The failure of the Copenhagen Conference surprised the European Union. It went there standing as the champion in the fight against global warming, armed with certainties acquired in the wake of audacious regulations, supported by its public opinion, firmly believing that it could convince its main partners that it was in humanity's higher interest to change the model of growth.
It was a rude awakening. The European strategy failed. Its tactic sombred because of its lack of unity of command and we now know that the establishment of a more coordinated world environmental policy will only come about after a great deal of difficult negotiation.
This meeting was a test for the Union and its image across the world. It did not succeed. In the international arena it is not enough to be exemplary in order to convince and gain satisfaction. The traditional means of persuasion have to be mastered. This is still mainly determined according to the principle of sovereignty, now carried forward by Continent-States which are primarily concerned with protecting their own national interests; this principle is still set according to a balance of power - here we mean power that can be defined as the ability to act quickly and effectively.
After more than ten year's of work can the European Union and its new institutions make up for its failings and achieve the status of superpower which its economic clout legitimately allows it to claim?
This will be the focus of the new European era that is starting after the Parliamentary elections of June 2009, the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1st December 2009 and the appointment of a new Commission in February 2010.