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The grand turning point

The summer of 2018 will possibly mark a turning point in international relations.

Developments in American policy, brutally highlighted by a "take-it-or-leave-it" president is nothing new. They are part of the same basic trend as Brexit, the emergence of populist regimes in Europe, the expression of Russian revisionism and the return of nationalism across the globe.

The inexorable spread of globalisation, hurried along by scientific progress and its dissemination, seem to mark a pause in political time.

The map of the world might find itself reshaped because of this.

Because we are indeed witnessing a major turning point.

The emergence of a good number of nations is pulling billions of people from misery; the use of force no longer leads to victory in conflict; never have men and women been as mobile, and more than 250 million of people have migrated; the geographical stretching of chains of value has possibly reached its limits; the most comfortable countries are no longer producing children; never has there been as much financial liquidity to hand, and as many public and private needs going unsatisfied. Inequality has become unbearable to public opinion, even when they have been reduced as in Europe. All of this leads us to believe that we have really changed world and era. And, although the planet has not seen as little conflict as it is witnessing now, the general feeling is that many battles are in preparation.

The result of this is that the democratic model which we have aimed to spread world wide is now being contested, to the benefit of authoritarian "illiberalsim", whose number of supporters is growing. Autocracy is gaining ground.

Multilateralism and free-trade are being challenged by national and even local withdrawal.

Traditional politics is being rejected to the benefit of extremes and nationalism.

A new era has therefore commenced for Europe, which embodies so perfectly the old world and the new challenges forced upon it by a real revolution. For many, Europe broadly typifies the model to destroy. Once it had rivals, now it has real enemies.

The smallest continent in the world from a geographical point of view, Europe has largely benefited to date from growth in trade and has had the best results in terms of improvements made to the living standards of its inhabitants.

Democracy, rule of law, solidarity, multiple protection, healthcare, comfort - all of these successes were in fact improbable just 70 years ago.

If we are simply to defend them, further battles will be necessary. The continent is playing for more than just its survival, the same applies to its place and role in the world.

In the race for world leadership it does not have to pretend to taking first place. It would be enough

to ensure that it remains in the leading three. And this is what is at play now.

China is running for first place, the USA is fighting to retain it, Europe, for its part, can, if it remains united, still produce good results that will make it an inevitable partner. The planet's leader in terms of its GDP, unequalled champion in trade, Europe is now only lacking the assumed traits of power. For its security, diplomacy, trade, economy it must now act for itself and by itself. We know that for Europe, this is of vital importance. By learning to defend itself, it will learn to fight. It has to do this. Fighting for its values, its interests, its model and its vision of the world, for itself. It has to imagine itself as autonomous and independent with everything that ensues from its work in terms of defence, protection and projection.

We have a long way to go before we convince the Europeans, who have been sheltered, half-asleep under the wing of their grand ally, that there is no better ally than oneself.

To do this we have to love ourselves. We have to be proud of our achievements, of what we do and of what we want. "Europe first?" A major task! It is a major turning point too.