Unanimity is making a mockery of the European Union
The forceful Europe I am fighting for is crippled by its own rules, says Guy Verhofstadt. It is time to rethink the EU.
The world around us is on fire, and yet there is no sign of a united European response. Not a day goes by when we are not faced by yet another example: we are shocked by the unimaginable drama unfolding in the Greek refugee camps, yet no balanced European asylum and migration policy is forthcoming as the heads of state and government leaders continue to insist on unanimous decision-making.
People seek protection and decisive action.
That is what Europe should stand for.
We are all sympathetic to the plight of the democratic opposition in Belarus, where people stand up for the same rights we in Europe take for granted, only to end up being beaten and arrested by their own government. Yet the EU fails to penalise those behind this kind of state terror. We face threats from Russia and Turkey, yet we are unable to respond appropriately.
Our shared European values are being undermined from within, by autocratic parties in government in Poland and Hungary who are even using European funds to do so… and still the EU cannot find the unity needed to command the respect it deserves.
People are looking for protection and decisive action in this world. That is what Europe should stand for.
Scrapping the unanimity rule is just one example. The planned Conference on the Future of Europe should clarify on the broader story: what is it we want to together as Europeans, and what is the best way of doing so?
Europe is not only the most wonderful peace project of the 20th century, it is also our best hope to defend our interests and values in the 21st century. It is high time for us to rethink and reinvent the EU!
Guy Verhofstadt has a wealth of political experience under his belt. He first made a name for himself as a party leader and served as Belgium’s prime minister for nearly a decade.
Since then, he has been fighting for a strong and united European Union.