Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies
Institut d'Etudes Européennes et Internationales du Luxembourg


The Santa Colomba Report - Alternative Ideas for the European Union

by Adrian Pabst, August 2011


From December 2006 to July 2010, a group of European and North American academics and policy-makers met periodically to discuss alternative ideas for the European Union (EU). In the course of four conferences – the first held in Schengen (Luxembourg) and the rest in the Tuscan village of Santa Colomba (near Siena) – the participants put forward ideas and policy proposals intended to stimulate further academic research, political reflection and public debate on the future of the Union.

This initiative was led by Robert Mundell, Professor of Economics at Columbia University and the 1999 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, and Dr Armand Clesse, Director of the Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies (LIEIS). The LIEIS organized the four conferences, which brought together about 40 experts, with a core of approximately 25 regular members and partially overlapping groups of occasional participants. The conference discussions were steered by A. Clesse.

The aim of the present report is to synthesize the proceedings and set out the main findings in the form of 70 propositions and 45 policy recommendations. Even though each conference focused on a distinct topic, there is a shared perspective running through all the debates – a constructive critique of the EU in its current configuration, coupled with a series of alternative ideas that either require treaty revision or involve important institutional and policy adaptation. Based on a substantive exchange of ideas among a diverse group of experts with a wide range of different disciplinary knowledge, the discussions combined overarching arguments with specific points.