TESTO DELL’OSSERVATORIO IN INGLESE

Observatory of national and international research on European Union’s developments  

By Laura De Rose, Vice-Director of ‘ForoEuropa’

 

 

The European Union today and in the next future: insight into the latest issue of the Rivista di Studi Politici Internazionali (RSPI)

The European Union (EU) is at the core of the latest issue (Volume 85 no. 3, July-September 2017) of the RSPI: all seven articles published in this issue touch upon, and enlighten us about, current and future key developments in the EU. The key topics are: Brexit; German problem and ‘model’; Eurozone: challenges and opportunities; EU defence and security; fight against the frauds committed to the detriment of the EU.

The first article “Pathway to Brexit” by Pat Cox, describes the difficult process currently faced by the UK towards leaving the EU, because of profound internal divisions at political level and the unprecedented complexity of the negotiations with the EU. Due to those factors, the position of ‘global Britain’ is uncertain: will it be a post-EU global paradise or a retreat into a ‘diminished insularity?’ While a Member State is about to leave the EU, the role of another one, Germany, is not yet universally accepted, neither in the other Member States noreven in Germany: such is the ‘German problem’.

The second article “Is the German Question – is the German Problem back? The Role of Germany in Europe from a Historical Perspective”, by Wolf D. Gruner, describes the evolution of this problem from the 20th century to the present time and discusses the future role of Germany as a possible ‘model’ and a motor of a new EU.

The third article “Looking at the Future of the EU with the Insight into the Past”, di Maria Grazia Melchionni, analyses possible ways and means to build up a new Europe, which should be able to draw lessons from its mistakes, tackle wide-spread criticism, face current challenges, and set new objectives for the future. The Eurozone could become the avant-garde of a new EU, since it is based on the model of differentiated integration; as such, the Eurozone could be the appropriate frame to build up the Permanent and Structured Cooperation: a Eurozone of defence seems the most appropriate scenario for boosting European integration.

At the same time, however, increase of divergence in the socio-economic growth of the EU member States may threaten the stability of the Eurozone, as described in the fourth article “European Economic Growth and Common Monetary Policies”, by Francesco Carlucci. Divergence has been growing over the period 1999-2016 in key areas, such as the level of investments, employment, inflation, and competitiveness. Various therapies may support economic convergence,such as: higher labour productivity and internal devaluation; reform of the production processes and regulatory reforms; use of two euros, namely the current one and another one devalued by 15%, depending on the level of competitiveness.

According to the fifth article “How to Make the Eurozone Sustainable. A Public Law Perspective”,by EdoardoChiti, the Eurozone has evolved from a ‘jurisdiction’ to an ‘organisation’: as an organisation, the Eurozone faces major legal and institutional problems, which adversely impact on the EU as a whole.  The article outlines several possible macro-alternatives to overcome the difficulties stemming from the tension inherent to the Eurozone-EU relationships, and the misguided institutional design of the currency union. Four members of the Eurozone - France, Italy, Germany and Spain – have recently resolved to strengthen their common action against terrorism and illegal cyber activities, thereby making the Eurozone a ‘launching pad’ for a Permanent and Structured Cooperation (PESCO).

Against this background, the sixth article “Develop the European Defence from the Eurozone”, by Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, highlights the importance of striking a balance between cyberdefence and the need to protect security on one side, and individual rights and the protection of personal data on the other: those two dimensions must be considered as closely interdependent, to prevent unaccountable regimes from claiming the ‘raison d’état’ to justify suppression of freedoms. In this frame, the article outlines key areas for a PESCO among Eurozone member States. The stability of the European Union is also threatened by the frauds affecting the EU budget. The seventh and last article,“Fight against the frauds committed to the detriment of the EU: towards a European Prosecutor”, by Claudio De Rose, describes the main features of this type of crime, the role played by the specialised EU actors, namely OLAF, Eurojust and Europol, and the recent creation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), as a totally new EU body, since it has the authority to directly investigate and prosecute the offences falling under its competence, and to bring prosecutions before national courts against the citizens of the participating member States. However, for the EPPO to function properly, it is indispensable to achieve some levels of harmonisation among different substantive and procedural national criminal laws. In this context, with specific reference to Italy, the article discusses the impact of the recent caselaw of the Court of Justice of the EU regarding the application of the prescription period: as a result of such developments, Italy will probably have to review related provisions under national law.