Barack Obama, America and Europe
One event can hide another.
Europeans are voting to appoint their MEPs.
It is the continental event that is attracting everyone's attention. On this occasion the abstention rate, the rise of extremes – or not and the show of confidence or mistrust with regard to national governments will teach us a great deal.
We shall watch how the new European Parliament influences the way in which the Commission runs community affairs.
We shall also have to look into the real disaffection for the European institutions and politicians, likewise the disturbing drift of electoral campaigns that focused on the Roms (Hungary), immigrants (Italy) and more generally on the construction of the community (Czech Republic, UK).
However June may conceal an event of even greater significance: the brief visit by Barack Obama to Europe.
The distance he has chosen to set between Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and himself by refusing working meetings as well as private interviews is worrying. Is the former being punished because she criticized the policy of the American Central Bank, or is the latter sanctioned because he took Europe to the front of the stage in the Caucasian crisis? Are both being snubbed because they imposed the now inevitable G20, on a weakened America as we wait to find a leader blessed with the qualities of a global communicator?
The USA still privileges a geo-strategic view of the world in the face of its own interests.
>From this point of view the construction of Europe is only of interest if it contributes towards the project, started in 1945, of pacifying the continent but certainly not expecting to facilitate the emergence of a "power".
Hence Barack Obama grants greater importance to the Queen of England and Turkey than to the completion of the political union of Europe!
America is showing real reticence towards world regulations that might establish a multipolar world and a new era in international relations.
If the European Union were united politically and allied to the USA it would have its say on all issues according to its own interests that can now be gauged against its strength as the world's leading economic and commercial power, and as the world's leading foreign investor.
Moreover its pacific message that is copied, envied and solicited from all sides would prevent the future world being reduced to a tête-à-tête between the USA and China.
And yet the common interest for both sides of the Atlantic would be for a strong Europe to emerge, ie a strong ally. Is the American administration able to rise to this? For the time being Mr Obama prefers to visit concentration camps and the Normandy beaches as a reminder that the past will weigh on the future!...
Hence we can see the responsibility held by the French and the Germans. Today only they are able thanks to the example of their relations and their political imagination, of bringing about the vital European leap forwards towards a more political and more active Union in the world.
A great historical responsibility lies on Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy's shoulders which they do seem willing to assume...