Multi-speed Europe: West is "for", but Poland - "against"

Author : Vitaly Yeremitsa

Source :

It is significant that idea of transition to the multi-speed European Union regarding cooperation in various fields, for example in the field of defense and security, become advantageous for Germany, France, Spain and founders of a community, like the Netherlands or Luxembourg
19:43, 13 March 2017

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The EU scenario, according to which some countries want faster integration and joint progress more than others, is becoming more realistic. However, a number of Eastern and Central Europe countries are afraid to be on the margins of European decision-making. Although the heads of the Brussels euro agencies say that the future of the commonwealth – is only in a deeper unity, the last summit shows that not all 27 member states, (not to mention Britain) are willing to promote the European idea at the same pace.

"The European Union of multi speeds" ... In this way may look the future of bloc of states combined under the title "European Union", with all its attributes, transactions and values. This is according to attitudes that prevailed at the end of the informal consultations of EU leaders in Brussels about the way in which they move on, after the UK withdrawal from the community.

Re-elected for another term President of the European Council Donald Tusk said that some states actually expect system changes that would have strengthened the role of national governments, not the EU, so they are seeking EU’s shredding. However, there are other member states who argue the opposite, wanting new and deeper integration, even if it will affect only individual states.

"This opportunity really exists because of existing agreements. However, given the interests of the community of 27 member states before the coming negotiations on Brexit, and taking into account long-term strategic interests of the European Union, I urge everyone to support political unity among these 27 countries, "said Donald Tusk.

Poland annoys some Member States

Meanwhile, Poland claims that it disagrees with the idea of a "European Union of several speeds." On Friday, this was stated by Prime Minister of the State Beata Szydło, who together with the leader of the Hungarian government Viktor Orban fears that their countries in this case may become "second zone countries."

"We will never agree to participate in the negotiations regarding the EU at different speeds. In addition to political unity, it needs institutional unity. We do not agree to any move that might compromise the integrity of the common market, the Schengen area and the entire European Union, "- she said after the informal summit in Brussels.

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It is significant that idea of transition to the multi-speed European Union regarding  cooperation in various fields, for example in the field of defense and security, become advantageous for the  Germany, France, Spain and founders of a community, like the Netherlands or Luxembourg.

Isolated through its disagreement to support the re-election of its former Prime Minister Donald Tusk's second term as President of the European Council, Poland annoyed some Member States, refusing to sign the conclusions of the EU summit on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the optimism about the common EU future expressed not only Donald Tusk, but European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

He confirmed that the “EU multi-speed” scenario was one of the topics discussed in Brussels.

"I was surprised to notice that it was perceived by some colleagues as new lines of division, some saw in this new "iron curtain" between East and West. But my intentions are not like that, " he said.

Ahead of the European Council summit on the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, the European Commission has prepared a white paper on the possible paths of EU development. The vague content of the document, though, reflects the uncertainty amongst the Member States, although the first reactions of Western European politicians favour the multi-speed Europe scenario. In total, European Commission has presented five possible scenarios for the European community.

The first scenario assumes the current development path, where all 27 states focus on reforms in the spirit of the so-called Bratislava Declaration adopted last year.

The second involved the incremental reorientation of the common market, not the search for political consensus.

Under the third scenario, EU countries continue the current development path, but if some of them want to, they can cooperate more closely in specific areas.

The fourth scenario - "do less, but better" - offers a focus on achieving the best results in selected policy areas, and pay less attention to where there are no prospects for an additional cost.

And last scenario - "do more together" - assumees that EU states make decisions together and by common means.

Groups by interests

However, within the EU, there are separate, so to speak, "groups by interests": its internal consultations regularly conducts so-called "Visegrad Four" (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia). Also there are a group of Benelux countries (Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg). Their joint meetings also conduct entire states of the South, located along the Mediterranean. Just the same things do Baltic countries, not to mention the well-known duo of two state "engine" of the EU - France and Germany.

Benelux States, who stood at the origins of a united Europe - the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, at the EU have issued a group statement.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that in the future there will be a series of meetings in different formats.

"We invite the members of the" Visegrad Four " to the Netherlands for a joint meeting -  he said. - This year we will meet also with the three Baltic States to discuss future collaboration. Overall Benelux wants to make every effort to play a positive role in all these debates and in determining the future of the European Union. "

Time will tell whether the "multi-speed" European Community member states of the new generation, such as Poland or Hungary, will participate in the dialogue. Meanwhile, the next meeting of European leaders to discuss the EU's future will be held on May 25 in Rome...

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