FMRS 2014: The Future of Europe at Stake
Panel discussions at each conference stop along the Road Show will consider the current Euro-zone crisis, explore what kind of Europe people want, examine the ‘conundrum’ in which the European Union finds itself in and discuss ways to turn the current crisis into an opportunity. In the Balkan countries we will additionally focus on corruption and how to best fight it, whereas in the Caucasus regions we will cover the current regional tensions, focus on how economic freedom, the rule of law and protection of property rights provides options for improvements.
Hopes and fears arise in the Continent. Some believe that reform, liberalization, real austerity and rationality are going to be the underpinning of the policies to come. It is time for most countries to live within their means. “Tough love” in sufficient doses appears to be the best medicine to get there. On the other hand, some voices warn that Europe is losing its social balance. As a result, a new wave of both far right populists and left-wing demagogues are on the rise. These may even pose a threat to Europe Itself.
In this context, what can be expected from the European authorities? Should they continue with their centralization efforts? Or should all sorts of government be severely limited? In the current scenario of a sluggish economy and high youth unemployment some believe that more Brussels is exactly what European nations do not need. Moreover, the irresponsible policies of short-term economic patches instead of long-needed transformations could be blamed on the European leaders –who are sadly not up to the challenge the Union is confronting.
Europe desperately needs structural reforms. Education, finances, labor markets, regulations, national budgets, welfare spending, immigration, taxes, and the core of EU institutions must be rethought. The ones who emerge as new political leaders after the European elections will definitely set the key of how our countries will deal with these pivotal issues.
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