Guy’s pick: “Doing things more efficiently and doing more together 

EPA / PATRICK SEEGER

Jean-Claude Juncker (R), President of the European Commission, speaks with Guy Verhofstadt (L), leader of the ALDE Liberal group at the European Parliament, before the plenary session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, 13 January 2015.

We need an inter-institutional reflection – like we had with the Monti Group, with representatives from the three institutions, because the Commission cannot do this on its own.


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Liberals’ leader Guy Verhofstadt did what he was expected to do: he set aside the more conservative options on the EU-27 path, and picked the most innovative and federalising scenarios. He also set aside Germany’s favourite multiple speed option, the single market option and the “business as usual” Bratislava roadmap, that was already not enough for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

Verhofstadt asked European Commission president and his colleagues to agree to “an inter-institutional reflection” like Monti Group – an independent high-level group on its own resources that was set up in February 2014 to reflect on more transparent, simple, fair and democratically accountable ways to finance the European project. Monti Group took the name of its chair, Mario Monti and is composed of members designated by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission.

Juncker is not expected to agree to such a development, as this would send the White Paper debate on the EU-27 back to the institutions and “Brussels bubble”, away form the European citizens.

Verhofstadt asks Europeans to refocus on the common future of the EU-27 

“Brexit is a sideshow. The common future of the 27 is what counts,” adds Verhofstadt, asking from MEPs and Europeans to refocus on the collective future of the 27 member states.“We shouldn’t focus on the negative story of one country leaving us, but on the optimistic prospect of building a new common destiny for the 27.

On the Commission’s White Paper, Verhofstadt made his pick and asked for a Union that could offer a European solution to the migrant crisis, that could expand the internal market to the digital and energy sectors, and build capacities to keep Europe safe and stabilise its neighbourhood.

“What we absolutely should avoid is going further down the path of ‘Europe à la carte’, with opt-outs and exemptions for everyone. Europe today is a union of ‘too little, too late’ because we are a loose confederation of nation states paralyzed by the unanimity rule. If we want Europe to work again, we need more unity,” concluded Verhofstadt.

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