From 17-19 May, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the European Liberal Forum organised the third gathering of the Ralf Dahrendorf Taskforce on the Future of Europe. The workshop was held in Cambridge and brought together 22 participants from across Europe, many of whom had also participated in the previous workshops held in Germany and Portugal in 2014.
Andrew Duff, former Member of the European Parliament and advisor to the Liberal Democrats, gave some food for thought at the beginning of the event. He called upon liberals to talk frankly about the future of the European Union and not to shy away of tough questions on its future institutional set-up. Although he was optimistic about the possibilities to “flourish in times of crisis”, he also admitted that “as all experiments, the EU can fail”. His recommendations on the reform of the EU triggered fruitful discussions in each working group.
The Dahrendorf Taskforce is a one and a half year project running a series of workshops throughout 2014 and 2015. It provides a platform for ELF member organisations to discuss liberal proposals for the reform of the EU institutions and the future of the European integration process. The four working groups:
“Reform of the EU institutions – Re-democratisation of the EU”,
“Foreign, Security and Defence – strong cooperation for a stronger Europe in the world”,
“Protecting civil liberties – a liberal footprint for Europe”, and
“Financial and economic crisis – liberal solutions for a Europe that works”,
The participants built upon the discussions held at the first and second workshops and further developed the proposals made in the discussion papers. The participants went about finalizing their liberal recommendations for each policy area. These will be gathered in a publication thus giving ELF members the possibility to participate in the ongoing debate on the institutional reform and the future of the Union with their own position.
Photo credits: FNF Europe/Julie Cantalou