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Europe: A message and a turning point

[This editorial is also available in Ukrainian.]

Many were expecting an assessment of the State of the Union address delivered by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to the European Parliament on September 13.

But it was more than that: it was an overview of current European decisions and a vision of the future of common policies.

The message had to be clear, describing the European Union's progress in terms of pooling national forces in Europe. And so it was. The response to the Covid epidemic was a wake-up call, and Russia's aggression in Ukraine an eye-opener.

By listing all the common policies implemented, from digital to energy, defence and recovery, it showed the extent to which European states have found new opportunities for cooperation in the European context: joint purchases of vaccines, the pooling of energy resources, multiple support for economic security and the preservation of our supplies, and even the extraterritoriality of our duty with regard to digital technology and its developments.

Indeed, what has changed is fundamental: it is now the member states that are calling for common policies to meet challenges they are unable to overcome on their own.

But it has also heralded a shift that should not be underestimated.

Europe wants to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change, and rightly so.

It has multiplied ambitious objectives but at the cost of bans and restrictions. The time has come to question the method and to take greater account of the feasibility of these achievements, i.e. their timing, progressiveness and support.

The emphasis placed on support for economic players, farmers, industrialists and citizens in difficulty, demonstrates an awareness of the need for these reforms to be acceptable. This is the key to their success. And a purely political reading of this veritable shift would be inaccurate.

Europe is not about additional obligations, it's about additional opportunities.

The success of the continent implies a revision of our economic policies towards more growth, which must be shared by all, employees and companies alike.

Anticipating tomorrow's economy is a priority for common institutions and national governments alike, and this is good news. There's still a lot of progress to be made, but there's no reason why we shouldn't resolutely embark on this course.