I would like to thank you all very much – and Minister Celso Amorin in particular – for your having invited me to address the Brazilian diplomatic School. As you know, I have held the post of foreign minister in the Italian Government, and I have to say that I found the members of the diplomatic corps to possess extraordinary professional qualities combined with a deep attachment to their country. Thus I am very pleased indeed to be able to share with you my thinking on a problem that we all need to address today, both we in the Old Continent and you as leading players in the globalization process: the problem of building a system of governance capable of meeting the challenges of this century.
I have always thought – and when I say "always", I mean ever since the beginning of my political career – that developing ties with Latin America was a crucial priority for Europe. As I see it, the challenge has always entailed finding a way of using the deep-seated human and cultural ties that bind our two continents together in the endeavor to lay the groundwork for a fairer and more equitable international system. I have discussed the matter on more than one occasion with President Lula, a dear friend who has been a genuine leading actor in international life over the past few decade: a man who has proven capable of fostering his country's economic growth while, at the same time, reflecting not only on the advantages but also on the limitations of the first phase in the globalization process. The phase of the 1990's, when it was thought that the development of a deregulated market would bring nothing but benefits. Today, particularly after the shock of the financial crisis, it has become clear to us all that we need shared international rules and the ability to govern global processes. How can Europe facilitate such an outcome?
The paradox, as I shall endeavor to explain, is that just as the international system is becoming multipolar – in other words, just as it is beginning to look the way the Europeans have always wanted it to look – Europe itself has discovered that it is weak, not strong. Its influence is in danger of diminishing rather than of increasing. Why is this? I shall seek to answer that question, while also attempting to explain that Europe still has some important cards to play in order to avoid being sidelined in the new balances that are starting to take shape in the world. At the same time, I would like to offer you one of my own conclusions: new transatlantic ties, not only with the United States but with the American continent as a whole and with Africa, are going to be crucial to achieving this.A Matter of Scenarios
Allow me to begin by dwelling briefly on the new global balances. Before an audience such as yourselves there is no need for me to explore issues with which we are all familiar in any depth, and if I mention them here, it is only to provide you with a kind of reference framework. The world today is a far more Asiatic and far less European place than it was twenty years ago, it is far more global and far less Western, it stretches further toward the Southern Hemisphere and it is less focused on the Northern Hemisphere.
The shifting of the world's economic center of gravity toward Asia – China, first and foremost, followed by India – has been given an additional boost by the repercussions of the economic crisis: China is emerging far more rapidly from the crisis than either Europe or the United States, thanks also to the impact of one of the most substantive (over $500 billion) and functional stimulus packages adopted. While Europe is still struggling with a flat growth rate after three years in recession, China is already grappling with the problem of preventing its economy from overheating. But its economy certainly is heating up, at a rate of 10% a year.
In a linear scenario (in other words, in the absence of a deep-seated crisis in the Chinese locomotive, which seems an unlikely eventuality as things stand today), the OECD forecasts that Asia will be producing 40% of the world's wealth by 2025. China's recovery of the central position that it lost over two centuries ago will inevitably lead to a relative loss of influence on the West's part. This change in the distribution of power in the world will be boosted by the demographic trend. The statistics, again, tell us that one person in two will be Asian fifteen years from now.
Yet we also know that the basic mechanism which drove the first phase of the globalization process – financial and commercial interaction between China and the United States – has spawned deep-seated imbalances. The origin of the crisis in 2008 does not lie only in the US financial system's clear and extremely significant responsibilities in a negative sense; it lies also in the unsustainability of a global growth mechanism built on the to some extent perverse link between excessive consumption (in the United States) and excessive saving (in China).
In short, a major structural adjustment is needed: only an increase in Chinese domestic demand, coupled with an increase in the US ability to save, will attenuate the global imbalances. The important point is that this adjustment be governed and avoid sparking protectionistic clashes. The tension over the renminbi's exchange rate points to the problem lying before us, with China adamant that it will not bow to external pressure – nationalism is in some ways the ideology that has supportet Beijing’s Communist/capitalist power – yet still hesistant to shoulder the responsibilities that its having become a major economic power inevitably entail.
