Today is the tenth annual “State of Europe” VIP roundtable, organised by our sister think-tank Friends of Europe.

The annual summit, this year entitled “Tough choices for a troubled Europe”, offers a unique opportunity for a large-scale brainstorm on what options EU policymakers can realistically consider for restoring Europe’s standing worldwide while addressing its many urgent internal challenges.

The afternoon session will be entirely dedicated to Debating Europe’s Vote 2014 initiative, the largest ever exercise in EU e-democracy linked to next year’s European Parliament elections.

YOUR questions on unemployment, immigration, ageing Europe, and democracy in the EU, will be put directly to the following  party and group leaders:

  • Martin Callanan MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR)
  • Monica Frassoni, Co-President of the European Green Party
  • Jacek Saryusz-Wolski MEP, former Polish Minister for European Affairs, Vice President of the European Parliament European People’s Party (EPP)
  • Hannes Swoboda MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D)
  • Guy Verhofstadt MEP, Chairman of the European Parliament Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

Debating Europe will also present the results of a major new Gallup poll conducted on our behalf (online here). The poll finds that a majority of Europeans now believe that the austerity policies pursued in Europe since the start of the crisis have failed and there are better alternatives available.

Gallup / Debating Europe Poll: Austerity Policies by debatingeurope

Gallup / Debating Europe Poll: Austerity Policies by debatingeurope on Scribd

The poll surveyed a sample of 6,177 respondents, selected proportionally to the population in each EU member state, and it found that 60% of Europeans believe there are better alternatives to austerity, including 94% of Greeks, 81% of Portuguese and 80% of Spaniards. Even in Germany, which has long been seen as a champion of fiscal consolidation, 50% feel that there are better options available and only 25% think there is no alternative to austerity.

You can view the full video recording of the session above, and don’t forget to VOTE!

79 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    catherine benning

    I tried to vote, it wouldn’t accept my name, etc. So, no good to people like myself.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      ..I think that just about sums up European democracy, they give you a vote button…but it doesn’t work

  2. avatar
    Richard O'Reilly

    What Europe needs are leaders who have a vision for the future and where Europe wishes to be in the long term. The policies being followed today are largely short term and reactionary in nature and often lead to protection of national rather than European interests.

    • avatar

      I prefer national democracy to your undemocratic supranational Eurosoviet Union.

      The EU (Eurosoviet) is a 20th century retread seeking to destroy all diversity.

  3. avatar
    catherine benning

    I should have known you would be up and voting so early.


  4. avatar
    Maro Kouris

    EXPEL BRITAIN from the European Union today- we have the perfect excuse- the British sponsorship of the Turkish military invasion and occupation on EU member Cyprus as well as the British sponsored Turkish military aggression on EU member Greece, all designed to weaken and undermine the Eurozone, undermine the European Union and maintain a security advantage for the British military bases in EU member Cyprus against the Americans.The British government sponsored military coup in Greece in 1967 had came about, so as to provide a calm Turkish military division of Cyprus, all under the auspices of Britain to counter American efforts to expel Britain and the British military from Cyprus, – so as to provide the British military , a security advantage against the Americans- as the Americans successfully did to expelling Britain from Greece between 1945 -47 with the aid of the Vardarski. So much for the SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP. The British government have hurt the Greeks in Greece and Cyprus since 1974, culminating in the catastrophic economic crises which has resulted from the 200 billion euro military expenditure to counter the British sponsored Turkish military aggression on Greece in the Aegean since 1974 and the Turkish military occupation of EU member Cyprus since 1974. If the British people will not hold to account the British Government to account, for its covert sponsorship of Turkish military aggression against Greece and Cyprus since 1974, then we Greeks have no other peaceful option left, for the freedom of EU member Cyprus from the British sponsored Turkish military occupation of EU member Cyprus -other than to demand the full expulsion of Britain from the European Union., since Britain has violated EU Treaties and FULL EU Sanctions on Turkey..EXPEL BRITAIN form the EUROPEAN UNION TODAY

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Maro Kouris
      Wow! Very interesting! Have you got any bona-fide sources about your claims regarding the UK sponsoring the Turkish invasion of Cyprus please as I’d love to investigate further.

