On 12 June 2018 at the headquarters of the Polish Institute of International Affairs there was held the public Directors’ Debate entitled “What does the Future Hold for the European Union?”. There were sitting on the panel Mr. Charles Powell CMG, director of the Elcano Royal Institute and Mr. Sławomir Dębski, director of the PISM, and their exchanges were moderated by Mrs. Magdalena Skajewska from the International Section of the Polish Radio. The aim of the debate was to summarise the two-day expert seminar entitled "The Future of the European Union: Ideas from Poland and Spain".
The Elcano Royal Institute of Madrid is the leading analytical centre in Spain in the field of international policy and the key institutional PISM partner in this country. Debate, conducted in English, was organised in cooperation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain in Poland.
The Directors’ Debate was focused on three key issues of EU policy: the future of the Eurozone; effects of the migration crisis; and the European Neighbourhood Policy. The debate demonstrated significant potential of cooperation between Poland and Spain in the face of the challenges facing the European Union. Importantly, the EU is currently undergoing a transformation related to brexit and faces the challenge of institutional reforms proposed, among others, by the French President Emanuel Macron, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The aim of the debate was also to identify areas where the interests of both countries diverge.
In respect of the Economic and Monetary Union, Spain perceives its role as one of the leaders of the deeper integration based on the federalist model, with particular emphasis on strengthening EU's own resources base, the role of the European Central Bank as a last-chance lender, and the development of EU unemployment insurance scheme as well as budget transfers within the Eurozone. Regarding the issues of migration and the EU’s neighbourhood policy, both countries are seeing themselves as supporters of the active involvement of the European Union in this policy area, including strengthening the capabilities of the Frontex. At the same time, there are significant differences arising from national immigration policies and the main geographical directions from which economic migrants and refugees arrive to both countries. Currently, Poland and Spain, respectively the key countries of the EU’s Eastern and Southern flank, have a significantly better understanding of the problems and challenges faced by the EU’s other flank. There is also a common understanding for the need to develop a comprehensive EU strategy on migration that would address the effects of population growth in the North and the Sub-Saharan Africa.
The debate was followed by a session of questions and answers moderated by Mrs. Skajewska.