Europe of results

The phrase a ‘Europe of results’ was first used by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, in May 2006, in a speech which drew together the threads of a consultative exercise – known as ‘Plan D for democracy, dialogue and debate’ – launched after the rejection of the European Constitution in the French and Dutch referenda of May-June 2005. The idea of Europe-level ‘delivery’ of practical benefits to the citizen emerged as a leitmotif of the first Barroso Commission (2004-09), as it struggled to minimise the political consequences of the Union’s aborted institutional reform. It chimed with the focus that the British prime minister, Tony Blair, had placed on concrete reform issues during the UK presidency of the Council of Ministers in the second half of 2005. The Commission argued that the ‘added value’ of common EU action lay in its ability to address the new challenges of globalisation – such as climate change, energy security, migration, terrorism and cross-border crime – which individual member states had difficulty in tackling on their own. A lively academic debate developed about whether shared values or perceived results were the key to generating legitimacy for the Union, views that became known respectively as the ‘input’ or ‘output’ legitimacy schools. In an evolution of his position, Barroso argued in a speech to the European Parliament in March 2007 that a ‘Europe of values’ and a ‘Europe of results’ represented the twin pillars of the Commission’s approach.

September 2012.

Copyright: Anthony Teasdale, 2012

Citation: The Penguin Companion to European Union (2012), additional website entry

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