Monday, 25 December 2017

Time for the European Union to adopt a new strategy...

The European Union White Paper on the Future of Europe, appears somewhat timid, and its five scenarios all are alternative ways of managing the slow and gradual but relentless decline of the European Union as its relative demographic and economic heft diminishes in the world.

EU Strategy White Paper

With respect, it is more about managing the status quo and lacking in ambition and scope and undersells the possibilities.

In this post, I present a sixth scenario which I would like the EU to consider. This is radically different and would allow the EU to play a central and pole position in the future global economy and politic.

Future of Europe: Scenario Six

1. Rationale 

The current White Paper feels to be more about managing the status quo and lacking in ambition and scope and undersells the possibilities and to an extent is about managing a gradual erosion of the EU role in the world.

2.  EU Label is an implicit barrier move to a different label - GU

The label “European” is now becoming an implicit limiter of ambition and scope. I propose that the EU change itself from the “European Union” to the “Global Union” (GU).

3. Expansion beyond the continent of Europe

The EU is more about the concept and vision of people rising above petty nationalistic desires and thinking of the broader global good. In that sense it is more of an emotional vision and journey than a narrow mercantilist “what’s in it for me” attitude. In that context, it makes no sense to limit the EU to only the continent of Europe.
I propose that the following countries be invited to join the GU as full members:

New Zealand
South Korea

4. Creating a Tiered / Staged system to encourage further entrants

Between the start of the process of joining the GU to finally becoming a full GU member can take many years. During this period governments may change and politicians pushing for GU membership have little to show and their electorates will only put up with the “Jam Tomorrow” message for that long. If new governments get elected they may entirely take the GU membership off the agenda. (e.g. Turkey).

A Staged system is proposed where the stages represent partial membership of the GU. Each of the stage would have defined criteria that need to be met for the country to be given this partial stage of membership. The decision of which stage the entrant has reached would be a technocratic decision and not a political one, and as the candidate nation progresses in its civil systems and governance it would seamlessly move up the stage ladder.

Four stages of S20, S40, S60 and S80 are envisaged corresponding to a 20%, 40%, 60% and 80% membership, with the next stage after S80 being S100 or full membership of the GU.

As countries progress up the stage ladder, the progressively gain further GU benefits, eg a progressive lowering of barriers to trade and free movement of people with the rest of the GU. Of course if they backslide in their governance, then they can move backwards too e.g. from a S80 to S60.

Once the Staged System is in place, it makes the GU attractive to a wider audience as the politicians in potential candidates can see that they can get benefits within the term of their own government. It also protects the GU against having to give full membership to countries whose civil systems and governance are not yet matured to allow full GU membership.

This approach creates a powerful force for innovation and change in the entrant countries as although G100 (or full membership) may be many years or even a decade or two off, they can aspire to G20 and achieve it within a single parliament term.

5. The Staged System will grow GU Influence in Emerging Markets

Once this staged procedure is in place, countries from emerging economies could be invited to enter talks and move towards becoming S20 members, including the following:

South Africa

As these are all emerging economics with growing populations this would help them to further develop but also help the GU to maintain and grow its influence in more rapidly growing economies, and is a win-win for both parties.

6. The Impact of this Sixth Scenario on the GU and the World

Rather than managing an eroding influence and relatively speaking a slow and gradual decline, as would be the case in the other five Scenarios, this Sixth Scenario is positive and with growth and expansion allows the GU to increase its influence and presence around the globe.

With many problems being cross national and global in nature, it uniquely positions the GU to play a leadership role in setting the agenda and resolving these issues, such as climate change, military / nuclear build up, trade etc

This strategy enables the GU to be a huge and powerful catalyst and agent of progress towards better democracies, governance and civil societies around the world creating a powerful upward spiral of change and progress and benefit to all the citizens within the GU nations. In effect it is directly exporting good governance around the world with huge benefits to all.

It would in time allow the GU with its increased demographic and economic heft to become a more powerful and influential integrated unit than the current so called super powers of United States, China and Russia which would stand out like dinosaurs and as legacy relics of history, until they too face the inevitable and join the GU.

7. Political Demands of the Sixth Scenario

The previous five scenarios are pretty much tinkering with the status quo and rather timid and not too exciting to get people engaged. It is also something that really only needs everyday technocratic politicians to deliver.

The sixth scenario is something that would capture the imagination of all the peoples of Europe, as well as the world, and engage them emotionally, and would need politicians who can rise to the challenge and who would certainly go down in history as great statesmen and stateswomen.

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