Recently, Sweden has been marked by a heatwave causing major forest fires that even called European countries to come to aid. Domestically, the fires influenced the ongoing election campaign quite significantly. Other hotly debated issues were migration and violent crime.
With a seemingly shifting world order, expectations towards the European Union are growing with regards to its ability to transform.
French President Emmanuel Macron laid out his vision for a more integrated Europe early during his presidency and made clear that these ambitions could not be realised without Germany. Even though Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed calls for reform, she remained hesitant to some of Macron’s ideas.
Among the main targets of European defence initiatives is the fragmentation and inefficiency of the European defence market. European Union member states currently procure 80% of their defence equipment nationally. According to a European Commission estimate, this leads to a loss of around 50 billion € in opportunity costs per year. Fostering a more collaborative defence market will be a key if policy makers in Europe wish for more capable and interoperable armed forces.
Human rights violations in Turkey have increased in recent years. Activists face major obstacles in their work while being personally threatened by state institutions. Their efforts are often intentionally misinterpreted as “support for terrorist organisations” or as an action against the interests of Turkey.
While European member states are struggling to handle reception, equitable resettlement, and integration of refugees, numerous citizens across the European Union take action and come together to help fellow human beings.
More than five months after the election, Germany has finally been able to form a government. The conclusion of the coalition talks were received with relief, also beyond its national borders. Germany is now capable of acting politically again, which means that not only domestic politics can go ahead, but decisions and reforms on the European level can be fully tackled as well. Brexit in the West, infringement to the rule of law in the East, and looming transatlantic tensions are only a few challenges that will need further attention in the future.
How social should Europe be, how social can Europe be? What should Europe’s social dimension look like in 2025? What can be done by the European Union and what should be done by the Member States themselves?