Brussels think tanks join forces to debate 'the State of the Union'

12 January 2010

At the Opening Plenary ‘From Lisbon Treaty to Global Recession: out of the frying pan into the fire’ policy analysts looked at the institutional implications of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU and the economic crisis and its external performance in an increasingly multilateral world.

The session was followed by four workshops, where participants debated the following issues:

  • how to develop the EU climate policy model following the Copenhagen debacle;
  • how to deal with Europe’s economic challenges;
  • Stockholm Plus, transforming political goals in coherent policies on migration, social cohesion and human rights;
  • developing new global governance in a new global order and the EU’s position.

President Barroso ‘upbeat’ about future prospects

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso addressed the closing plenary on ‘Defining an EU Action Agenda for 2010-2014’, and in contrast to the scepticism that had pervaded some of the workshops, delivered what he termed a ‘message of confidence’ about EU future prospects.

While he acknowledged the Copenhagen Climate Change meeting had failed to meet its objectives, he insisted the EU would live up to its commitments in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and would lead by example. Looking at the EU’s economic future he said it “made common sense” to have closer economic cooperation between EU Member States.

During his speech President Barroso thanked the think tanks for their “contribution to a stronger Europe” and stressed the need for increased communication and cooperation with the Brussels think tank community.

Note: The nine think tanks are: the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Bruegel, the Centre For European Studies (CEPS), the Egmont Institute, the European Policy Centre (EPC), Friends of Europe-Les amis de l’Europe, the Institut français des relations internationales (Ifri), Madariaga-College of Europe Foundation and the StiftungWissenschaft und Politik (SWP).

Agence Europe is issuing a special report on the Forum.