When Vladimir Putin first invaded Ukraine in 2014, Europeans had a simple choice: increase or decrease their energy dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Europeans chose to increase. National governments like Spain and France could have freed themselves from Russian gas just by implementing their own national building renovation plans. But they chose not to.
Last March, Spain and Portugal reached a historic agreement: for the first time ever, two European countries could set a price cap on gas for power generation, for a period of twelve months. A period to seek agreements was opened in both countries, which ended on 9 June, when the European Commission gave the final approval to the mechanism. This undoubtedly proves that the current European Union is very different to the European Union we were living in during the financial crisis of the last decade.
From the local to supranational scale, the Covid-19 crisis forced the world to face the question: who should oversee the solutions? Which authority, and on what ground? This question, and the change of paradigm it brought, is an opportunity to debate and reflect on the place of citizens in the decision-making process, especially in places far from power centres, such as rural areas. Examples of citizens’ participation in rural areas, from successful and less successful strategies to the place of the public sector at the local and European levels in community-led development, can show the way.
On 27 April, the Commission proposed a package of five different measures to facilitate legal migration to the EU from non-EU countries. Although the individual measures are useful, they will do little on their own to create more immigration opportunities because access to the EU labour market is controlled by member states.
In early March 2022, EU housing ministers met informally for the first time in almost ten years. They had much to discuss – the housing crisis in Europe is evident. There is no country, no region, and no city where people are not suffering from the rising cost of housing. The ministers’ response was ambivalent. […]
To achieve strategic autonomy in the digital domain, the EU must do more than legislate. It needs to assert more political control over crucial supply chains and standardisation processes, and invest in the development of public digital infrastructure. Digital strategic autonomy: the EU needs to go beyond legislation This European Commission – a ‘geopolitical’ Commission […]