      Thank you

    • avatar

      @Maro, saying British sponsored Turkish military over and over and over and over again in no way makes your wild accusation any more creditable, show us proof or get off your soap box. The British bases on Cyprus are nothing to do with Greece. It’s between Cyprus and the UK. I think it very likely based on your statements you have an alternate agenda behind wanting the military presence of two nations that are entreated with ensuring Cypriot independence to alter.

  5. avatar
    Paul X

    “Turkish military invasion and occupation on EU member Cyprus”..Turks were there long before the Greek part of Cyprus was accepted into the EU, so the bit they have is nothing to do with the EU, and it’s the UN that are there stopping you beating each other over the head with sticks not the UK

    Britain offered all of Cyprus to Greece during the two world wars but Greece refused so it’s too late to start moaning about it now

  6. avatar
    Davey Brown

    VIP? Very incompetent pillocks? You should all be arrested and jailed for theft and corruption. You are just common criminals pretending to be politicians.

  7. avatar
    Nikolai Holmov

    Manage expectations. Identify where EU competence begins and ends – likewise national governments. Prioritise EU policies – which means hard choices and some will policies will have to be put on the back burner or abandoned entirely. Tell the EU citizenry, what, why, how much. Then deliver.

    • avatar

      There should be no EU competences. Abolish it and have economic cooperation only.

    • avatar

      New structure and powers of the European ?

  8. avatar
    Nikolai Holmov

    Define EU and national competencies and parameters. Define EU policies accordingly. Prioritise policies. Many policies will need to be put on the back-burner or abandoned – hard choices but they need to be made. Explain to the EU citizenry who, what, why, when and how much. Then deliver unambiguously.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Stephane Czajkowski
      Well said!!

  9. avatar

    I believe in State of Europe, but I am interesting, how countries would not lose them national honor, language, and culture, , especially eastern europe, because they are weakest now in economy. And how about emigration?

  10. avatar
    Hugo Lourenço

    In the coming European elections, the President of the European Commission should be the leader of the party that wins the elections for the European parliament? And going to be a formal European government? When will the European parliament the power to pass laws instead of policy? When will change the electoral system to elect members of the European Parliament, so that we can vote for parties that do not exist in the countries of origin of its citizens?

  11. avatar
    Sue Jameson

    “EXPEL BRITAIN from the European Union today- we have the perfect excuse” – You don’t need an excuse, we want to leave. The reason they won’t expel us, is because we are the second largest contributor of funds and we ACTUALLY HAVE JOBS. You Europeans love coming to the UK for work. So remember, when we leave, your countries will have to renegotiate the free movement of people.

    • avatar

      We in Netherlands would like to leave too, if only our corrupt politicians would let us, and if they would stop kowtowing to the unelected Brussels crowd.

      Let Greece and the likes of them eath the broth they cooked for themselves.

  12. avatar
    Kamil Orlikowski

    Why Polish government has forgotten the spiritual capital of our country by dividing the EU funds? Who knows the answer Jasna Gra Monastery

  13. avatar
    Kamil Orlikowski

    Why Polish government has forgotten the spiritual capital of our country by dividing the EU funds? Who knows the answer Jasna Gra Monastery

  14. avatar
    Alex Tselentis

    Its a no brainer, what Europeans are wondering is the EU run by the same people running the US ?? US Gov has just “shut down” and is on the road to meltdown after decades of corruption and Banks calling the shots, the EU looks like a carbon copy headed the same way, was a great idea but placed in the hands of incompetant, wreckless Bankers, that have now left Europe and its countries in a state of chaos, devide !!

  15. avatar
    Fidalgo Xana

    not working!! to much for such little time. It is killing the economy and our hope….

  16. avatar
    George Danieldsg

    ? wish for those responsible for austerity measures to be punished at international court for crimes against humanity.

    • avatar

      And I want politicians that conspired against democracy and supported the EU and the bankers to be punished by a 21st century Nuremberg style tribunal.

      Amongst the first defendants should be Barroso, Rompuy, Ashton, Monti, Juncker and Draghi.