This mention of the Chinese currency brings me to my next point. In my view, it is fairly indicative that the problem of the renminbi's exchange rate has been raised not only by the United States but also by India and by your own country, Brazil, while it was not addressed (officially, at least) at recent G7 and G20 meetings.
This tells us that we are still in a phase of extreme fluidity. It is true that the transition from the G7 to the G20 embodies the shift from yesterday's Western world to the multipolar world of today, so it is an important transition in symbolic terms. But at the same time, it is true that the G20 as such is only a forum for coordination and consultation rather than a decisionmaking body, while the new international alignments are fragile and changeable. For instance, it would be difficult to talk about a consistent Southern Hemisphere axis including China along with India, Brazil and South Africa. There is convergence in certain areas, while China's position is different in others - including over the currency issue and also over UNSC reform.
Among other things, this means that the goal of strengthening and reforming the international institutions is still an open one, but it has now become crucial. And it is going to cause specific problems for Europe, which is broadly overrepresented in the Bretton Woods system.
I shall be returning later to the famous story of Europe's several places at the table. But let me add also that the effect of the first phase of the globalization process – again, an effect boosted by the recent economic crisis – has been to sweep away the illusion of 1989, in other words the illusion that the spread of a market economy would ipso facto spark an inevitable trend toward democracy; and the US version of this illusion added that it would ipso facto spark a trend toward a single political, economic, and social model. That has not happened. It is true that over the past few decades there has been an increase in the number of democracies or in thrusts toward democratization, but it is also true that alternative models have consolidated based on various kinds of combination between capitalism and authoritarianism. Here again, China is a specific model as indeed, in a different way, so is Russia. The rise of socio-political models different from the US model yet economically competitive in the global marketplace helps to explain why the post-Cold War illusion of a single pole turned out to be just that, an illusion. For the foreseeable future at least, liberal democracies will find themselves coexisting and competing with different social and political systems. International literature speaks of "sustainable autocracies" or "managed democracies", or in the Russian version, of "sovereign democracies". But be that as it may, the existence of alternative models bound to each other by the global economy in a relationship comprising both cooperation and competition, complicates governance of the multipolar system because the rules we need are not typical of old-style foreign policy; they also impact domestic policies. They are, in effect, "intra-domestic" rules that affect the interests and values of their respective societies.
In these circumstances, the existence of a variety of centers of power totally fails to ensure a multilateral governance of the international system. In other words, multipolarism does not of itself guarantee the basis for multilateralism. Europe has mistakenly placed excessive, almost automatic, confidence in this kind of relationship, while the real risk is a major degree of disorder. No longer dominated exclusively by the West and not yet governed by shared rules, the multipolar system may prove to be highly unstable. History tells us, and it is a lesson we should not overlook, that transition phases such as the one we are going through – when the old balance changes as a result of the rise of new powers – are the most critical phases of all: there tends to be an extremely high risk of potential conflict.
To recapitulate, the first phase of the globalization process has left us with a new distribution of world power (or rather a new balance of influence) and the emergence of a variety of different models. The first phase of the globalization process has allowed hundreds of millions of people to benefit enormously in economic terms but it is rooted in structural imbalances. The economic crisis that erupted in 2009 has proven this, marking the end of an era. The challenge today is for us to thrash out together the ground rules for managing globalization's second phase: a phase that needs to be more balanced in economic terms, more equitable in social terms, and based on multilateral agreements in political terms. This transition is far from easy because the trade-offs it demands do not concern only the external sphere of relations between countries, they also have a direct impact on those countries' internal organization. The stakes are extremely important. Either the transition is successful, or we are in danger of seeing a sharp rise in the potential for conflict and anarchy in the international system, marked first and foremost by a revival of protectionism.
