'EU & ME' : Commemorating 25 Years of the Maastricht Treaty
Last Friday, 9 December 2016, leading politicians, scholars and interested parties followed the invitation of the municipality of Maastricht to attend the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty. Among the many speakers to attend, the city was not only honoured to welcome President of the European Commission Jean- Claude Juncker, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz but also the Dutch Minister of Finance and President of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem as well as Herman van Rompuy, former President of the European Council.
During the event, several MCEL and CERiM members were given the opportunity to reflect on the past and the future of the EU. As one of the panelists during the second round of discussion, Prof. Bruno de Witte reflected on current shortcomings and challenges for the future of the EU, while Matteo Bonelli and CERiM member Marie-Therèse Gold interacted with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Dutch Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
Commission President Juncker opened the summit by stressing his pride at having been among among those to have signed the Treaty, and deems it even more important for the public to remember that an Economic and Monetary Union among more than two dozen sovereign nation states, has and will never be "something obvious, evident to realise". To envisage a future for the Union, the European project, cannot simply be explained by evoking history but necessitates for it to be explained by what it is "today and what it can be tomorrow".
Putting great emphasis on the value and importance of the treat Treaty, Martin Schulz' speech invited the audience to have to look back to the historical context in which it was concluded in order to not let the dramatic developments of the past years undermine the fundamental values upon which the European Union was founded, as " these values are the glue of our European societies, the glue that has kept us together over more than half a century already and that is the guarantee for peace on our continent and within our societies".
Concluding, Dutch Minister of Finance Dijsselbloem sought to remind the audience during his talk that the interests Europeans share are more vital than the subjects that could possible divide them. As the process of integration within the Eurozone has restarted, it needs to advanced and for that, it is indispensable to "finish what we started ... and to put stability, security and opportunity in the lives of people at the heart of our work again".