  17. avatar
    Lídia Pereira

    The policies imposed by IMF, ECB and the EC are wrong! They are not working in Portugal (where I come from) and they are just getting people poorer! Adding the lack quality of Portuguese Gov. negotiation abilities, this is not the way to overcome this crisis!

  18. avatar
    Lídia Pereira

    Of course the country must seek for balanced public finance for the next years (or forever) but more austerity in Portugal will destroy the tiny rest of economy that still survives. This was a very new recipe never tried before because 10 years ago we had our national currency and enabled us to increase exports and so we could smooth the crisis. Nowadays it is impossible but I am sure that the strategy adopted is failing and no one wants to take responsibility for it! Bad politicians, bad diplomacy, incompetent people leading with such responsibility instead of having the best in public and international places.!

  19. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Of course these austerity measures are not working as they target the general population, and not the bankers and politicians that caused all the havoc. Do the people in the EC and the EP actualy realise what a mess and dramas they are creating all over Europe with their senseless measures????

  20. avatar

    Austerity is working for bailed out companies. Aka big businesses! The rest? Not at all … you need rotation of money in an economy for it to thrive not strangulation.

    But I guess when nearly 50 of payment of debt goes to cover interest and commissions … other interests are at play? Or am I wrong?

  21. avatar
    Joseph Bartolo

    Definatly NO to Austerity The whole population of Europe needs to be treated with utmost respect and dignity on all levels <3

  22. avatar
    Karen Fabbri

    Austerity is not the answer, but a symptom of bad decisions that citizens are paying the price for.

  23. avatar
    Carlos Blanquet

    I?m going to write only about the specific case of Portugal in a very short text

    In Portugal? Yes we need it austerity measures it is the third time we ask for help and it and looks like we like it lool.
    but this is actual one is the most harder, we?re not alone, the Global recession was in course since middle 2008, there were more external variables that difficult our goals to this one.

    The deadline was too short to apply all this measures and the interest rates that we pay for the so called ?External Help? are too high and because of this I?m not happy with this called austerity in Europe, the cuts and the fear installed because of this crisis cut the credit/money to keep running well the economy.
    We know that someone?s expenses are someone?s income and when we cut expenses at an higher level that will affect all the chain of the economy this is a fact not a theory, but not the only
    fact that affect the economy obviously.

    But let?s be serious?. we are Portugal ?were almost bankrupt when we asked for the help?
    we couldn?t continuing spending year after year more than what we produce and keep asking for loans/bounds to finance that over expense habit that our governments had , this and among other policies that we had to accept because we belong to the Euro Zone it all became unsustainable till 2011.
    I remember one of the first news that were released to public when the new government took place in June 2011(I think) that more than 80% off the 2011 National Budget was spent.. and after Troika audit we discover more budget holes , more corruption deals, more unclear facts, contracts that in any of them the state had disadvantages benefits, we need that guys from outside came here to open our eyes, that are groups of interests that have more power than the government itself..
    We have problems of corruptions (we don?t see any banker (only one- BPN Case)/ politician been charged of anything) ; Unclear Laws; Tax evasion problems; we?re not competitive in terms of Tax charged to companies, we don?t follow the example of Ireland in this matter.
    We only see some International companies investing in Portugal if we conceded tax benefits. Otherwise in much cases isn?t profitable to operate were.

    Europe Union it was good thing but the only thing that makes us be an EU is the Currency nothing else I think. We have culture differences, history background that any country is proud to had?. it?s going to take some generations till we look more than UStates if we survive as EU till there?the globalization brings out benefits but also problems? the emergent economies that took that companies move out their productions factories, it brings more unemployment to EU, the people live longer now so the states have to more income to pay pensions for example, but what we do if there?s less people contributing because of the unemployment? They increase taxes and find new ways to the income?we don?t have the luck to have countries on the Eurozone with very high and abundant rich natural resources like we see on middle east..xD

    EU it?s going to be in bad sheets if new ideas don?t come out in middle/long term, for now we have the quality, the engineers experts , the know- how to build good things?but were a losing to others.

    Sorry for this short text that became very long?but when I was writing others things pass me by..and I wrote, i was a little off-topic in the end but those things worries me among others and I admit that I could be wrong in some predictions and sincerely I hope to be.

