Two key events marked 2020: The European Union lost one of its Member States, the United Kingdom; the international community faced the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis. Developments due to the worldwide vaccination campaign, the policies enacted to foster the economic recovery and the most recent 2021 Afghan crisis urge reflections on the future of a Union at twenty-seven Members.
Recalled events may represent a step-change in European history. A prompt reaction of EU institutions in these fields could transform the Union into a powerful political entity. As a matter of fact, until now, only the pandemic recession triggered such a reaction. The European Commission issued joint debt to fund the “Next Generation EU”, a strategic pillar of the wider economic Recovery Program and a first step towards implementing its Green Deal Strategy. Related financial resources have been redistributed across the Member States according to the depth of the pandemic recession at the national level. In this light, the pandemic turns out to be both a challenge and an opportunity for long-due structural reforms in Europe. Firstly, about rethinking the rules governing the EU’s institutions and its monetary and fiscal policy. Secondly, the political response needed to face the climate challenge and the transition to a carbon-free economy (as foreseen in the “Green Deal”). Only time will tell whether these challenges represent a European “Hamilton momentum” in the light of the United States’ constitutional origins, i.e., the long-awaited trigger to build the European Federal Republic.
The workshop, then, aims to kick off a new round of discussions on these most critical issues, yielding insights on the future of Europe beyond the current distress.