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If there had been a political message from the Laeken summit….

A Europe 2020 simulation carried out following the anticipation seminar of 5 October 2001
15/10/2001

– With the Euro, a fundamental step in the construction of Europe has been taken. A strong and daily experienced link will now link the peoples and citizens of Europe. The wishes of the founding fathers and the post-war generation were fundamentally fulfilled: “the ever stronger union between peoples”.

– It is therefore a new time, and not just a new stage, that opens with this year 2002. For Europe by the advent of stronger stability thanks to the Euro; for the world by a new instability revealed by the attacks of 11 September 2001. Just as it took imagination and boldness after the war to design and launch Community construction, so it will be necessary this year to reinvent all of us – with citizens, civil society, businesses and experts, civil servants, politicians – the methods, institutions and aims of this new, more integrated Europe now; and tomorrow more broadly.

– It is therefore also a new world; and Europe must be able to make an active contribution to it to bring it more stability, justice, prosperity and peace. It must share with other countries and regions of the world its unique experience that has enabled it in 50 years to transform the conflict-ridden international relations that characterized it into peaceful internal relations. Europe’s vocation to multilateralism must be able to be expressed and affirmed in all sectors of globalisation, as must its desire to involve the peoples in the major stages of its construction and external relations. And in the face of the terrorist threat, the EU, while supporting the need for firm responses to intolerable acts, wishes to see the establishment as soon as possible of an International Court of Justice capable of judging those responsible for such acts and calls in particular on the United States to ratify such a treaty in order to prepare for a more stable and just 21st century.

– After 50 years of existence and good and loyal services, at the time of the transition to a new era and faced with the new challenges of the two enlargements (enlargement to citizens (Euro) and enlargement to Eastern Europe), it is necessary to carry out a general review of the Community system (institutions, methods, procedures, fields, human resources). Focused on the challenges of tomorrow – integration of citizens, eastward enlargement and a global role – this review will aim to prepare a complete overhaul of the Community system by 2004 in order to give the EU a functioning adapted to the new century. Like a car that has driven a lot, the EU must be revised before embarking on the new adventure of crossing the 21st century.

– With the Euro, 300 million citizens become “co-detainees” of Europe. The power to make it, to change it, to guide it must now be shared by all. It is futile and illusory to declare “European democracy” brutally when most of our fellow citizens ignore the complexities of European decision-making systems; and when these same systems must be revised to allow them to act and influence things. On the other hand, it is essential that this vast revision be the privileged democratic exercise to enable everyone to express themselves, to participate, to contribute to inventing the Europe of tomorrow, and thus to learn to be an informed and responsible Euro-citizen, in a democratic system adapted to the citizen. During 2002 and 2003, with a sectoral approach, through actions using the Internet in particular (elections, debates, evaluations), allowing everyone to gain a clear understanding of Europe and its challenges, the entire EU population will be invited to participate in the evaluation and redefinition of the common institutions, processes and objectives. The synthesis of this process will be carried out in the second half of 2003 by a Convention bringing together representatives of the Community institutions, governments, national parliaments and representatives elected by each major European sector to be submitted for ratification by the Member States at the end of 2004.

– Enlargement is a historical imperative that must succeed. And a successful enlargement is one that strengthens the EU as much as the states that join it. For this dual condition to be fulfilled, it is now clear that it is necessary to wait at least until the end of this Community review process and the implementation of these decisions; as well as until the absorption of the “Euro” effect. The EU must act in this area with determination but without haste because its peoples would not forgive it, either in the West or in the East. The enlargement process can therefore start operationally from 2005, which will make it possible to better prepare both sides for this European reunification that has been expected for decades.

– The younger generations, those born after the creation of the European Community, those who have always found themselves in a Europe where the idea of war has gradually become totally absurd, those who feel part of the same large European family know that it is now up to them to play and contribute to this historic process initiated by their grandparents. Just as in the field of information technology or the Internet, we call on the younger generations to invent, design and develop new applications and products. The EU of tomorrow needs the inventiveness of its children for its institutional, political and social engineering. You are “like fish in European water”. We need your “natural European ease” to pave the way for the future; by involving you massively in this vast Community review. For the most part, we, as political leaders, or our collaborators, senior officials, experts, are too immersed in the current system to be able to take the necessary perspective for its effective review alone. So we need your fresh and hopefully innovative look. We will be able to temper it with our experience of things and people.

– Associations, universities, SMEs, research centres, local authorities,… you are hundreds of thousands of you every year to be active partners of the EU through its many policies and programmes! For more than a decade you have “produced at least as much Europe” as the Community system itself. And without you, none of the many trans-European networks that connect you to each other across borders and have multiplied contacts, exchanges and joint projects would have been possible. Without you, the EU would remain a cold construction, where, around the pillars of the States and the Community institutions, there would be an absolute vacuum. Thanks to you and your efforts, on the contrary, it is a busy life that is developing and allowing the emergence of a real European civil society where our common democracy will be able to take root. And you have also become good connoisseurs (fortunately not experts!) of European issues, especially in your sector. And your experienced eye knows the defects and weaknesses of our European machinery; as it also knows its qualities and strengths. We urgently need your knowledge and expertise to revise the Community system at the beginning of this new era. And we need you and your partnership to ensure that the achievements of the past 50 years are firmly rooted in our societies. We hope that you will contribute in large numbers to this vast review; and we will offer you the means to express your expectations, criticisms and proposals in each of your sectors.

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