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Integration by example

Or how to reboot Europe immediately

Everyone recognises that the geopolitical situation is right to reboot European integration. An exceptional opportunity is opening up for Europe so that it can make its voice heard in the international arena, in line with its contribution to the values of freedom, to the arts and sciences and its example of cooperation between States.

Between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping there is more than just a space - there is a model which the Europeans should not doubt.

How do we reboot integration on the continent? In all likelihood we should do this differently from the past, without going back on this however.

Responding to European expectations means guaranteeing their security, responding to the requirements of a new economy, having a mechanism to regulate long term migratory pressure.

Integrating the various approaches of the Member States to their best advantage is certainly a necessary goal, but it will give rise to endless debate over the outcome of the European project, fed by interminable ideological discussion. From now on showing the example would be a more effective method.

In terms of security and defence some States should come to agreement based on their best skills, to cooperate without trying to build a complicated diplomatic structure. This would be a significant step forward and it has to be done together and not by force, to ensure the defence of Europe, which today is guaranteed by others.

Doubt remains about the solidarity of the euro zone and the economy is transforming at high speed. Of course it is necessary to debate the governance of the single currency, its means and its supervision, but it would also be useful to decide immediately on a Franco-German base for example on a road map for the rapprochement of corporate tax, together with a set timetable. Likewise, between the two countries a common research agency into the so-called "breakthrough" technologies might be created and given adequate financial means; this would be more than just a symbolic initiative, which would encourage others.

Finally, nothing proscribes some Member States from harmonising their migrant reception rules - or the granting of asylum and the terms of this status, similarly the rules of entry for economic migrants. This is a true means to establish a policy that is respectful and adapted to our values.

These three areas, if they were addressed, even just by two Member States - but open to others who want to join in - would reboot the dynamic that must avoid theoretical debates and would lead to real progress that matches the common goals that the 28 have set themselves. The proof of this: the smallest steps that Germany and France have taken over the last few months to pool some means of support to their armies will lead this week to the decision over a Permanent Structured Cooperation in which 23 Member States would like to take part!

When a train starts its journey in Europe, anyone can get on board!

Rebooting integration by setting the example, with a true European spirit is the best way to rise above our divisions, to provide real answers to urgent issues. This requires a more resolute, extremely concrete commitment by the Member States. It is up to them to set the pace. The rest may very well follow suit.