Centre news

Franco-German expert group presents report on EU institutional reforms

Jacques Delors Centre Senior Policy Fellow Thu Nguyen co-authors recommendations on how to prepare the EU for the accession of future member states.

On 19 September, the Group of Twelve from France and Germany presented their report to the French Secretary of State for European Affairs Laurence Boone and her German counterpart Anna Lührmann, who commissioned the report.  

“A big thank you to [the group] for their suggestions that will continue to feed our thinking for a stronger and more democratic way of life,” Laurence Boone said

The proposals were developed independently of the two governments and included input from experts and policymakers, both former and active, as well as from other member states and candidate countries.

"Laurence Boone [...] and I had asked 12 experts to think about how the EU can become ready for enlargement, how it can strengthen the rule of law. And this report comes at exactly the right time," Anna Lührmann said

The report presents two main observations. The first is that the inclusion of new member states is a geostrategic imperative – the stability of the continent and the security of the EU and candidate countries require rapid progress in this area, whatever the scale of the task. The second is that the EU’s institutions, policies and budget must be reformed before any further enlargement, or at the latest at the time of enlargement.

The expert group makes reform proposals, both in the short- and in the long-term, aimed at increasing the EU's capacity to act, strengthening rule of law and democratic legitimacy, and getting institutions enlargement-ready. Highlighting that reforms are necessary for enlargement, the report outlines different paths to changes in the Treaty on European Union and proposes that certain states move forward at different speeds, depending on their willingness to reform.

The report attracted a great deal of attention and was covered by numerous international media, among others the Financial Times, Politico, Handelsblatt, Tagesschau, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Euractiv.  

The expert group was launched on 23 January 2023 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty and the German-French Council of Ministers. It is composed of Thu Nguyen (Jacques Delors Centre), Daniela Schwarzer (Bertelsmann Stiftung), Shahin Vallée (DGAP), Nicolai von Ondarza (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik), Olivier Costa (CNRS CEVIPOF), Pervenche Beres (Fondation Jean-Jaurès), Funda Tekin (Institut für Europäische Politik), Christine Verger (Institut Jacques Delors), Sophia Russack (Centre for European Policy Studies), Franz Mayer (Universität Bielefeld), Gilles Gressani (Grand Continent) and Gaëlle Marti (Université de Lyon III).