VanRompuy

We’re very happy to have EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy back on Debating Europe for a second time to answer your questions (you can see his first set of responses here).

Last month, we invited you to send in your questions, and now Mr Van Rompuy has uploaded his video responses through his Ask the President website. The first of these questions came from Sam from the UK, who asked:

Should the UK be hopeful of a renegotiation on our position in Europe? And what has Europe done for us?


Next up, we had a question sent in from Sakis, who asked President Van Rompuy: “How do you see Europe in 10 years time?”


We also set up a camera in the Parliamentarium (the visitors’ centre of the European Parliament) and recorded a couple of questions from visitors there. The first came from Kjell, who argues that inequality is growing in Europe today. Kjell believes the middle class disappearing, and wants to know what can be done to rebalance society.


The final question came from Shan, who wanted to know if the EU was still thinking of accepting new members whilst there was so much economic uncertainty in Europe. Mr Van Rompuy’s response: “The European Union is still sexy!”

What do YOU think? What has Europe ever done for us? How do YOU see the EU in 10 years time? And is the European Union still “sexy”? What has Europe ever done for Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their opinions.



61 comments Post a commentcomment


  1. George Paphitis

    EU in 10 years ? What EU, the EU that is trying to enslave all south member states for the sake of the few?

    • Profile photo of No-name
      No-name

      The northern europeans just dont want to be funding the southern europeans. It is not Northern Europes fault that the south lost control of public or private finances and it now unable to pay their debts. The ECB just asks for economic reassurances that the member nation can fix its finances and is shown to do so.

  2. Al Faro

    Much power to the Parliament wich is the only one elected. We didn’t vote the Counsil, so you have to reconsider its power and that one of the commision as well. Then…you r still bealiving that a monetary union based is enough? do you ? you should have begin from culture, from national job rules, giving all the same opportunities. Instead everything starts always by money, competition, just to make people fighting between them. poor against rich, rich aginst rich, and the worst…poor against poor. You should reconsider all the system!!! If it’s not in your future plans, please al least change name…from Europe to BCE.

  3. SILVANA SOTERA

    Dear Mr President,
    I teach English at a High School in Sicily where i ‘m in charge of evaluating FSE-PON projects taking place in the school. Could you suggest me some very important questionnaire .items for students, experts, and project tutors? Of course I already use a sample questionnaire about source of information, kind of expectations, level of teaching provided, infrastructures. Waiting for a greater Europaesation of my school which other items could I stress importance on?
    Thank you
    Silvana Sotera

  4. European Idiot

    Why you not do anything against immigrants from countries who are not members of EU (asian, african and etc. countries)?

    • Profile photo of Monika Ghosh
      Monika Ghosh

      European Idiot – the major issue I have with your question is that it seems to assume the EU should do something AGAINST immigrants from non-EU countries. Recent studies have shown that all immigrants, both from EU and non-EU countries, bring economic benefits.

      Sociocultural effects are more of a contentious point, however I doubt anyone has heard the term ‘multicultural’ used negatively. It seems to be a selling point for cities like London and New York.

      Moreover it is the job of national governments to decide their own views on immigration controls, not the EU’s. The only type of ‘immigration’ the EU legislates on is asylum, via the Dublin II regulations, and I hope you would agree that those seeking asylum (escape from war or persecution within their own countries) are in need of such legislation.

  5. Citizen-E

    They say: Learn from the best.
    Well I think I just did learn something.

    Thanks, I should say.

  6. Jude De Froissard

    i don’t believe in europe anymore as long as this bunch of people are there….it seems we have to deal with persons that are not serious.and they are our leaders……

  7. Tomas

    EU in 10 years? EU will have a stronger parliament, fiscal union, and probably a directly electable Commission.

  8. Violeta Kostic

    Is EU still sexy??? Is this a joke or something? No, EU is not sexy and never was! But Greece is hot no matter how big problems they have now!

  9. Vassilis Agopian

    Europe is the Union of the scams…!!! Money for the richer and exploitation for the poor… You are simply a disgusting bunch of old and sick bastards…!!! That’s what you are…!!!

  10. Paul Galbally

    Dear Mr President, do you ever get tired of people making hysterical comments about the EU and that its all some sort of “Fourth Reich” or alternately “USSR”, because I really do.

