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Copenhagen, the apprenticeship in wielding power

Undeniably Europe has influenced the preparation work for the conference in Copenhagen.

By adopting the severest environmental standards the European Union has set the example and compelled the major world players to take steps they had not planned on taking.

Its unity, which is often lacking, did not fail it this time.

Europeans can be proud of having rallied together and for being on the cutting edge of the battle for the planet.

Difficult negotiations still have to be concluded in a time of crisis and this cannot be taken for granted!

One successful step may be that towards a powerful Europe with greater influence on future world regulations.

During the crisis it did quite well, thanks to the euro and some intelligent emergency measures.

Its model of a free, social economy revealed itself more resistant than others.

The end of the crisis will be a true test for Europe because greater work, under-estimated for the time being, will be required of it.

At the same time new strategic uncertainties await in terms of security, both on its borders and in other areas of the world.

The European Union will start 2010 with new institutions.

It absolutely has to rally around strategic goals of primary importance.

Today if it wants to secure its place in a world economy, it has to enhance its capacity for joint economic action, to arm itself with regulatory and financial tools, build world industrial champions and rise to the challenge of multi-polar competition.

This evidently means reviewing some of its traditional policies.

To play a real role in the international arena it has to move forwards quickly towards common defence, the only thing which will provide its nascent foreign policy with the credibility it requires.

Will be able to do this? In a way Copenhagen is the start of an apprenticeship in wielding power.