As the citizens of the European Union (EU) prepare for elections that will take place between 23 and 26 May, the Union’s leaders will meet in Sibiu, Romania to discuss the development of the Union over the next five years.
A new set of European Commissioners will be appointed following the elections, including a new president of the European Commission (EC). The EC is the EU body that proposes new legislation, which is later approved by the European Parliament, which will be elected in the May elections, and the Council of Ministers, composed of ministers from each of the 27 member states.
There will be no British representation at the Sibiu meeting due to the country’s imminent departure from the EU. However, the United Kingdom will hold European Parliamentary elections, a legal requirement for members, because it has not left the EU by the due date. But the U.K. will not have a vote on the appointment of commissioners.
In addition, the U.K. will not take part in the discussions on the future of the EU as its member states debate the priorities for the coming political cycle.
At the meeting, member state leaders will seek to find a united way forward for the EU’s 27 nations and their citizens.
According to a paper produced by the EC, “The Future of Europe: Europe in May 2019 Preparing for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union in an increasingly uncertain world,” the “changing economies and worlds of work, changing climate and changing geopolitics are already shaping our Union and will be major drivers for our future. These must be at the forefront of leaders’ minds when they decide, in the light of the outcome of the European Parliament elections, on our level of ambition and our priorities for the next five years and beyond.”
High on the list of priorities will be discussions on four key areas: digitalization; climate change and the environment; an increasingly multi-polar world; and demography and society.
Within these four broad discussions will be more focused debates on the development of transport and communications systems, increased investment in research and development of environmental technologies and the EU’s need to catch up with the digital revolution that it says is dominated by the U.S. and China.
There also will be discussions on new tax regulations that meet the requirements of the digital age, and other policies ranging from a more flexible regulatory framework for transport, a budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness among other social policies and investment decisions.
Budgets will be agreed and set next year and will be implemented for a seven-year period from 2021 to 2027. Monies will be allocated for specific purposes as agreed by the member states during the coming discussions.