The Unification of Europe and the Modern-Day European Union (EU)

The Unification of Europe and

the Modern-Day European Union (EU)

By

Ettore Greco
Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Deputy Director, Institute of International Affairs (Rome)
Managing Editor, The International Spectator

July 20, 2007
The Cosmos Club, Washington DC

Dinner and Lecture Hosted by the Streit Council

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Ettore Greco, Guest Speaker delivering his lecture on July 20, 2007

Ettore Greco was a visiting fellow at the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) of the Brookings Institution and deputy director of the Instituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in Rome. Further, he is the editor of the IAI's foreign policy journal The International Spectator. From 1993 to 2000 he directed the IAI's program on Central and Eastern Europe, before becoming the Director of the institute's transatlantic program. He was adjunct Professor of European Institutions and EU Foreign Policy at the universities of Parma and Bologna, and has authored a number of publications on the foreign and security policy of the EU, the EU's enlargement and its constitutional reform, Balkan issues and Italy's foreign policy.

At the Streit Council dinner, Greco introduced his speech with a reference to the transatlantic roots of the Italian Institute of International Affairs (IAI) in Rome, of which he was the deputy director and whose founder was the well known European federalist, Altiero Spinelli, back in 1965. Today, IAI is one of the oldest, and largest, Italian foreign policy study centers.


Board Members at the Cosmos dinner.
From left to right: Bruce Shine, Richard Henry, Rita Mahon and Ed Rawson

The body of his speech concerned the current state of the European integration process. On the one hand, Greco mentioned the recent constitutional reforms, which are expected to be ratified in time for the next European Parliamentary election in June 2009, since the negotiations on the new treaty should proceed smoothly, much of it has already been agreed, and no "particularly problematic" countries are planning referendums. The constitutional changes will include important provisions increasing the decision-making capacity of the Union, adopting more majority-voting, and establishing new institutional bodies to increase the leadership capacity at the EU supranational level, which many argue is essential to an organization now consisting of 27 member states.

However, Greco concluded that these reforms would only lead to relatively small steps forward in European integration, due to the "enlargement fatigue." Growing discomfort had been emerging among the public and the policymakers about the prospect of further accessions. Greco predicted that after the 2004 "big bang enlargement" when Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia all joined the EU, we will witness a phase of "at least a slowdown of the process, if not a pause." He also addressed the issue of Turkey, outlining the problems of its accession into the EU, including the veto power of Cyprus, and the promise of some states, such as France and Austria, to hold popular referendums over its membership. In his view, the only country that will be likely and able to join the EU in the next decade will be Croatia.

Although he remained skeptical, Greco emphasized the importance of the recent Reform Treaty as a step, albeit a small one, towards improved organization and leadership at the supranational level, enabling a better functioning, and expanding Union.

Above: Board Members -
Left: Neal Potter, Richard Henry with wife Rita Mahon
Right: Neal Potter and Don Dennis

Above: Board Members -

Left: Don Dennis and Richard Arndt opening the evening
Right: Tiziana Stella and Ed Rawson at Board Meeting

Above: Board Members -

Left: One of the tables at the Cosmos dinner
Right: Richard Henry opening the evening

 


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