  11. Anamaria Ştefana Bacovia

    My question is: Since China is becoming stronger and stronger, how is the EU expecting to survive when most European economies collapse, while the Chinese economy is booming. Maybe is time for a plan that will create more jobs for Europeans, more European products at affordable prices so that we don’t buy everything with a ” Made in China ” label.

  12. Nikolaos Sotirelis

    Dear Anamaria first of all Greeks aren’t pissed off although they should. They are disappointed from the behavior of their Nothern partners. While in the beggining of the crisis Greeks acted solidaristic and didn’t proceed to bankruptcy, instead of helping us they force us in an austerity path with no return. So WE CAN’T PAY IT BACK anymore. What we can do now is delete the debth by our selves and finally instead of paying the responsible head funds, the citizens of EU are gonna be the victims. Secondly I don’t really understand your second comment. What are you trying to say. To chinesize EU? NO WAY!!! If you want to be your product competitive, then you just put taxes to the foreign products. So simple. AFTER ALL IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HISTORY, THAT’S THE REASON THAT EU HAD BEEN CREATED FROM THE BEGGINING!

  13. Nikolaos Sotirelis

    Who’s mr Van Rombuy??? Who ellected him president? I don’t remember him participate to any ellection. What he really represends except perhaps a bounch of hysterical neoliberals bankers in Brussels? He certainly doesn’t represent the people of EU. And in the end he surely doesn’t make the EU sexier!

  14. Chris Alexander Zervas

    – IΤ ΤΟΟΚ 200 YEARS FOR U.S.A., TO ESTABLISH DOLLAR as a common & accepted currency among all the states & STILL SUPPORTS THIS CURRENCY WITH A LOT OF EFFORTS( political, financial, banking-wise, etc.,)…
    – HOW MANY YEARS WOULD IT TAKE FOR EUROZONE TO STABILIZE EURO AS A COMMON SOLID CURRENCY WITHOUT ALL THESE influential ACTIONS – LIKE CYPRUS – FROM UNITED GERMANY… TAKING UNDER CONSIDERATION THE DIFFERENT CULTURES, LANGUAGE, NATIONALISTIC BOUNDINGS & MEMORIES FROM THE -II- WORLD WAR, etc?

  15. Anamaria Ştefana Bacovia

    Nikolaos Sotirelis about my comment regarding China, please read it again because you understood the exact opposite of what I said. I want the European economy to be strong so that is can compete with China, because at this moment China is the number one power. I don’t want to see Chinese products, I want to see and buy European products from my country, from Greece, from Spain, from Germany, from all the EU countries. I don’t know is a ban for Chinese products is possible because I don’t think it is legal. But I think some limit should be in place. For now, we can’t compete with the cheap labor force that is in China.

  16. Vicente Silva Tavares

    Anamaria, European salaries, even the lowest, like in Bulgaria or Romania, will be always higher then the Chinese ones. We have to bet on technological goods with more quality and as Nikolaos poit it out, our custom tariffs are very low, between 3 and 6%. On the other hand, the Chinese and all the other BRIC countries, charge from 40% to 120%. This is a very unfair trade. EU should apply reciprocal tariffs and even on these conditions, the BRICS still have the advantage of having lower salaries. Moreover, it is hypocrital from the European Commission, to demand some standards on European producers and simply put a blind eye on imported goods.

  17. lyubomir vachev

    DEAR SIR VAN ROMPOY,

    We are traders from cyprus i would like to say that the measurements against cyprus economy are very dificullt to be done already is 2nd day without banks and the country is in chaos we can do our business please take action and help cypriot people and the cypriot banks thank you very much looking forward for favourable answer.

  18. francesco totino

    Among EU countries should be accepted some common and few rules ..to share also with US and other world countries
    To overcame single countries and worldwide crisis we need to move all together sinergically .

    “Fiscal compact” agreement in Europe has been a good first step …. now we need

    1 ) a Global ” Fiscal Compact,

    2) a global Balanced Budged in any other world countries constitution

    3)to abolish all worldwide Tax Heavens ..

    Fixed this worldwide FINANCIAL /ECONOMIC target any single countries should simultaneusly start to reform deeply his domestic not only FINANCIAL but also POLITICAL AND PUBLIC Structure, a structure that has gained in the last years more and more importance in the success of all the economic policy actions. In particular a factor that affects economic development and that is common to both Politics and Pubblic sector is the corruption phenomena linked to political patronage,. Corruption r has blocked the efficiency of the social system at any level in some EU countries like Italy, Spain , Portugal, Greece and also in other countries

    From these point of view EU and US and other worldwide countries should fix immediately some social standard measures index to be applied by the singles EU, US other country members that are particularly affected from inefficiency in political and public sector system.
    Most of the time Financial results in single countries come out only if some political and pubblic reforms have been done .

