white paper” becomes another treaty!
    Unfortunately, no mention or acknowledgement was made to negotiate and seriously address these grievances with any opposition parties, their well documented complaints in his “Address”. Just another “stubborn” speech & continuation of further enforcement of the old, the inflexible, the unchangeable of “deepening & enlargement”!

    Time to lay a wreath in respect of “universal CoE & UN values” (not EU values) on anniversary day!

  30. Karolina

    Europe either needs to unify fully or disintegrate at this stage. Half-way house that benefits some only doesn’t work.

  31. ironworker

    In actual configuration, the union will disintegrate. There are two options, adapt or die.

  32. Nick the Greek

    25 years since Maastricht, where does the EU go from here?

    It largely depends on France. If France makes the calculation that it’s interest’s are better served reviving Franco-German axis, then EU will develop on this blue-print. If however, France decides it can no longer influence Germany, and looks towards developing MED group within the EU, then I see big changes here, especially in balance of power.

  33. Wolfgang Petzold

    Reflecting on Europe: trainees @EU_CoR prepared debate for young people with local politicians in Maastricht on 7 Feb. Follow #euandme for more

  34. Giarris Yfantopoulos

    Just aim for a greater future and stop messing up with each other..

  35. Konstantina and Aphrodite

    As 16-year-old European citizens we would love to believe that Europe will improve even though over the past years hope seems to be lost.

  36. ErifilliElpida

    We believe the EU will stay as united as they are, although, it can make a much better progress.Also the EU needs creative solutions and take action to find new paths of reasonable solutions.

  37. JoJim

    Personally I believe that the EU idea has been corrupted by people who care only about money and so they will lead the EU to fall apart.
    Additionally the EU leaders should really deal with the constantly increasing number of refugees with a common plan rather than working each country on each own.

  38. Χαράλαμπος , Κωνσταντίνος

    I believe that Europe will fall apart some years later . I believe that , because Europe in reality has become more German than European , where the <> north countries exploit the southern countries. In conclusion , the majority of Europe’s countries will understand that Europe has nothing to offer them and will leave from her

  39. Spiros Sarlis-Giorgos Rebouskos

    25 years since Maastricht, where does the EU go from here?

    The EU is now in a bad situation due to terrorism and other social problems like racism and war.If the above things continue the future of the EU will be uncertain. Greece can not help to this matter because of its bad economical condition .

  40. elvis tts

    Personally speaking I think the EU will continue to grow as a multipolar object. Also, I believe that the union will be very arrogant and the most of the heads of the government will propably care only to ensure their own interests.
    Moreover, the discord between member states of the EU will increase with the passage of time.

  41. Mike

    Democracy is the glue that holds the EU together. It is what allows members to accept decisions with which they do not agree. When you remove democracy there will inevitably come a day when one or more nations feel overruled/ignored and decide to leave. This has already begun to happen.
    The EU council must remove Juncker and appoint a commission president who understands that he was not elected and has no political mandate to persue independent political objectives. Ideally his replacement would be chosen based on their desire to improve the lives of the european people rather than any political ideals. Junckers premature removal would send a clear signal that EU leaders were taking notice of their voters.

  42. Σπύρος,Διονυσης

    in my opinion europe has a bright future that will lead it to its economical peak.Of course it needs to solve some very serious problems but overall i think that this can be achieved.

  43. Pacooo

    We must all help the weak countries become both economically and politicaly stronger in order to have the same opportunities to succeed in the europenian union. We have to get rid of predispositions against countries that are said to be uncooperative and unwilling to offer valuable help for the solutions of the problems eu is facing

  44. piranha


    • xara lagou- aggelina koumani

      nai kala

  45. erhkamila

    we are hopping for a better future

  46. konstantinos-Padelis

    my friend and I hope that things will progresively become better over the years but from what we see being done to “help” my country (which is Greece) we believe that things won’t be a lot different

  47. xara lagou- aggelina koumani

    well,we are not that optimistic about EU ‘ s future.We think that many eu -members will be bankrupted and Greece will be back to drachma….it is unfortunately inevitable. However the current situation can be reversed

  48. Nefeli

    In my opinion, the EU is going to be dissolved due to the fact that nowadays the initial values of EU do not exist. Specifically, there are countries that are more powerful and use the others as subservients.

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