The European Union is no stranger to a crisis. Throughout its history, crises have often driven the European project forward, providing the impetus for deeper cooperation and integration; from the “empty chair” crisis of France’s General de Gaulle in 1965, to the Eurozone crisis more recently.

The European Parliament elections in May 2019 offer a chance to respond to the crisis of confidence in the EU. With the election of a new Parliament and the arrival of a new college of Commissioners, change is possible. In that context, the think tank Friends of Europe recently published an EU citizens’ “Mandate for Change“, setting out eleven ideas for revitalising the European project. They were formulated in response to a survey of 11,000 EU citizens, and have been presented to Members of the European Parliament as part of the #EuropeMatters project.

Now, in the run-up to the European Parliament elections, #EuropeMatters will present its most ambitious effort yet – the ‘Vision for Europe’ report, setting out 10 policy recommendations and a pathway for the next EU leadership. This report aims to map the road ahead to construct a Europe fit for purpose in the 21st century.

As part of this project, we want to get input from citizens, policymakers, and others. Last year, Debating Europe attended EuroPCom 2018, the 9th European Public Communication Conference. It was the largest public communications event in Europe, with over 1,100 communications professionals from across the EU attending. We had a camera in tow, and filmed some quick interviews asking attendees whether they thought Europe was broken (and, if so, how it might be fixed). Here’s what they had to say:

Is Europe broken? How would you fix it? 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: (Public Domain) – Pixabay Mediamodifier

44 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Karla Flay

    The EU needs more programmes…cultural, social and political linking ordinary citizens throughout the group in order to create a sense of community, common identity and unity at all levels, not just within the higher political levels.

  2. avatar
    Karla Flay

    The EU needs more programmes and initiatives to inform citizens about how the EU is helping their cities, regions and countries with economic ,financial, environmental and human rights issues in order to boost awareness, interest and support and to encourage more citizen participation transcending national.lines e.g.student, teacher, local council, media and interest groups (charities, human rights groups, animal welfare,environmental, popular culture etc) exchanges between and amongst EU countries and cities to foster a sense of common cause and inter-Europeam identity.

  3. avatar

    I don’t think the EU is broken at all. It serves corporations and mega tax evaders perfectly at the expense of the majority of struggling EU citizens who pay the price for shareholders profits and business survival. Wasn’t it designed this way on purpose? If not then why haven’t we seen any action for improvement? Let’s hope Varoufakis can manifest the EU reforms required for a more equal, social and transparent EU that serves all citizens-not just the rich ones.

    • avatar


  4. avatar

    Adding some countries to the European Union at the moment may help seriously not to disassemble it in the future, but in the case of the disintegration of the European Union there may be some economic damage, which will certainly affect on the politic and people

  5. avatar

    Just you neoliberals don’t fix it anymore. It would be better immediately.

  6. avatar

    We should always debate Europe! That’s what keeps her alive!

  7. avatar

    Direct democracy, binding referendums, binding election promises.

  8. avatar

    First step to mend Europe is to stop blaming it for all that you don’t like and accept it could be your own fault.

  9. avatar

    Protect and defend the borders from migration.
    Elect European Commission by the people.
    Make politicians accountable – no immunity and legally responsible for consequences of their policies (like Merkel, her open door policy, and the terrorist events we see in EU)

  10. avatar

    A European federation of states based on civil rights and keynes economy!

  11. avatar

    EU is ruled by the establishment. Burocrats, taxes, uncontrolled imigration, globalism, unproven theorys of global warming, and a pathetic media, must leave.

  12. avatar

    Yes it is broken… We should rebuild it with 8 to 10 countries which agree on common policies…. Or we rebuild an Europe of nations based on cooperation…. Without supranational power

  13. avatar

    Respect for sovereignty and self-determination. The EU is over-regulated and over-centralized, which damages the economy.
    PS: The banking sector needs a very big clean-up.

  14. avatar

    Unfortunately EU is today broken and fixing that is quite an task. There is not really the real good will for the EU when all type of political forces in several national states …so this is the outcome plus Brexit covering the “mudcake”.
    New elections always might bring new MEP:s,but how Europe is today omg that could turn quite with an surprise.

  15. avatar

    More multiculturalism, more culture exchange programs between the European countries, more sense of a common single European nation. At the moment, Europe seems to be: France (and other french-speaking countries) + Germany centered.
    Distribute the asylum seekers in an equal way, and help them integrate in the European system with more free education programs and apprenticeship programs. Give more money to countries and municipalities who need to fix basic things, like roads, which suck in many places (I’ve seen many better roads in developing countries).

  16. avatar
    bert van santen

    Europe can`t break as being a continent we live on. I `am not certain about the EU and breaking up.

  17. avatar

    Federation like maybe? far from a wannabe country by its own. It could lead to competition in public services… competition in wages… and in openness.

  18. avatar

    easy. Returning to EEC/CEE will be enough and everybody will be happy.

  19. avatar

    It’s not perfect but far from broken

  20. avatar

    Unfortunately European Union as it is today is very broken indeed. At the moment nationalism is on the rise here and there which shows clearly around the EU. That brings in forces whom really doesn’t want this anymore,quite ok,but it needs the right procedure just like Brexit. I hope that the elections in May will bring in positive pro-european union which will lead us further together with UK. Better work together and create the ideal EU.

  21. avatar

    Stop imposing laws and regulations on the separate member-states and let them govern themselves. The EU should be what its name says – a union of European nation-states, NOT a superimposing, allpowerful government!

