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France, Europe's troublemaker?

Political Europe seems to have come to a standstill. The most recent European Council illustrated this. It is having trouble in making decisions. Elections succeed one another, after which coalitions force, extremes impede the situation and the traditional parties are suffering a lot. And yet everyone agrees: inertia is not an option. Events are following each other in ever faster succession, the world is changing. Science, techniques, power relations and surprises have become the daily norm in the international area.

France has escaped this common lot, and through its President it has laid out a number of proposals. It is playing its historic role of initiator of European integration. It is certainly not right about everything, but at least it is putting new ideas forward.

Immediately the hearts of the anxious start to beat faster and the voice of conservatism makes itself heard! Improving the euro zone? Don't change a thing! Pool our financial means? Even less so! Respond to protectionist trends? With care! Protect our technological treasures from predatory foreign investment? Not too much all the same! Build a credible common immigration policy? Danger, watch out! Provide the military means to credibilise a common diplomatic position? Do not even think about it! Recovering the shaken confidence of citizens who are waiting for answers. To what purpose? Everyone is take refuge behind the "rules", and egotism is becoming the rule!

There is no time to rest or sleep now. We have to be responsive, adapt. Europeans must show that they can face all of the true challenges of the present period, which will shape the Europe of tomorrow: immigration, security, democratic governance.

France and Germany are trying to set the example and have announced a new "road map" for reform and initiatives for the end of the spring. It is probably our last chance to take advantage of everything that has been done jointly so far, by showing that this is still the best solution for the future.

We need troublemakers, now more than ever before.