This “Denkwerkstatt Europa” is a call for paper developed by foraus. The goal was to collect ideas among young experts in European affairs and, subsequently, to help them upgrading their ideas into full policy proposals within a think tank paper. Faced with series of crisis, not least the departure of the UK and the rise of populism in countries such as Hungary, Poland and Italy, the EU currently stands at a crossroad. There is a need to re-energize the European integration project and, importantly, to make it more legitimate in the eyes of the EU citizens. With the upcoming European elections of 2019, it is time for think tanks and member of the civil society to think outside the box and present some new ideas to EU decision makers.
The following contributions contain proposals that address the issue of the democratic deficit of the EU. Combining their experience and different perspectives as European citizens, the authors of the following papers went through a long process of reflection. Eventually, they elaborated several original proposals to reduce the democratic deficit. Far from adopting a utopian perspective, the authors provide us with practicable solutions that would not necessitate any treaty change and that could be easily put into place if decided. The last paper reflects upon another subject: EU defence. In the current context, French and the German leaders make pleas for the constitution of a European army and thus, the topic is very timely. Adopting once again a pragmatic perspective, the author reflects upon what can be seen as the necessary condition to see the emergence of a European army one day in the future: the constitution of an EU defence industry.