This paper is a part of contributions to the Jean Monnet
No.7/00, Symposium: Responses to Joschka Fischer
Jacques Le Goff, the well-known French historian, once wrote: "Europe has had a name for 25 centuries, but it is still at the project stage". And it is likely to remain at this stage - of not just one project but many - for a long time to come, since this is the way the creative action of politics, at the high level to which we owe the decisive moves in European integration, functions. But it is certainly projects and strategic visions that are needed, especially today when Europe seems to be floundering in the midst of uncertainties about the Euro exchange rate, the prospect of great enlargement of its frontiers and the initial signs of a crisis of confidence among its citizens.
The speech by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer last Friday at the Humboldt University had one essential merit from this viewpoint: the debate on Europe's future and the organization of the "enlarged" Union has at long last attracted the attention of the media and public opinion. It is no longer confined to academic venues and think-tanks, nor circumscribed to the offices of the diplomats who have for several weeks now been negotiating the revision of the Amsterdam Treaty. And it is a good thing that European citizens, the demos to which any responsible leader has to refer, are informed and involved in a broader public confrontation than the Union's "political objective", over and above the reforms, essential as they are, to decision-making machinery currently under discussion at the Inter-Governmental Conference.
© Giuliano Amato 2000