I believe that the US Administration under Barack Obama has realized that this is precisely the challenge that we are facing. Putting it even more bluntly, Obama is the US response to the changes that I have just described. The United States is obviously the world's leading power, or to use an old definition, its "indispensable power", today. But Obama has also realized that the relative limits of US power are accentuated by solitary decisions. The more the United States builds strategic partnerships with the system's other poles, the longer it will remain in the center of the international system, and indeed the longer will hold a leadership position within that system.
In this vision based on multiple partnerships, Europe is losing its old strategic centrality. Obama is not an Atlantic president so much as a global president. Of course, it has yet to be seen whether he really is an exclusively trans-Pacific president interested solely in building a G2 with China. The nightmare scenario of a G2 is, for the time being at least, a specifically European nightmare dictated by the continent's fear of exclusion
If Europe could look at its relationship with the United States in a less emotional and circumstantial manner, it might conclude that while Barack Obama is going beyond old-style Atlanticism, he is ferrying his country over to policies closer to the European mindset, both domestically (his health care reform) and in its approach to international issues (multilateralism, albeit selective and on an ad hoc basis).The European Paradox
The irony is that while Obama is accused in his home country of being excessively European (as you know, that is something of an insult in the United States), Europe itself is becoming less European than it once was. Thus, after waiting for years for multilateralism to kick in, Europe is now in danger of missing the boat. After all, when we spoke of European soft power, that is what we were referring to. We were talking about a specific kind of know-how – integration – for regulating relations between nation states in a manner alternative to traditional geopolitical competition. But if Europe itself now questions this know-how, and the Greek crisis is a worrying alarm bell in that sense, then it becomes difficult to adopt it as a basis for foreign policy. Moreover, if the European game, after the Lisbon Treaty, seems to have become dominated by renationalization, it means that Europe is going to lose credibility as an international player.
In short, Europe, too, seemed to be a rising power until only a few years ago. It had just launched the euro, it was expanding, and it was becoming the world's most important integrated market. We expected that, as soon as it approved the reform of its institutions, it would also become one of the vital pillars of the international system. Today, only a few months after the Lisbon Treaty has come into force, pessimism – some might say excessive pessimism – holds sway.
To give you but one example – although it is a very telling example – Europe reeled from shock at the Copenhangen climate conference when it felt sidelined. The lesson to be learned from that fiasco is that the ambition to "lead by example" is insufficient without the ability to build an international consensus with the United States and with the new major economies. Without the full participation and cooperation of countries such as China, India and Brazil, global agreements of that scope are simply unrealistic.
But the crucial problems lie within the EU itself. There are widespread thrusts pushing for the renationalization of policies. As the EU comes under pressure from global challenges in a highly competitive international system, its prevailing instinct is to resort to the national decisionmaking level, thus weakening its degree of cohesion. The paradox here is particularly clear. Theoretically the countries of Europe have a unique structure at their disposal, purpose-built to unite forces and capabilities, to allow it to form a critical mass on the outside.
Yet at the very moment when such assets appear to be more essential than ever on a global level, Europe is seized by individualistic convulsions that have all the makings of a kind of nostalgia for its nation-state past.
The case of Germany is indicative. We are talking about the linchpin of the EU, yet it is starting to view European integration as a burden rather than as the best tool for channeling its national interests. Berlin's hesitant attitude in the Greek crisis can be interpreted in numerous ways (and it contains a fair warning regarding the mistakes that Athens has made); but in symbolic terms, it has shown us that Germany does not intend to shoulder the burden of European leadership. It is as though the country had used up all of its solidarity reserves. In this situation it is extremely important what it has been eventually decided to protect Europe and sustain the highest indebted countries. Let’s hope that these won’t be only emergency measures, but the beginning of a new course of financial and economic policies which Europe strongly needs.
