A leading French think-tank says the European Union must emerge from the global economic crisis more credible and influential in world affairs. The Robert Schuman Foundation unveiled its 3rd annual state of the union report in Paris as the EU gears up for the European elections.
The French Minister for European Affairs, Bruno Le Maire said: “I want to motivate the French people by explaining that this election represents a major political issue. You’re not voting for nothing. It’s a vote where you are deciding the future of Europe. Do you want a politically strong Europe that can punch its weight alongside America, China and the emerging countries? Or will you let Europe become watered-down into a vast free-trade zone without rules and without serious policies.” The report points out that the EU has already proved itself at the highest level on the international stage, particularly alongside the US at the recent G20 summit. But it also says that euroscepticism is emerging among individual countries, with an increasing number of debates of more nationalist themes. The President of the Schuman Foundation, Jean-Dominique Giuliani said: “The European Union is at a crossroads. The difficulties of reforming its institutions and dealing with the economic crisis demand that it bounces back anew, an important politicial rebound to emerge more influential in the world. In foreign affairs, it must be more united and more credible, that is, its defence must be better shared.” The report says the global financial turmoil marks the first major crisis to hit the EU in its 50 year history, and in a pat-on-the-back for the Union’s currency, it says without the euro, things would have been considerably worse.