From a speech by the French President to the presidential committee of the Western European Union Parliamentary Assembly
FIFTY YEARS after the cornerstone was laid, the construction of Europe has to open up to new horizons. We cannot rely on our great successes of the past to ensure that Europe is able to meet the coming challenges. As it draws up its plans for enlargement, Europe must make its ambitions clear.
What kind of Europe do we want? What kind of Europe do we want to pass on to our children? We need to have a wide-ranging discussion, and to debate the construction of Europe. We shall take an active part in this process, alongside our German friends.
Today, I would like to talk to you about an area that is critical to building Europe's identity. It is the European Union's political role in the world. It is now time for this role to expand. Our ambition should be to make Europe a leading political player in tomorrow's world, and we must make sure that this ambition has wide popular support. Euro-power? Euro-politics? Whatever we call it, it must meet the need to play a major role for peace in the world.
The European Union can and must work to reduce international tension, since prevention is the best way to ensure security. The multipolar world that France is seeking will provide balance and harmony. But it will not be feasible unless Europe is able to play its role on the international stage. The European Union must be able to help to settle conflicts once they have broken out. To do so, it will need diplomatic and military instruments. But it first needs to have political objectives and determination.
The purpose of the European Union is to establish lasting peace on our continent. This is its task. It will take up this task gradually but irreversibly. Our countries have experienced war and division. This has made them aware of the complexity of the world and taught them how dear freedom is, and how fragile it is. The very special alchemy of European history gives full value to the message that our Union can give the world in a century that I hope will be the century of ethics. …