    4) a much more active role of international institutions like IMF , UN and so on in managing international financial and economic rules . . as i have already reccomend to Madame Lagarde, Jacques deLarosiere and Mario Draghi

  19. José Luís Azevedo

    Are you my president?
    Not to my knowledge, I didn’t elect you!
    But it is of my knowledge that I am a EU citizen and I do suffer from the stupid trade deals and other laws you make and impose from Brussels!
    EU is not for it’s citizens, nor governed by their democratically elected representatives. EU is at the service of obscure interests and is governed by Goldman Sachs! Eu is not sexy, EU is a joke!
    JLA

  20. Ντορέτα Πέππα

    ? don’t ask because I know the answer. It will be a lie! Because there are no human rights left in the EU, no political freedom and respect, no social care, no morality in any sense. And they are preparing us for the 3rd World War, to support the USA mania for globalization.

  21. Ventliane

    I think EU is the only hope for peace in Europe and for justice for all its citizens, for the defending of life on Planet Earth! I cannot imagine my life without EU end euro! I am writing a book on the 500 years of struggles to keep Europe united! Maybe us, people in the former “socialist” countries and especially in the former countries enslaved by the Turks until 1878, KNOW better what may come without the EU!
    God save EU!

  22. Eoin McCarthy

    there is nothing sexy about the current economic crisis in Cyprus, Italy or Spain! there is nothing sexy about being one of the 400,000 plus who are unemployed in Ireland! how sexy is youth unemployment or unemployment in general in Spain?

  23. Eoin McCarthy

    DEAR Mr. VAN ROMPOY,
    how can the EU still be “sexy” when we have a serious economic crisis in Crypus? It looks like the Moscow will be sending a cheque to Crypus in order to bail them out, with “from Russia with Love!” on the back of this cheque!
    Youth unemployment is a massive issue in Spain as is unemployment in general in that country. In Ireland over 400,000 people are unemployed! “unemployment” especially youth unemployment can not be considered “sexy”.
    How is the EU going to tackle this serious issue of unemployment?
    The economic problems in both Spain and Italy can not be considered as “sexy”.
    Are the EU economies with their problems of uneomplyment and debt issues facing a Japanese style “lost decade”? What is the EU going to do to prevent this from happening?

  24. catherine benning

    Of course, it remains sexy because each of the men within are an Adonis. Especially the German, French, Italian and Greek. How could it be otherwise?

  25. Eoin McCarthy

    While answering a question about Enlargement President Herman Van Rompuy claimed that countries still want to join us and described the EU as “sexy”. Although countries most notably Ireland and Eastern European Countries have benefited from EU membership, it also has its disadvantages. What is attractive about having an unemployment rate of 11.9% in the Euro area, the current economic crisis in Cyprus, the unemployment crisis in Spain and the debt crisis in Italy? Six million unemployed in Spain with a youth unemployment rate of 55%. Reuters reported that the Eurozone economies slipped dipper than expected into recession during last three months of 2012. Are the Euro zone economies facing a Japanese style “lost decade”? Seeing that Frankfurt is willing to provide funding to Cyprus until Monday, will Russia write this country a blank cheque signed “From Russia With Love”?

  26. superjamespond

    from all the comments ,only one conclusion: europe is desperation,
    europe is not sexy at all, europe lacks democratic rules and a lot of people
    have a sharp view how all this european commission functions without any legal framework because most guys were never elected which seems to prove they believe they have more power than elected people which is a total cntradiction!!the fact they are overpaid seems also to influence their bad behaviour where their own personal interest comes first.,ot the interest of those who will keep them in the saddle as there is no parliamentary controll

  27. Andri

    Please just tell us if its fair to treat Cyprus like this. Murdering a small country???
    THIS IS NOT OUR IDEA OF THE UNITED EUROPE.

  28. Diana

    Mr. Rompuy, do you know what happening in Bulgaria in 2013 ? People are burning on fire and kill them selves because of misery! That is not a bank or finance problem !

  29. Anton

    Who elected you? And why? And do you know what is democracy?