The economic crisis, with its contradictory effects, has had an impact. The crisis, which initially erupted in the heart of the US financial system, appeared at first to confirm the strongpoints of the European model, a social market economy – a system of ties between the public sector and the market offering safeguards which, while costly, come into their own during a recession. Sure enough, continental Europe's "tempered" market system has prevented a serious economic crisis from turning into a social disaster. To be honest, there is a problem with rising unemployment, but I sincerely believe, as indeed do many economists, that the existence of the internal market and of the euro has allowed Europe's economies to hold out against the crisis better than would otherwise have been the case.
Yet in a second phase of the crisis, when the talk turned to exit strategies and to economic recovery, Europe's Achilles' heel, its growth rate, emerged in full force. Europe entered this phase in the grip of its worst recession in the past fifty years after enjoying an average annual growth rate of 2.2% from 2000 to 2008 (for the 27-strong EU), compared to far higher levels not only in Asia and in the other emerging economies but even in the United States. It went on to suffer a 4.2% drop in 2009, while the forecast for 2010 stands at +0.7%. So it suffers from a basic underlying problem – a flat growth rate – that predates the global crisis. And finally, all of this was compounded by the Greek crisis, highlighting a basic imbalance within the euro zone between Germany with its surplus (Europe's very own China!) and the countries of the Mediterranean area with their deficits.
I would just like to make it quite clear that I am not one of the pessimists. I certainly do not believe that the euro area is going to break up. Tension is possible, but a split is unlikely because even the more solid countries benefit from their membership of the euro area. Again, while it is true that Germany's growth model is driven by exports, over half of Germany's exports go to the euro area. In fact I believe, on the contrary, that Europe is going to end up as it has so often done in the past drawing on a crisis like this to stimulate more effective management of its Economic and Monetary Union. By "more effective", I mean a better combination of national effort and European policy: the ability to implement structural reforms in countries with a deficit, which includes Italy; the ability to boost domestic demand in those countries that form the heart of continental Europe, with Germany heading the list; and a certain amount of tax policy coordination. We need to adopt tools designed to stimulate the economy, with a European investment plan and the launch of eurobonds. The first card that the Europeans must play is using Europe to foster growth. Unless Europe kick-starts growth, its clout in the international arena is going to get weaker and weaker.
On the other hand, a flat economy reflects the EU's demographic and social structure. The Old Continent is also demographically "old" by comparative standards, so it has lost a crucial source of its dynamism and of its capacity for innovation. It is common knowledge that the way to make up for a low birth rate is by encouraging immigration, but that in turn raises problems which are not easy to resolve. Europe has no proper immigration policy; and this, for a number of reasons ranging from the fragmentation of the various national legislations to the social and political impact of what are in any case sizable migrant influxes. That is the second card that the Europeans need to play, or rather the second challenge that they need to address: the ability to find a point of balance shared by everyone in Europe between taking migrants in and adopting selective criteria, between tolerance and assimilation, between cultural broadmindedness and formal rules of citizenship. Europe needs a common immigration policy, among other reasons as an antidote to the "policy of fear", to the support that populist and localistic forces are garnering, which is causing a weakening both of national governments and of the European Union.
The third card is another crucial card to play. Europe needs to develop a genuine – not merely a theoretic – common foreign and defense policy. At this juncture it is clear that no single European nation state, acting individually, can hope to remain influential at the global level any longer. The people are aware of this: every single opinion poll shows that grassroots opinion is in favor of such a development. For half a century the EU has based its construction on internal integration; today that axis needs to shift toward cooperation aimed at the outside world. This shift sounds like an obvious move to make given the global challenges awaiting us, but despite the progress enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty it is not obvious at all, because the decisionmaking mechanisms, geopolitical sensitivity in different areas of the 27-strong Union and the resistance traditionally embedded in national bureaucracies are hindering its implementation. We are in danger of playing our third card too slowly.Where Should Foreign Policy Be Forged?
We shall have to wait and see. As you all know, the EU's External Diplomatic Service, the common structure designed to support European foreign policy, is currently under construction in Brussels. Once the service is up and running, it is bound to have an impact given that it will comprise 3,000 diplomats. Community history teaches us that institutions count. They count when there are policies behind them. That is the point on which I would now like to rapidly focus. What are the EU's foreign policy priorities? Where do we need to focus?
