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European Union: the next 50 years

Maurice Fraser| (ed)
Financial Times Business with Agora Projects in association with LSE (March 2007)

The European Union has its roots in the European Economic Community (EEC), established by the Treaty of Rome nearly 50 years ago.

On 25 March 1957, the leaders of France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg met in Rome to set in motion the idea of an 'ever closer union'. The European Union represents a quantum leap in European integration, with a common currency, 21 more members, a single market, new policies - which go well beyond the original idea of a simple customs union.

Today, the European Union means different things to different people -

  • Is it a mechanism for its members to boost economic growth and living standards for its citizens?
  • Is it a tool to spread freedom and improve political, legal and economic structures among the newer members?
  • Is it a global force, enabling its member states to compete more effectively with the US and dynamic new economies such as India and China?
  • Or is it just a source of unnecessary regulation and bureaucracy, hampering enterprise and business?

How can the EU more effectively meet the aspirations and serve the interests of its citizens? How can some sense of momentum be restored to the European 'project' - whatever form that takes? To address these questions as we pass this historic milestone, Financial Times Business with Agora Projects, in association with the European Institute at LSE, have assembled a distinguished cast list of 50 decision-makers, leading thinkers and opinion formers to share their ideas and proposals for Europe's next half-century.

The editorial contributors - with nationals of each of the EU27 - include:

  • Angela Merkel, German chancellor
  • Jose Manual Barroso, president of the European Commission
  • Howard Davies, director of the London School of Economics
  • Javier Solana, EU high representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy
  • Olli Rehn, EU commissioner for enlargement
  • Danuta Hubner, EU commissioner for regional policy
  • Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, finance minister of Italy
  • Carl Bildt, foreign minister of Sweden
  • Peter Sutherland, chairman BP, former director-general of the WTO
  • Richard Descoings, director of Sciences Po, Paris
  • Vaira Vike-Freiberga, president of Latvia
  • Theodora Bakoyannis, foreign minister of Greece
  • Bernard-Henri Levy, philosopher and writer
  • Nicolas Sarkozy, leader of UMP Party, France
  • Robert Cooper, director-general Politico-Military Affairs, Council of the European Union and writer on international affairs
  • Gérard Mortier, director of the Opera de Paris
  • Ernest-Antoine Seillière, president of UNICE

Launch event - Wednesday 14 March

LSE hosts a major public debate to mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, and the publication of European Union: the next fifty years, on Wednesday 14 March 2007.

The debate will be chaired by LSE's director, Howard Davies, with a panel including several of the book's contributors, including Robert Cooper, director-general, Politico-Military Affairs, Council of the EU; Professor Timothy Garton Ash of Oxford University; Gérard Mortier, director of the Opera de Paris; Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform and Katalin Bogyay, secretary of state for education and culture, Hungary. LSE is pleased to acknowledge the support of the European Commission for this event.

Press cuttings

Times of Malta
Maltese academic among 50 top thinkers asked to set out their ideas for Europe (8 April 07)
Last December, Financial Times Business and the London School of Economics approached 50 top thinkers to put forward their vision of Europe for the next 50 years. The result is a publication entitled: European Union - The Next Fifty Years, published by FT Business and launched at the London School of Economics on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the European Project.

Prospect Magazine
The EU in 2007 (25 March 07)
Article by Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform. Parts of this article are based on a contribution to European Union: the next 50 years, a book published recently by FT Business, Agora and the London School of Economics.