July 17, 2016

What Changes in the EU Should Be Expected in the Nearest Future?

Yuriy Radkovets

The terrorist attack in the French resort town of Nice during the celebration of Bastille Day July 14, 2016, witnessed an increasing trend to a deterioration of the situation in the sphere of European security, and a growing level of threat of large-scale terrorist acts on the territory of the European Union's states. Taking this into consideration, the leadership of France decided to extend the state of emergency in the country for another three months.

The tragic events in Nice clearly showed the decrease in the effectiveness of the existing EU security policy, the implementation of which depends on the migration situation and the EU's international decisions. The increased threat to European citizens was confirmed by the urgency of speeding up the reform of the European Union, the decision on which was taken at the informal EU leaders' meeting in Brussels on June 29, 2016.

This means that the Slovak Republic during its presidency in the EU (started July 1, 2016) will have to focus on the renewal and beginning of implementation of the reform package. At this, its content will depend on  Slovakia's position formulated by the Slovak leadership. Analysis of recent statements by Prime Minister R. Fico and the Minister of Foreign Affairs M. Lajcak suggests that Slovakia will seek to expand the powers of the European Union through the competence of the European Commission, tightening of the EU's migration policy and revision of immigration quotas, and seeking new forms of Brussels' relations with the Russian Federation.

At the same time, changes in the European Union will significantly influence the process of building a new relationship between the EU and Britain, whose inhabitants voted in the referendum for the country's withdrawal from the Organization. Responsibility for the establishment of the foundations of the United Kingdom's future relations with the EU will be assigned to the new government of Great Britain, which, after David Cameron's resignation is led by the new head of the Conservative Party Theresa May.

Direct responsibility for this process lies in the active supporters of Brexit: Minister of the UK exit from the EU David Davis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson and Foreign Trade Minister Liam Fox. Based on the intentions of the new government of Great Britain to severely restrict the flow of migrants, London in the negotiations with Brussels will try to gain greater control over migration from the EU. At this, citizens of EU countries can be provided with advantages over other categories of migrants. In this case, the United Kingdom will be able to count on sufficient access to the European market.

In the context of the EU's possible strengthening of measures to limit the scale of migration into its territory, it can be expected that the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the EU on Ukraine (to be submitted September 5, 2016) would contain strict conditions for application of the updated mechanism of suspension of the visa-free regime with the EU by third countries in relation to our state.

Note: The European Commission's proposals to change the order of suspension of the visa-free regime with third countries in case of rapid growth of illegal migration were approved by the heads of EU Ministries of Internal Affairs at the meeting in Brussels on May 20, 2016.