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The EU Political Agenda in 2018: 10 key issues

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Schuman Associates attended the European Parliament Research Service (EPRS) ‘Ten issues to watch in 2018’. These issues are likely to be featured on this year’s EU political agenda and the future of the EU budget:


The disparities between the EU and third countries are still growing and there is a need for a younger work force. Irregular migration is still a problem that requires attention and the EU needs legal pathways to migration and a greater international cooperation on managing migration.


Agreement has been reached on citizens’ rights, the Irish border and the financial settlement. Further discussion is needed on: police cooperation, the role of the ECJ etc. . Next steps are a discussion about transitional arrangements and what is going to be the future framework for the EU-U.K. relationship. Currently, a 21 month period of transitional arrangement has been agreed on and during this period the U.K. will be in the single market, but not represented in EU institutions. Negotiations will have to be finished by the end of this year.

Cyber security and disinformation

To improve cyber security and fight disinformation, , the Parliament initiated 1.1 MEUR Stratcom Plus project, a preparatory action to counter disinformation. The Commission has set up a high level expert group on fake news and a new European centre for countering hybrid threats in cooperation with NATO. Upcoming regulations: Network and Information Security (NIS) directive and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


Currently, there are not many resources for youth empowerment. This year a lot of decisions will be taken on the renewal of available resources. The European Parliament is insisting on new money for the European Solidarity Corps without using money from other youth resources instead.

Rising inequalities

To  implement the European pillar of social rights, the Commission envisages the integration of the social scoreboard into the European semester. Initiatives in 2018: Social fairness package, Written Statement Directive, Work-life balance package and a recommendation on upskilling pathways.

Counter terrorism

This area faces 3 main issues;EU competences, cooperation and knowledge.EU competences: EU action is mostly about facilitating, funding and cooperation.

Member states matter: cooperation between  the member states needs to improve. For example, the Secrecy of law enforcement causes important information to be missed. Finally, knowledge: to what extent do we understand what is going on?

North Korea

The EU can use its power to help de-nuclearisation in North Korea. The EU should also be addressing the issue of human rights in North Korea but is currently more distracted by this nuclear issue.


On the 30th May the Commission will present the future proposal on the new Multi-annual financial framework. This will include the spending, but also some changes to the EU’s own resources system to create some revenue. This new framework is expected to breach several gaps.

3 budget expectations for this year:

  • Leading the EU from 28 to budget of 27 Member States.
  • From a relatively rigid budget with obsolete priorities to a budget to finance unexpected challenges.
  • To turn current resources systems into a modern transparent system creating revenue that will give the EU more financial authority.

Future of Eurozone

The EU still needs to complete the EU monetary union, but actually people want a completely different monetary union. The Commission wants to transform the EU stability mechanism into a European Monetary fund. There is also discussion on if an EU finance minister should be in place.

With these changes, the EU runs into 2 walls:

  • Firstly, the legal basis, because some of these changes require the EU treaties to be changed.
  • Secondly, political acceptance, we need unanimity in the Council to change treaties.

EU Elections

With EU elections planned for 23-26 May 2019, some of tThe main issues here are voter turnout and equality of votes in representation of Member States across the European Parliament.


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