  24. avatar
    Palma Muñoz Morquilla

    I am Spanish and I do agree with the general opinion of Spaniards about austerity policies and their consequences in the real economy. We need investments, both public and private investments. But the first ones are not possible because of the limits imposed to the public debt and the private ones do not take place because banks are not giving loans to the entrepreneurs; and withouthout investments is not possible to create employment. We are in a vicious circle.

  25. avatar
    Katarina Vella

    we don’t care if austerities work, we simply think that if these countries got themselves in trouble they should get themselves out not ask for bailouts.

  26. avatar
    Nuno Roberto

    Katarina Vella is ready to vote on some far right party in her country… I am portuguese and i’m not owing anything to anyone! My government on the other hand, does! Why should I pay for them? Why do you support Iceland and not Portugal, Spain or Greece? I’ll tell you why! Because you northern europeans are all a bunch of sauerkraut eating nazis filled with morality and high ground speaches, all the while breeding Breiviks and Hitlers by the dozens…

    • avatar

      Salazar, Franco, Mussolini, Metaxas etc… were not Northern Europeans by any means.

  27. avatar
    Daniel Madruga

    There’ no way it can work. It just destroys a country economy, that’s an undeniable fact! there’s no discussion on that matter! And politicians that defend that subject, aren’t defending their citizens best interests.

  28. avatar
    Alexandre Guerra

    Katarina Vella, “these countries got themselves in trouble” ?!?!?!
    Oh dear… “they should get themselves out”?!
    You are a disgrace. I’m disgusted by your attitude and straight up ignorance.

  29. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    I do agree with Katarina Vella, all these countries with serious finance trouble should leave not only the Euro but also the EU. We may could leave with the same kind of agreement Turkey has. We could export to EU remaining countries without custom tariffs and we were not obliged to follow the same silly rules of EU and not opening our borders wide to Chinese goods. Or even better, we could apply the reciprocal customs tariffs rule applying the same rates China applies to European goods. Let’s see which countries in financial troubles as prospective leaving countries: UK that actually is already talking about leaving. Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Belgium and Holland. With all these countries leaving, France would leave too. I doubt Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria would stay. What is left? a small EU leaded by Germany. And all these countries should ask for the same measures Germany benefited in the past: an hair cut of 50%, 10 years of only paying the interests, 30 years to pay all debt. More over, Germany should pay the war compensations to Greece from the WWII and Portugal from the WWI that only paid 0.75% owing at now prices 2.3 billion euros of war compensation just to Portugal. Yes, it is fair to pay the debts, lets start with Germany. Pay your debts!

    • avatar

      There is no WW II war debt that Germany owes to Greece. I take it you and the propagandists in Greece failed to read the final peace treaty of 1990 that reunified Germany?

  30. avatar
    Dominik Góra

    Of course the three financially troubled states in the Eurozone will be against austerity

    • avatar

      I’m not any of the three states in the eurozone, and I’m against austerity. I think it to be penny pinching of the worst kind. I think a better solution is state investments. State ran industry to promote jobs and improve national wealth.

  31. avatar
    Natasa Jevtovic

    I have a feeling that Debating Europe has become a leftist page.

    Austerity IS the solution, as all the money the governments spend comes from our pockets. And we have an economic crisis, so our buying power is reduced. We the citizens don’t want to pay more taxes to our governments and allow them to continue overspending.

    States have nothing – whatever they have, they have taken from us. And in EU, it represents about 60% of our income.

    • avatar

      Acually it doesn’t. FIAT currencies are not based on lumps of metal dug from the ground, but based on thin air, printed by central banks and loaned to society.
      Under a tax system which doesn’t leak to tax havens, money is recirculated to the treasury as it is spent. Trouble is, the tax system is very leaky indeed.

    • avatar

      And then of course there’s the bailout system. Public money being spent protecting private companies/banks from their (in many cases) very costly mistakes. All the while not having to hand over shares of equal value of the payout. So basically, when they start making money again, it’s all going on profits and bonuses for a select few employees. There was a time of day when a government spent money it would generate money for years after unless it was money for welfare of taxpayers, I.e. sick pay etc. Now they just give taxpayers money away and get nothing to show for it. I wonder why there’s a financial defecit . . . . . . . .

