When we speak of European integration the French immediately leap into the air. There is no lack of debate between those who challenge it in the name of the concern and anger caused by upheaval in the world and those who quickly demand the reform of this institutional projects. But what if things were much simpler than they appear?
From the very beginning France has taken part in the project to bring populations together, working towards cooperation between States in this region of the world, which is both extremely small geographically and so wealthy from the point of view of its history, its culture, its economy and its achievements. European integration has succeeded beyond all of the hopes of its founders. But today it faces, like everyone else on the planet, many new challenges. They are crucial and even existential. Europeans must guarantee their internal and external security given the new threats that have emerged. They have to rise to face long term migratory pressure. Their economy has to adapt to the new world situation and protect its model.
For all of these urgent tasks,it is pragmatism, more than imagination that Europe requires.
The next French president to be elected on 7th May will have to step back from grand declarations and take action. Too absent from the European Union, much is expected of France. Its proposals will have to be real and enhance the opportunity that we have to gain strong, privileged allies. This is what we have just suggested (For a few more stars)
After the German general election on 24th September 2017 there will be a new opportunity to revive European integration, which will no longer be able to work as it has done in the past. In fact - a few, together - and we think primarily here of France and Germany - finally can succeed and complete the fiscal convergence that will guaranty the euro's sustainability. With the participation of a few, and France has a great deal of assets to assert, a credible defence of Europe might be built via greater cooperation between the main European powers, not forgetting the UK, now isolated in its instantaneous desertion of Europe. With the participation of just a few it is urgent to harmonise the way we receive refugees and lay the foundations of a common migratory policy - the only way to guarantee the respect of our values, as we bring immigration, which Europe will always require, under control.
This can be done and remain open to the States that would like to join our initiatives. This is called integration via example.
The new French president must be an exemplary European, he can be France's spokesperson if it wants to Europe to reform, it must be behind the initiative when necessary. To do this we must also be exemplary and accept to play the game, to bring our finances and economy into order. Pragmatism, efficacy, responsiveness - is this not what the French want and what all the Europeans are expecting?