Undeniably Europe will have to rise to many major challenges over the next few months.
The first of these is security: never since 1950 has Europe been brought into question like this. We have forgotten, as a member of the world, that we cannot escape major geopolitical developments. And we have believed that peace, once recovered at home, would naturally spread to our neighbourhood and beyond.
For a long time it was so. But that time is now over. Conflicts, terrorism, military intervention, refugees, walls and barriers, instability and economic volatility have brought Europe back into the hard light of reality, in a world that is buffeted by mesmerizing upheavals.
Should this strange existential link with doubt that typifies the Europeans be encouraged however?
In view of developments, there are too many who question everything, starting with the unquestionable acquis of European unification. There are also many, driven by firm conviction, who simply say, without giving any detail or saying where and how, that we need “more Europe”. No one is credible in the eye of European opinion, who would like to be proud however of such a magnificent achievement.
The new thing in Europe, the Cartesian continent, is the return of doubt. Fuelled by our rivals it satisfies facility and the sheep-like nature of our weary elites. Some are secular specialists, like the French, others opportunistic users like the British, others are just passive but utilitarian observers. Because it is true to say that European integration must prove its usefulness on a daily basis and now show how it helps leaders, who are bewildered by the dynamic, the complexity of the changes and the threat to security.
Doubt is a positive thing if it pushes us towards improvement, to come up with new imaginative solutions, creativeness and the real. Doubt is negative though if it leads to pessimism, and finally to relinquishment. Between these two, hard daily work in close proximity to the people, driven by sound convictions that have been forged according to long term strategic thought, is the only path that matches general interest - that of our nations and the European citizen.
This is the European Union’s duty in 2016. In this key year, it must adapt to this absolute priority and endeavour to break free of the Brussels’ bubble. Those involved, starting with the national governments, must now assume their collective European choices politically, step up their work for defence and strengthen cooperation in Europe. Our security depends on it. Any kind of national withdrawal would be criminal and its price would be extraordinarily high.
In the face of these new challenges there is no room for doubt about who we are, what we have achieved and our ability to succeed. Our determination remains …
Happy New Year 2016!