The European Union has brought peace between its members — a peace that has now lasted for more than 60 years. Bit what is on the European Union agenda’s? Find out more about how the EU is tackling today’s challenges as well as what its main priorities are.
- Jobs, growth and investment
In 2015, the EU created the European Fund for Strategic Investments. This fund, which was launched with an initial €21 billion backed by the EU, has been attracting public and private investors which will, in turn, invest strategically wherever the investment is most needed in particular on infrastructure, innovation, smaller companies and start-ups.
- Digital single market
EU working on new rules to help people and companies easily buy and sell products and services online in all countries, like they would already do at home. The EU is therefore working on improving digital infrastructures. It wants to provide high-speed access to the internet for all, including for those who live in remote and rural areas.
- Energy union and climate
Every EU citizen should have access to secure, sustainable, affordable and competitive energy and one of the greatest challenges for the European energy system is to provide this. To improve this situation, the EU has set ambitious climate and energy targets for 2030, namely:
- a 40 % reduction in greenhouse gases;
- an increase in the proportion of renewable energies (wind, solar power and biofuels) to 27 %;
- a 27 % reduction in energy use.
- Internal market
The single market is one of the EU’s greatest achievements. It allows people, goods, services and capital to move more freely. It offers opportunities for professionals and businesses as well as greater choice and lower prices for consumers. It enables people to travel, live, work and study wherever they wish.
To make this happen, the European Commission is:
- creating a ‘capital markets union’, making it easier for small businesses to raise money and making Europe a more attractive place in which to invest;
- encouraging workers to take up jobs in other EU countries in order to fill vacancies and meet the needs for special skills;
- strengthening social aspects;
- combating tax evasion and tax fraud.
- A deeper and fairer economic and monetary union
When the global economic crisis hit, the EU and its 28 countries took unprecedented measures to protect their economies. These measures proved difficult for citizens and did not always take into account the effect on people’s lives. Today, the EU wants to draw on the lessons learned and complete the economic and monetary union to help support disadvantaged people and to create more jobs. In doing so, it aims to ensure the stability of the euro, to strengthen public finances and to relaunch social dialogue.
- Free trade
The European Union represents the biggest importer and exporter in the world. United, the 28 countries of the European Union carry more weight that each Member State alone.
The open markets generate economic growth and better jobs for Europe and its partners. They also give EU consumers more choice and purchasing power and help firms to compete abroad.
But this free trade isn’t done at any price. Each trade agreement has negotiated with the EU must respect its values and not be harmful to its citizens or to the environment.
- Justice and fundamental rights
The European Commission has taken steps to improve the protection of fundamental rights in the area of data protection, the sharing of personal information and consumers’ rights, and has stepped up efforts to boost gender equality, to fight discrimination and to stop human trafficking.
The EU is stepping up its efforts to save lives, fight human trafficking and cooperate with the countries where the migrants come from and pass through on their way to another country. Even more fundamentally, the EU wants to tackle the root causes that force people to escape and migrate: poverty, war, persecution, violations of human rights and natural disasters.
The EU has already done a great deal to tackle the refugee crisis, and continues to do so. As well as providing more money, it helps to relocate asylum seekers already in Europe and to resettle people in need from neighbouring countries. In addition, in order to offer safe ways for people to enter the EU legally, it is working to improve security at its borders and to tackle the problem of people smuggling.
- A stronger global actor
The EU is a key player on many foreign policy issues. For the EU, being a stronger global actor means that it is able to respond efficiently to global challenges, to promote the EU’s values and to contribute to peace and prosperity in the world.
- Democratic change
The EU is committed to real democracy and reform. The European Commission has made it a priority not only to propose new laws only when they are needed and when there is a clear European added value, but also to be fully transparent about what it is doing.