Published on 11/03/2008
Europe is expecting a great deal of the election of the new American president. Many Europeans who hope for Obama’s victory also hope that he will put the failures of the Bush administration far behind him. However this cannot be guaranteed. America, whoever is elected on 4th November, will defend tooth and nail the privileges it has inherited over the 20th century which have in its opinion been glorious. In the face of diversity it may also swing over into isolationism and protectionism or conversely take advantage of a renewed image and opt for unilateralism. Therefore a new challenge will emerge for the EU on 15th November ; representatives of the world’s 20 biggest economies will meet in an attempt to bring some order to world finance which can no longer focus on funding the deficits of one nation alone and to admit that there is no longer a dominant currency, and to establish a minimum amount of discipline simply because the economy is not a casino game but wealth that is produced by and for men and women.
Will Europe finally accept itself for what it is – ie with its 27 members – that it is the world’s leading economic power in terms of GDP and stand united before its global partners to take part in the establishment of a true international economic order? Indeed although the USA is still a privileged ally Europe now has its own interests based on its successes; monetary because of the euro, economic because we have the greatest consumer market in the world, political because we have a much envied notion of solidarity and moral due to our reticence to settle international conflict by force. Since it is not a State all of these qualities are only a strength if Europe stands united. Will it do this to convince the others and prevent the decline of the values we are all proud of? This is a new task for the French presidency that started well because its president managed to settle futile trans-Atlantic squabbles to focus on vital issues : proving that the EU can provide decisive action to settling diplomatic, economic and financial crises ie that the European model is adapted to a new world and that it can convey the desire and a message for a positive future.