Never has Germany and France's responsibility for Europe been on the line as it is now.
The States of Europe are being drawn towards extremes and with their domestic debate in turmoil, traditional politics lies in tatters.
Built with the aim of reconciling those against whom all the odds were stacked, Europe is struggling in all of its capital cities and therefore, collectively.
Because Europe's leaders have been unwilling to share some national attributes more resolutely, their citizens are now demanding strong response to bring migration under control, to guarantee security, to recover long term economic growth, which for a long time has been taken for granted. And in the face of the fear and concern that is now afflicting this ageing continent, spoilt by comfort, there is an ever growing cacophony amongst the protagonists.
Everyone is now turning however to the continent's two most powerful partners: France and Germany.
Will they be able to offer Europeans a more positive perspective than the avalanche of negative information they now face, fed to them be the world's demagogues in their simplistic terms, and this, despite an enviable situation in view of other continents?
The Germans and the French are working on it. Emmanuel Macron has delivered his vision of the reforms that are necessary, Angela Merkel has given hers, which are closer together than we might think. On 19th June their governments will be looking into drafting a joint proposal at the European Council that is to take place on 28th. The two partners are now exchanging information almost on a daily basis.
The question is indeed of major importance. They have to rise to this.
The Germans have already moved forwards, satisfying the French request for greater, vital investment in defence and they will join the European Intervention Initiative, a French proposal to strengthen defence cooperation with 10 other voluntary States. The political malaise created by the wave of refugees in 2015 is urging them to draw up measures to regulate immigration, which should not adopt any of the Community's former solutions. It would be enough for a small number to agree to bring migratory pressure under control long term. The completion of a more organised euro zone, which is able to withstand all types of major financial turmoil now seems possible, despite the conventional discourse. Other announcements might now be made, in terms of fiscal alignment and investments in vital innovations for the future.
For their part the French have really transformed their "software", finally launching long-awaited reforms, which should lead to a recovery of reasonable levels of public spending that has not been the case for the last 30 years, but which will now prove decisive. The road will be long, but it seems that a direction has been firmly set, thereby lending credibility to the strong return of France on the European scene.
With Brexit, the migratory crisis, the emergence of extremes, in a world context that is being undermined by erratic behaviour on the part of some, revisionism by others, terrorism and the instrumentalisation of religion, the continent's two main powers have no other choice but to opt for strong action.
They have to show that their strengthened cooperation will set an example, since the sceptics, like everyone else, are seeking effectiveness in the response to the demands being made by Europe's citizens.
And so it is only by having the courage to innovate that these two major partners will have an opportunity to save the European project. And this will be by setting the example.