  30. Michalis Mavromichalis

    Mr Van Rompuy, take heed at what is happening in Cyprus now. We, the people of Cyprus, will not go gently into that good night! We will do what is right in principle, not only for our own people, but for all the people of Europe and around the World. What we do and what you do will fertilize the thinking of billions and will act as a catalyst to what’s to come around to find us all!

  31. georgecc

    Why is the exact reason I cannot speak, write and be translated from Catalan in EU institutions?

  32. Stanislava Uzunova

    Dear mr. Van Rompuy,

    Question from Bulgaria, Will European jurisprudence allow the registration of Illegal organizations as OMO Ilinden? Will the European Union which is community of values not consider our Constitution, where is said and considered :
    Art. 2. – ” Autonomous territorial entities are not allowed”.
    – Article 11 – “There shall be no political parties on ethnic, racial or religious lines, which seek the violent seizure of state power.”
    – Article 12 – ‘associations, including trade unions, can not pursue political goals or engage in any political activity in the domain of political parties. ”
    Attached is a link with information about the separatist organisation : http://reuniting-europe.blogactiv.eu/2010/09/14/omo-ilinden-%E2%80%93-separatists-with-a-glorious-name/#.UVF1dxc715s..

    Thank you in advance for your reaction on this matter.

  33. Larry Levenson

    Mr. Van Rompuy
    You are a member of The European Peoples Party, which is a new name for the Communist Party of which you and ALL other current leaders of the EU were members.
    We, The People of the EU, want diversity of political classes within the leadership, so resign now, you can always offer yourself for being a candidate in a new elections.

  34. Youth Association for a Greater Europe

    Join us in Strasbourg this summer for ?Strasbourg Meetings ? Focus Russia? ! Youth from Russia and other European countries meet to get through cultural issues that hamper collaboration on a common platform. The idea is simple: meet new people, learn, discuss, and work to solve issues.

    Follow the link below to apply and be one of the few who are fortunate enough to get this experience first-hand! The deadline for early-birds is 31 March ? that?s tomorrow -, and after that regular applications are open until end of April.

    Apply here: http://www.greater-europe.com/#!forum/cgew

  35. SRDJAN VASILJEVIC

    Dear Mr. President,

    Do you think that Croatia before accession to the EU, should publicly confront the Holocaust in World War II at the Jasenovac concentration camp and the crimes committed against civilians by military action “Storm” during the conflict with Serbian inhabitants of Croatia? What do you think personally, how important religious faith in the nation located in the EU and those aspiring to join the EU?
    Thanks !

  36. Milen

    Hell yes the EU is sexy. Culturally, we are one of the most diverse places on the planet, our human rights record is actually better than the rest of the world, perhaps with the exception of Canada, and despite all the nay-sayers, we still have the largest economy on the planet (and much more sustainable than that of the US too!) and European youth finds the concept of internal visas and borders a bizarre one. Is the EU perfect? Hell no! We still put immigrants in detention prisons or push them back on the flimsy boats they came from, we do have a democratic deficit in the ruling bodies and we do have prevalent racism in Eastern Europe. Where do I see the EU in 10 years? It depends on you. If you vote, work, fight for your rights and the rights of others it can be a beautiful place. If you give in to pessimism, xenophobia and name-calling, it can be a pretty bad place. I choose to do the former.

  37. Victor

    The chief justice of the Spanish Constitutional Court was a card-carrying member of the ruling Popular Party (PP) until 2011 and also worked as a legal advisor to the PP conservative party for about 20 years.

    The normal division of powers is legislature, executive, and judiciary, … but unfortunately Spain is different.

    Will EU act to solve this abnormality?

    Back in 2010, the same Constitutional Court crushed the Estatut (Catalan Constitution) after being agreed at the Catalan & Spanish parliament as well as accepted by Catalan people at 2006 referendum.

    Will the EU finally support the Catalan referendum for self detemination?

  38. Ericbana

    Yes Mr Van Rompuy,who DID elect you,please be good enough to explain what you do that benefits The people of Europe.I cannot think of one single way in which your sorry existence has benefitted anyone in the EU.
    You like all the unelected ,anti democrats exist only to feather your own nests while Europe burns,Shame on you, you selfish arrogant man.

  39. Roman

    When Europe, finally, protect Ukraine from the Russian aggression? This is оnly beginning. This war with Russian Nazis should win Ukraine, and if Europe’s alienation from this process,–consequences, believe me, will be far worse than Hitler’s occupation of Western Europe.

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