The European project spans 60 years of shared adventures. But although as Europeans we are confronted with the same challenges, we do not know each other very well and tend to project our national preferences onto Europe: for example, the French tend to imagine that Europe is just a bigger version of France…. Yet trying to understand each other – “experiencing alterity” – is essential if we are to build a community of destiny.
The rise in extremist views, national retrenchment and national egotism show that we have lost sight of our common destiny. We need to take a long hard look at ourselves. We can no longer afford not to know our European partners better if we want to continue working together and sharing our sovereignties.
Far from focusing primarily on common institutions (as many “federalists” do), we need to agree first on what we want to achieve together. What is our project? It is not just a Brussels-based bureaucracy that has stepped up its political profile under the Juncker Commission. Building Europe means above all bringing peoples and nations together, and writing a European history of Europe.
To do this, we must answer the following question with one voice: how and where does Europe deliver – or not deliver – added value? How is Europe and the different circles it comprises (the Eurozone, the Schengen area, the EU, neighbouring countries, etc.) a relevant scale of action in today’s world?