  22. avatar

    Basically politicians must take power in their own hands- as they should , instead of letting bankers run the show
    Without balancing the needs of each social class regardless of the ” political cost ” our future will be very grim

  23. avatar

    Stop exploiting the word “Europe” to define European Union (EU). Europe is a geographical term, wider than the area of the member countries of the EU, eg. it includes also part of the Russian Federation, Serbia etc. Your question, judging by the “broken” EU flag (above) should be: “Is the EU (meaning the international political organization of SOME European countries) broken”? Well, it depends on the Point Of View (POV). For Germany and its “satellite nations (eg Austria, The Netherlands), the corporations, the big-time stock exchange players on currency and so on, EU is great! If you are a simple person (even in Germany or Austria, or the Netherlands, not to mention Spain, Bulgaria, Greece etc.) trying to make a living, EU is “death upon your head”. In this case there is no way to fix it, now it’s incurable. Only to dump it and get back to sovereign national states and independent national currencies.

  24. avatar

    the new name is not European Union it is European Bordello

  25. avatar
    catherine benning

    Is Europe broken? How would you fix it?

    If those who are running this EU show do not know if it is broken, or, if it is, how to put it right, they are not fit for purpose and must vacate the job they have to make room for a person who does know what is wrong and how to move it into a correct new pattern. And they must get out now. It is fraud to pretend you know how to do a job. It is also fraud to conspire with others to lie to receive money in this way.

  26. avatar

    Ok, the EU is neither broken nor out of need to be fixed. She can simply be improved. And that is what we all want. We have diverging opinions on what is more important and what is less. But in the end, I believe, even the strongest eurosceptic in the UK sees the benefit of a common trading pool, mutual security cooperations, healthy interdependent ecosystems and even open labour markets as soon as some minimum standards are met. The fight is about different views of subsidiarity.

    Personally, I don’t see most of the agricultural fonds (still almost half of the budget) necessarily decided on a European level. Let’s instead fund more integrational measures together with immigrants, promote start-up culture, research and cultural projects, social convergence and a clever diplomatic service that is not laughed about like a single British or German national external service. There are lots of smaller screws to adjust, possible within the existing Lisbon system.

    And, let’s in parallel start a new constitutional debate for the future. Europe of 2030 – what do we want for the Next European treaty? Strengthen parliamentary democracy or weaken it? Voting directly for a European president or going back to more intergovernmentalism?

    I am quite sure the EU would not be completely dismantled even by a president Le Pen or Salvini because of course it has a lot of benefits for all Europeans. A first direction can be given with the upcoming election. Enjoy democracy.

  27. avatar
    Corrado Pirzio-Biroli

    The EU is going through a bad patch because of an outburst of populism in its member states, which is based on justified complaints about a growing income gap between rich and poor, typical of recent capitalism. As the populist parties become part of the elites, their attraction will weaken. To accelerate their demise,the EU does not need to go back to the drawing board, but must find collective answers to justified complaints. These include: a revamp of the anti-trust policy to cater to the monopolistic powers of the digital economy, an adjustment in the Schengen rules excluding members who refuse to agree to share in the immigrant inflows, a common financial market (creation of Euro-bonds, completion of the banking union with common deposit u-nsurance), the guarantee of the EU budget for soft Euroloans for public investments, free national and European elections without party lists preventing free choice of the best candidates, and the drop of unanimity for EDSP and taxation affecting the environment. The biggest obstacle against all this was England (hopefully leaving the EU), and still are Germany and The Netherlands, whose ideological austerity policies are in contradiction with current IMF and OECD views and risk condemning the EU to the dustbin of history. I remain optimistic that Roman Law will allow the EU to overcome present difficulties and adopt the solutions that are all well known.

  28. avatar

    It was a good starting. But now is the EU ,of the burocrats chrushing the citizens with taxes. Uncontrolled imigration. Corruption, is also a great problem.

  29. avatar

    Fight against coruption. And stop the migration for social and wellfare benefiti. Same european citizens do not have the salary as the social aid.

  30. avatar

    Rebuild it with no more than 12 countries
    Build a la carte coopérations between member states
    Elect commission
    Build a common tax and social policy
    Create a protected European border

    • avatar

      Olivier – ….and let all the countries forced to have EURO without exeption.

  31. avatar

    By making it much easier to remove laws, with not more than a simple majority in either Parliament or Council.

  32. avatar

    Protect and defend our borders. End migration. Return all “refugees” to their countries as soon as there’s reasonable safety there (which means just about all of them).
    Elect EC by the people, put people’s interests first (the ones who are voting for EU politicians).
    Stop being USA’s puppet, and end the provocations toward Russia.
    If you want things to change – vote!

    • avatar

      George – well said, but never gonna happen! You heard what Junker said, ” your votes doesn’t mean anything ” ….they have agenda…….

    • avatar

      Anelia – Junker is on the way out.
      EU is doing strong propaganda now as elections are showing people will vote for changes, and they are scared.
      To change EU’s agenda, we need to change the people there.

    • avatar

      George – European Parliament, European Council, what else…..huge, expensive bureaucracy, bankers….. How exactly the change going to be……………

  33. avatar

    Europe is not broken, it just needs a rest from leftist social engineering that is trying to “fix” it. Leave the Europeans to govern themselves and stop meddling in internal member state affairs and policies.

  34. avatar

    Make the ‘ be European’ idea sexy and trendy

  35. avatar

    The economical differeces between northern and southern european nations isn’t suistinable for more. With an unemployment rate over the 10% now (and higher rates too!), a European “new deal” is needed, beyond the Central European Bank and its policies, clearly they don’t solve this main and foundamental task.

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