My contention is that the Union needs first and foremost to resolve to improve its performance in the macro-region surrounding it: effective action in what we might call its immediate neighborhood, from the Balkans to the Mediterranean, is the precondition to allow it to build up sufficient credibility and esteem for it to make a quantum leap at the global level. It is the premise for a properly functioning shareout of responsibility with the United States.
European neigborhood policy, in turn, has two basic external focal points: Russia and Turkey. Both countries to some extent define Europe's "borders"; both are involved in crucial energy security issues; and toward both there continue to exist differing national attitudes, or indeed full-fledged different interests. This prompts me to draw my first conclusion: without a common energy policy, Europe will never have a genuine foreign policy.
Where Russia is concerned, the rapprochement between Washington and Moscow also facilitates greater foreign policy convergences within Europe itself. The distance between the Union's old and new members has narrowed in part. Where Turkey is concerned, the de facto freeze on the country's membership prospects raises the problem of how to safeguard relations with a now very active player in the Middle Eastern theater. Taking a longer-term view, the geopolitical outreach of Europe (or of a part of Europe) toward the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea will tend to become stronger.
At the same time, the EU needs to attempt to recover its clout in the Middle East. Europe, or rather the countries of Europe – with Italy and France heading the list – played an important role in 2006 with their decision to deploy military contingents in Lebanon, but that has remained an isolated decision: the EU is experiencing a kind of eclipse in the Israeli-Palestinian theater today. And this, at the very moment when the United States has resolved that the Israeli-Palestinian clash is one of its national security priorities, thus accepting the link that Europe has always highlighted between solving the Palestinian problem and managing the current conflicts in the broader Middle East.
Let me turn, in this context, to the Iranian nuclear issue, an issue in which the EU (with the "EU3" formula which included also the High Representative for a Foreign and Security Policy) has shouldered direct responsibilities. As a result of efforts currently under way in the Security Council, fresh international sanctions are likely to be approved. I think they are necessary. Your country has announced its reservations, and I know full well that sanctions may not resolve the situation, but what alternative is there?
I think that it would be a mistake to endorse the aspiration of the ayatollahs' regime to acquire nuclear weapons. The problem is that the international effort to prevent such a development must be accompanied by negotiations with Iran, with a view to getting it involved in resolving the most important crises afflicting that area of the world. Clearly there can be no pacification in Iraq and no stability in Afghanistan without recognition of Iran's regional role and without winning its cooperation. But above all, the issue of Iran's nuclear program must be addressed while simultaneously imparting a determined boost to our efforts for peace in the Middle East. There cannot be a dual standard in defense of the principles of international law. This means that we must also seek Israel's compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions and with the international community's demands regarding the settlements, the issue of East Jerusalem and the Palestinian people's basic rights.
Allow me to add a further point on nonproliferation. I am still convinced that the only realistic way to contain nuclear proliferation is to establish an effective system for the supply and monitoring of peaceful nuclear technology for civilian use only. Brazil's stance, with its decision to forgo the military nuclear option, provides confirmation of this, and I believe that it gives your country an important role to play in this field.
Finally, I would like to make what I consider to be an important point regarding Africa. The African continent was identified, as long ago as in the European Security Strategy in 2003, as being a region in which the EU can and wishes to exercise a constructive presence. In part, it is our neighbor to the south, but the problem here is that we need to move on from seeing only the Mediterranean seaboard to considering the continent as a whole. Many of the challenges facing us in the 21st century come together in Africa: the struggle against poverty and the most serious breaches of human rights, high demographic growth rates, major economic potential, a series of uncertain political transitions and, without doubt, also numerous hotbeds of conflict and the threat posed by the incubation of terrorist movements. Africa almost certainly contains some of the next generation of emerging countries (or sub-regions), and indeed it is no mere coincidence that many players from outside the continent, including China and Brazil, are building contacts and implementing economic projects there.
