France is presiding over the Council of the European Union for the next six months.
Its President wanted this to be a key event in his term of office, which will end as it began, under the aegis of Europe.
This is all the more laudable as French opinion is, to say the least, erratic when it comes to European integration.
Eight presidents of the Fifth Republic and 15 legislatures since 1958 have all confirmed France's commitment to Europe as the founder of this continental project.
Although it is accepted and supported by the French people, who are much more European than their political representatives, the latter constantly make it the scapegoat of their powerlessness.
They criticise it for something they do not allow: the attributes of power, speed and reactivity, which they constantly hinder; they challenge the law they have developed, and which protects citizens from their failings; they are uncomfortable with a project that is designed for the future and not based on the past.
Perhaps it is time to reconsider the obvious: Europe has existed for 70 years; it is growing stronger and is developing a little more each day. So much so that our states can no longer do without it just to fulfil their obligations vis-à-vis their citizens.
It is time to ask the French to embrace Europe unreservedly!
This is what I am doing as I address them in a short book that is very free in tone and content.
When we look at the international scene, we discover adversaries and rivals who are well aware of Europe's importance. Some, like Russia, devote most of their modest forces to weakening and dividing it, since its union is bad news for them, thereby exposing their failures and poverty.
But their rivals are no gentler!
A united Europe disturbs and raises hopes on the outside, while on the inside it could be a source of doubt.
It is true that the Union of Europe is far from complete.
It is a permanent work in progress and is moving forward at its own pace. Much still needs to be done and I am putting forward some concrete ideas for better governance of the common institutions.
France must not be the sad clown of Europe; it must remain the agitator of ideas that drives it forward. It will prove this once again during the next six months.