Since 23rd June 2016 when the British voted by referendum and a weak majority (51.9%) to leave the European Union debate has been raging on the other side of the Channel about the links it wants to retain with the continent.
After years of hostility, rear-guard action, denial and contemptuous narrative, they were forced to participate in the successes of a Europe that is in the process of integrating. But their leaders have been careful not to say this to their fellow citizens.
Today they are affecting the discovery of Europe's virtues, and nowhere else in Europe can we find as many superlatives about the Single Market, defence cooperation, the European arrest warrant, the structural funds and many other community mechanisms that provide security, growth and employment.
The British already enjoy a special status, which takes on board their specific insular and historic features. They would like to retain this.
In fact, they are trying to explain to their citizens that of course, they are going to leave the Union, but that it would be in their interest to decide "sovereignly" to remain attached to it and "as much as possible" (David Davis, Brexit Minister) .
The responsibility of the British elites is total. By keeping the population in the dark about the reality of their membership of the Union, in a nostalgia that is contrary to the UK's traditional pragmatism and by following the bitter sirens of the most vulgar kind of populism, they have led their country into a difficult position and the anticipated effects of their historic error are already beginning to makes themselves felt in the household basket as well as in the Stateís finances.
However, the 27 have not slipped into a spirit of revenge nor have they been tempted by punishment. Being more responsible, they are trying to help this struggling European partner to clarify what it wants.
The European Single Market has rules that were decided together, its supervision has been given to a supra-national body, the European Commission, and its sanction to an independent judicial organisation, the Court of Justice. Joining it is a sovereign act in which none of the three pillars can be relinquished without weakening the single unit which functions, structures and supports our economies, strengthens the links between peoples and organises solidarity between members.
Hence, there will be no other alternative but to stay or leave, to relinquish the benefits of belonging to the Union or retain them, by remaining outside but applying all of its rules.
Unfortunately any solution will therefore be negotiated to the detriment of the British, but never at the cost of weakening a successful entity. And we should wager that they will act wisely and that they will see the errors that have been made.
This is a lesson for us all: let us be proud of this area of peace, freedom and prosperity that we have built together, aware of course that it is incomplete, but honest about its successes and committed to its improvement, defence and promotion.
The Europeans, the champions of doubt and never far from repentance, can succeed in things together that have been said to be impossible! Pacifying and rebuilding a democratic continent, where it is good to live and whose future is bright, is one of those things. Our first duty is to be proud of it, and for once, not to doubt it.