A continent-wide approach on Europe's part, including but also going beyond the mere Mediterranean dimension, is urgent for that reason too. It is here rather than in the (admittedly also) crucial Asian area of the Pacific that the EU will be able to make a difference.Toward the Vision of an Atlantic Basin
The need for us to think on a continental scale prompts me to make a further consideration which I would address directly to Brazil, to your country, in its capacity as a potential leading player in a transatlantic relationship tailored to reflect the new global balances.
The Atlantic tie has traditionally been, to all intents and purposes, a "North Atlantic" tie: one has but to consider the expansion of the acronym NATO. This vision today fails to completely reflect the economic, political and cultural processes taking place on both shores of the Atlantic. Thus we need to embrace a broader perspective, a perspective encompassing the Atlantic basin in its entirety, including the half of it that lies in the Southern Hemisphere. Recent studies suggest that there are objective factors pushing in that direction. The growth of Brazil's international role is, of course, crucial; and we may add to that the energy potential of West Africa and the other emerging area embodied by South Africa.
Initial conditions are favorable: unlike the Middle East or even the Pacific region, the South Atlantic is not rocked by recurrent crises or beset by any major sources of instability. Tension does exist, of course. It ranges from the problematic relations between the United States, Cuba and Venezuela, to the dispute, closer to our own home, between Morocco and Algeria over the Western Sahara. But the fact of the matter is that, ever since the Falklands War came to an end, clashes between countries have no longer been a crucial factor in the broader Atlantic scenario: challenges tend rather to concern non-conventional security, particularly maritime and environmental security.
In a nutshell: rather than considering transatlantic relations to be a thing of the past, we need to reassess them, we need to adapt them and expand them toward the south. This shift would increase the usefulness for the United States of its strategic alliances both with Europe and with its own hemisphere; at the same, it would allow Europe to strengthen its ties with the countries of Latin America.
Latin America today looks from an outsider’s perspective a continent that has been totally transformed. Despite certain inconsistencies and inequalities, it no longer has the look of a land forgotten and beaten by globalization but that of a continent playing a leading role on the world's stage. This change, both in terms of its economic and social development and in terms of its political initiative, has been determined to a great extent by the leadership role exercised by Brazil. It is in Europe's interest to strengthen its ties with Brazil and with Latin America as a whole; your continent, on its turn, has something to gain from Europe's experience in regional integration.
Military expenditure in Latin America has risen by 91% over the past four years. This shocking figure points to the weight still carried by the nationalism, bickering and unrest that have such a negative impact on the continent's life. Naturally, enhancing genuine integration processes is the task first and foremost of the Latin-American leaders themselves (and we know the energy that President Lula has devoted to this task). In this sense, I would like to underline the positive and innovative role played by UNASUL, the organization established two years ago here in Brasilia with the task of supporting and improving international relations in South America. The cooperation with Europe can certainly facilitate and support those processes.
On a broader level, both Europe/Latin America cooperation and the new “Southern Atlantic” link can contain the risks attached to the possible formation of closed regional blocs.Weakness and Strength
I must beg your forgiveness: I started out with the many reasons for Europe's weakness today, and I have reached a point, through foreign policy, where I am depicting the prospect of a strong and farsighted Europe for the future, a Europe capable of grasping the spirit and of rising to the challenges of our time.
But then, this curve perfectly reflects my thinking: Europe has not yet lost the match. It still has some important cards to play – including the cards that I have attempted to describe above.
The key condition is for us Europeans to take on board the realization that greater political unity for our continent is not so much a choice as a necessity if Europe wishes to wield reasonable clout in the new global balances. As I said, the world of the G8 is over. The nationalistic pride of the old European powers reflects nostalgia for a world that no longer exists; it certainly does not represent an opportunity for the future. So we need to move with courage down the path of integration. I am not suggesting that we hold a new debate on the European constitution; what I suggest is that we make full use of the new opportunities that lie before us now that the Lisbon Treaty has been approved.
Let me briefly emphasize three points.
