Sixty-seven years after French foreign minister Robert Schuman, May 9, 1950, proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, whose members would pool coal and steel production, in what became known as the Schuman Declaration, the EU is much changed.
Far from being just a coal and steel community, it has become a trading bloc as well as a political force, with its own Parliament, Commission and Council — as well as dozens of related agencies and allied bodies, including Europol, Euratom, the European Court of Justice and Central Bank.
However, there are growing calls for more powers to be returned to member states — particularly following Britain's decision to leave the EU, which has fueled growing euroskepticism across all member states.
The debate is not about less or more Europe but about another Europe! Fully support 6th scenario! https://t.co/y3P9MP4b3O— Bart Staes (@BartStaes) 8 May 2017
"Neither the EU27 [28 EU members minus the UK] as it is, nor European countries on their own, are well-equipped enough to face the challenges of the day, Member States decide to share more power, resources and decision-making across the board," said the Greens/European Free Alliance Group in a statement marking Europe Day.
"Realizing that peace is still an issue and solidarity an absolute necessity, they regard the UK-EU exit negotiations as a wake-up call. Seeking to address the EU's crisis of legitimacy, and the rise of anti-European movements, Member States respond to the mounting pressure of the demand for more democracy and transparency," the group said.
"As a result they decide to rise above the paralysis emanating from unanimity requirements, and governance of the eurozone is made more transparent and democratic, while social and fiscal convergence becomes a priority," the group added.
The EU has been beset by a series of disagreements for years — most notably the failure to agree a common immigration policy in the wake of the migrant crisis, with some countries — such as Poland and Hungary — flatly refusing to take in any migrants according to a quota system.
Meanwhile, there are tensions in the eurozone, with Greece and other southern eurozone states struggling to meet strict austerity measures demanded by the northern members. The matter came to a head when eurozone chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem accused southern members of wasting money of "booze and women" rather than keeping within strict deficit and debt limits.