Memos to the new EU leadership | 2019 - 2024

Braver, greener, fairer

The policymakers who will lead the European Union until 2024 take office in the context of a more favourable economic environment than their predecessors faced. Growth is steady, employment is up and investment is recovering. But in other ways, the new leadership confronts formidable challenges. The multilateral consensus is breaking down and a geopolitical confrontation between the United States and China has become a reality. Global warming has not been tackled and the world’s emissions continue to rise. Digital technologies are challenging traditional notions of society and work.


Europe must be brave in facing up to the new circumstances. It must aim at a green transformation of the economy. And it must ensure social fairness so the costs of change do not fall on the weakest. This set of 16 memos assesses the state of affairs and the main challenges for the incoming commissioners and presidents, and provides them with concrete policy recommendations.



The full set of memos will be released at the Bruegel Annual Meetings 2019  on 4-5 September.

Register now and join the conversation using the hashtag #BAM19.



The next presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament will inherit a relatively healthy European economy, but will face three formidable challenges in the next five years.

First, the incoming presidents must define Europe’s place in an increasingly bipolar world driven by a geostrategic rivalry between the United States and China. They should avoid protectionism but must strengthen Europe’s technological, financial and security capacities. They should also continue to support multilateral institutions and stand ready to retaliate against trade aggression.


Read and download the Memo to the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament.

  • Bruegel’s Guntram Wolff and Maria Demertzis talk through their memo to the new presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament, outlining the specific measures that should be implemented in order to tackle the most formidable challenges arising in the next five years.


Memo to the president of the European Central Bank

Preparing for uncertainty 

Monetary policy must reinvent itself in the wake of the crisis. Reinvention is particularly important because the system is riddled with uncertainties and the scope for applying both conventional and unconventional instruments is limited. The architecture of Economic and Monetary Union makes the challenge even greater because alignment of preferences and policies can only go so far. The European Central Bank will have to be clearer on what it can do, while remaining flexible in order to manage current uncertainties and unknowns. While the ECB’s main objective is price stability, it will also have to contribute to the identification of, and response to, financial imbalances, while preserving its independence.


Read and download the Memo to the president of the European Central Bank.

  • Guntram Wolff talks to two of the authors of Bruegel’s memo to the new ECB president, Maria Demertzis and Gregory Claeys, to specify the most important issues at the beginning of this eight-year cycle and to clarify the parameters within which the new incumbent will have to work.

The threats to the European Union’s economic sovereignty

The threats to the European Union’s economic sovereignty

Economics used to play a limited role in foreign policy, which was about wars, conflicts and human disasters – and how to avoid them. But neither China nor the United States now separates economics from geopolitics.

The competition between them is simultaneously an economic competition and a security competition. This is a threat to the multilateral system the European Union has relied on for nearly seven decades and to the EU’s separation of external economic relationships from geopolitics.

The role of the High Representative and of the future Commission will be to redefine for the EU its concept of economic sovereignty and the instruments it needs to defend and promote it.


Read and download the Memo to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.