Nearly 10 years late the European Union has finally entered the 21st century.
From 2010 on nothing will ever be the same again.
We shall know on 2nd October, the day of the second Irish referendum whether there will be any new institutions.
It already has a new Parliament.
A new European Commission will be appointed together after its president has been reelected on 16th September.
Some issues are inevitable:
What economic policy should there be for a Europe that was almost ensnared by alien financial methods?
What public action, which type of European technological sovereignty policy should be adopted? The answers are necessarily found in the will to break with the past, notably with regard to industry.
What relations should be held with the other major powers, starting with the USA, and also of course China, India and Russia?
Europe has its own interests that are not always the same as its partners nor even its allies. It can wait no longer to demonstrate its autonomy in the definition, defense and promotion of its own specific interests.
What will the Union’s identity be in the world and what will that of its citizens be?
Is it prepared to devote to its security? Which political frontiers will it set? What type of relations does it want to entertain with its neighbours?
The time when enlargement was Europe’s only foreign policy is over! Stabilising our neighbourhood is vital. It will be costly but it is in our interest. We must set down more seriously to working on this.
Europeans must also be able to take greater advantage of integration as part of their daily lives. They have to they belong to the European Union and for that they need to feel that the often distant Community is in fact a reality.
These are the issues at stake during this era which is just beginning. Europe must rise and stand united but its unity will only be achieved if clear answers are given to these questions.
But its members do not all agree.
And so a time of lively debate is about to start in Europe. Those who no longer want to continue integration have to say so and assume it.
The others, two, three or four of them, have no other choice but to follow. And they will do so. We would be wrong to think that Germany and France are not ready …
The time of the weak consensus is over because it is now urgent to think of ourselves as a power.
It is high time to assume these qualities and behave accordingly.
Undeniably the European Union is starting a new period in its history, that of political union.
All of the institutions, starting with the Commission, will have to adapt.