  32. avatar
    Daniel Tanahatoe

    Governments should stop overspending, whether that’s what you call austerity or not. If not it will be a big burden for future generations. And there is lots to cut from in many of the member states.

    At the same time, the remaining money should be wiser spent: education, innovation, sustainable economic development.

  33. avatar
    Carina Miller

    Why are you asking this question with a recent Gallup poll in front of you. The 5% which think austerity is working, belong to the 1%. Take back from the transnational corporations and their bank buddies. You politicians are working for them and not the people.

  34. avatar
    Michalis Pillos

    Austerity is necessary!! We have been wasteful & careless for decades! So now we need to take a few steps back before we move forward! When we settle our house then we can have loans/investments flow in as well!

  35. avatar
    Michalis Pillos

    Vicente Silva Tavares the EU is a political union NOT an economic! You are ignorant and thus you don’t comprehend globalization and survival!

  36. avatar

    These VIPs (Very Irritating Persons) do not represent ordinary people at all. They are a who’s who of a tiny undemocratic and unelected clique that puts bankers interests ahead of everyone. Their neo-Soviet attitudes are reprehensible.

  37. avatar

    The only way forward for the EU now is to become a Federal Republic and then we can debate about unemployment and security, etc, on a federal level… not a copy-and-paste of the United States of (etc) but a truly Federal Republic of Europe. Present Nations would become States much in the way the Federal Republic of Germany is organised with Länder. My humble opinion anyway :-)

  38. avatar
    Paul X

    “Vicente Silva Tavares the EU is a political union NOT an economic!”

    Yes Michalis, and there in lies the biggest issue the UK has with the EU

    When the British public were last given a chance to vote on the issue the question was “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?”

    As it says, a “Common Market” No mention of politics, no mention of all the legislation, increased costs to the UK taxpayer, no mention of unrestricted immigration. Our previous generation were lied to and the current generation is suffering the consequences. Even if the EU was a roaring success and of massive benefit to the UK (some hope!) a lot of people would still have an very anti-EU stance because we do not like being decieved and just like the real world once someone has lied to you, you can never trust them again

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      Now, Paul X, don’t fall off your seat, but, apart from the obvious anti European undercurrent, I am very pro Europe, in this last post of yours, in the main, I agree with what you have written.

      I shall refrain, therefore, from drawing attention from its impact by adding side issues.

  39. avatar
    Paul X

    Catherine, it’s lucky I’m in fact nailed to my seat or else as you suggest I would indeed be picking myself up of the floor… ;-)

    I have no issue with your pro Europe stance and would clarify that I also like Europe and it’s people, but as an institution I dislike a great deal about the EU…..but that is why we are here on this forum to debate our differing views

  40. avatar
    Corto Maltese

    Austerity, yes, for bank-owners, stake-holders, managers, muliti-national corporations, and of course, their partners in crime – politicians.
    On the other hand – jobs for people.

    • avatar
      Paul X

      Unfortunately Corto all those who you advocate austerity for are the ones who are in the position to create jobs. Austerity for them means less jobs for the people, meaningful jobs cant just be created out of nowhere

    • avatar

      If they’d have been paying their way into the system then there’d be far less need for cutbacks in the 1st place though.

  41. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    @Debating Europe
    Given approx 5,000,000 people in Europe a sample size of 6177 represents a very high margin of error – so much so that the results are nigh on meaningless.

  42. avatar

    Gotta love these debates huh. Its a spin to let the public see that the leaders in the eu care. Well time to wake up now, they dont give a rats ass. The troika/ECB run the show , powerbrokers and bankers.
    State of the union , presidents ,give me a break. Only 2 country have ever been asked in a referendum and the 2 who were , the results were disregarded.
    A banking union, nice way to grab the purse strings, once in control of the banks it doesnt matter which politician gets elected. He or she will have to do the bidding of the purse string holder. Finance 101 folks.
    Welcome to the doomed ship europhilia, on course to a chinees democracy with the europhiles at the helm and the troika at the whip.

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