First: the Lisbon Treaty offers – in other words, it does not preclude – improved capability for acting on the international scene. It does not guarantee that capability – indeed, that capability has been used little and poorly to date – but it does make it possible. One of the treaty's crucial shared goals was to reduce the excessive fragmentation of our external representation at least at meetings on the highest levels. As you may be aware, things are heading in a different direction, with the risk of an overlap between the Presidency of the Commission, the Permanent Presidency of the Council and the High Representative. We probably should have had the courage to merge the Presidency of the Commission with the Presidency of the Council. In the event we did not, but rationalization along those lines is going to end up being forced on us by our external interlocutors.
Second: people have been arguing for years now that the EU should adopt a single voice in every international forum, particularly in the international financial institutions in light of Europe's economic clout and of our national economies' level of integration. A united representation would give the EU the genuine bargaining power that it does not have today. The problem, as everyone is well aware, is that when push comes to shove, the European nation states which are overrepresented today compared to their real clout oppose this transfer. Yet the current situation is going to become increasingly less acceptable or justifiable as the international financial institutions and their voting systems move down the path of reform. In other words, Europe is going to end up achieving single representation whether it likes the idea or not.
Third: budget constraints come into play, and they are such as to make concrete moves in the direction of a "European defense" more than likely. Moreover, in light of the current challenges to our security, defense means above all a shared ability to deploy forces overseas. Thus we are talking about defense as an economy of scale, but with extremely important political spin-offs.
Why is European defense important? Because it is the precondition for our maintaining a properly functioning alliance with the United States. The precondition is that Europe needs to be able to shoulder its responsibilities. It needs to be less dependent on the United States, not more. It needs to be stronger, not weaker.
There is also another reason: Europe has always functioned on the basis of shared projects. You may recall that the blueprint for a European Defense Community was thrown out by the French National Assembly very early on in the European integration process. If genuine progress toward European defense (which is actually envisioned under the Lisbon Treaty) were made today, that defense would become the symbol of a fresh boost to the European Union – a symbol, if you will, of the transition from the regional Europe of the last century to the global Europe we need today.
And finally, a step of that kind would serve to overcome the (quite honestly, somewhat artificial) distinction between soft power and hard power on the international level. Europe's love of its soft power is in danger of causing it to lose the very object of its love. If Europe goes on calling itself a civilian power, it will certainly be civilian but it will not be a power.
In conclusion, a strong Europe would be of benefit to the Europeans but also to the governance of global balances. The EU is not condemned to failure as an international player. Whether by choice or by necessity, the 21st century is going to be a European century too.
Provided that politics shows its strength. It has been said that while policies have been transferred from the national governments to Brussels, politics remains national. This is precisely the flaw in the integration process: there are a large number of European policies - and a great deal of European bureaucracy to go with them - but there is a dearth of European political leadership and vision. This was confirmed by the recent European appointments: national governments, apparently, had no interest in strengthening the Union's new institutions.
And yet this is precisely what we need: a European leadership, able to define a shared project. This is what the founding fathers of Europe did have in the aftermath of the tragedy of World War II: a great blueprint, a shared dream. Postwar Europe grew as a response to the tragedies of the past and as an expression of the need to heal the wounds that had torn our continent apart. After 1989, the European Union's enlargement was the necessary response to the tragedy of the Cold War that had split the people of Europe for almost fifty years. The Europe of today and of tomorrow will be judged above all on its ability to respond to the major global challenges; this should be our new blueprint.
The construction of an order based on peace, the great challenge of fostering development while safeguarding the environment and the struggle against poverty demand a strong Europe: capable of overcoming the temptation to clam up in conservatism or to indulge in selfish nationalism.
I believe this must be the goal of a new progressive European force capable of transcending the experience of national reformism that held sway in the 20th century, and capable of overcoming the fear that is fueling the success of the right in so many European countries, restoring to the peoples of Europe their pride in our heritage of civilization and the ability to look to the future with hope in their hearts.