The European Commission issued on Tuesday recommendations for the bloc's next strategic agenda in the period from 2019-2024, which provide for building an effective European defense union and improving relations with neighbors.

The recommendations were published ahead of the meeting of EU leaders in the Romanian city of Sibiu, scheduled for May 9. The European Commission formulated five directions of the bloc's future development, namely protective Europe, competitive Europe, fair Europe, sustainable Europe and influential Europe.

"We should pursue our efforts to build an effective and genuine European Security Union and move towards a genuine European Defense Union to make defense cooperation within the EU the norm rather than the exception," the commission said.

The European Commission also said it wanted to develop multilateral, rules-based global order.

"Europe needs to lead in the world through consistent and strong support for a multilateral, rules-based global order, with the United Nations at its core. The EU should also make it a priority to develop strong relations with close neighbors, based on a clear balance of rights and obligations. A strengthened international role of the euro would also increase Europe's economic and monetary sovereignty," the statement added.

The commission also wants to use the potential of the Energy Union to ensure bloc's energy security and fight climate change.

"We need to modernize our economy to embrace sustainable consumption and production patterns. We need to reinforce our efforts to fight climate change and reverse environmental degradation. We must transition towards a more resource-efficient circular economy by promoting green growth, bioeconomy and sustainable innovations. And we need to maximize the Energy Union's potential by addressing major remaining challenges including energy security, energy costs for households and businesses, and the impact on climate change," the statement stressed.

The European Commission is going to carry out comprehensive modernization of the European Single Market.

"We need to focus research and innovation on the ecological, social and economic transitions and related societal challenges. We need to invest in key European digital capacities and work together to boost Europe-made and human-centric artificial intelligence. We need to continue to foster growth and ensure sustainable prosperity by deepening the Economic and Monetary Union. And we need to continue to support the transformation of the European labor market whilst ensuring its fairness," the commission said.

The body also pointed out the need for social reforms to make the European society fairer.

"We also need to work with Member States to achieve social inclusion and equality, including by addressing regional disparities, minorities' needs, gender issues and the challenge of an ageing population. We need to firmly uphold and promote the shared values on which the European Union is founded, such as the rule of law. We need a fair and modern taxation policy as well as high-quality, affordable and accessible health care and access to quality, energy-efficient affordable housing for all in Europe," the commission added.

The recommendations were also published ahead of the European Parliament elections, which will be held from May 23 to May 26 and will determine the balance of power in the EU's parliamentary institution for the next five years.