Josep Borrell, former president of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2007 as well as participant in other activities related to the UE building process, has given a lecture about European Integration within the opening session of the Jean Monnet’s Module on European Economic Policy. Where is Europe? Has its disintegration process began? or, instead, is the Brexit a remedy against certain disintegration movements? These questions were part of the Josep Borrel’s speech in the event that took place yesterday chaired by the chancellor of UC, Ángel Pazos Carro and in which also participated the dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics, Pablo Cotos; the director general of Economics and European Affairs of the Government of Cantabria, Montserrat Garcia, and the Jean Monnet Module’s director, Judith Clifton. Among the general audience, there were both teachers and students, and also the vice-chancellors of Internationalization and Cooperation, Teresa Susinos, together with the Coordination and Strategic Actions, Marta Pascual.
BREXIT AND FREE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS
The Professor and PhD in Economics has reviewed the origin of Brexit: “To Limit the free movement of persons is at the origin of the British decision. However, despite that, they continue to be interested in being within the single market. I hope that now, in negotiating its way out of the European Union, they make it clear that without a free movement of people, there is no access to the single market. It may not be appropiate to offer them a better deal than European Union has with Norway because then we would have a contagion effect”.
“There is great uncertainty about what will happen, but remember, we also believe that leaving the euro was going to be bad for them, and then it was not,” Borrell indicated.
Precisely on the free movement of persons, Borrell wanted to emphasize that “in Europe there is a serious demographic problem, especially in Germany and Spain, and only we will be able to solve it with the arrival of immigrants, who come, of course, from places without prosperity nor peace. Europe needs to incorporate millions of people from outside the continent and, therefore, ask ourselves if promote the integration of these people is a priority issue today.” “This will not stop. It’s not something circumstantial,” he noted.
“It is necessary for the member states to be increasingly united, but what it is true that all of us have a very different perception of the world, values, and, of course, a different economic policy”. “Therefore,” he noted, “I think trying to advance in political integration has no perspective. The differences between us are not going to overcome immediately.”
So, according with the former minister, a solution could be “further integration but maybe not for all us, but for a few because all the member states are not yet ready. If we do nothing, we will be a large market with a currency that does not serve the interests of all the countries.”
NOT SO-EUROPEAN YOUTH
Borrell stressed that young people today “are not as Europeans as we were before, because there is no a story of Europe”. We should explain that the identity is not lost for being part of Europe, we need to offer a vision more positive of Europe today than that has existed in recent years, even by part of the governments of the Member States “. “There are elements that create confidence in Europe that strengthens our position in a globalized world,” he noted.
JEAN MONNET MODULE
Jean Monnet module on European economic policy was granted to the University of Cantabria by the European Commission under the direction of Judith Clifton, professor in the Department of Economics. This module turns the UC into one of the references, both national and European, with regard to research and teaching on European integration with funding provided by the European Commission (from 2016 to 2018 ). Both university researchers and students will see increased their skills and knowledge about the economic dimension of European integration process, the challenges of the future, as well as the impact of European policies on citizenship.