Jean-Claude Juncker has today suggested the EU might have scale back until it is essentially just the Single Market by 2025, as member states increasingly fail to find common ground on important policy issues.
The suggestion was one of five possible scenarios put forward by the European Commission president for the future of the EU, published as the UK prepares to file its Brexit divorce papers and as the Union looks forward to celebrating its 60th anniversary.
The five scenarios are listed in a white paper which forms the European Commission's contribution to the upcoming Rome Summit, which takes place later this month.
If the EU were to shrink down to purely the Single Market, the research suggests citizens of member states might see rights they presently have guaranteed by the EU stripped back while cross-border issues would be become more difficult to address.
On the plus side, such as scenario could make the EU decision-making process much simpler to understand.
Other possible paths for the remaining 27 member states proposed by the paper, which ponders how the EU will look in a decade's time, are; keeping the status quo and carrying on as usual, the member states who want to do together doing so while those who don't carry on as they currently are, the member states focusing on doing less but more efficiently and the member states focusing on doing more together.
"It is the start of the process, not the end, and I hope that now an honest and wide-ranging debate will take place," Juncker said. "The form will then follow the function. We have Europe's future in our own hands."