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If there had been a Laeken Summit’s political message…

– {{With the Euro}}, a fundamental step in the European construction was made. A very strong link, experienced on a daily basis, will now connect the peoples and European citizens. The wish made by the founding-fathers and the post-war generation has become true: “an ever stronger union between the peoples”.

– {{A new era will thus begin}}, and not only a new stage, together with year 2002. For Europe, by the advent of a stronger stability thanks to the Euro; for the world, by the new instability revealed by the September 11 attacks. As much as imagination and audacity were needed after the war in order to invent and launch the European construction, imagination and audacity will be needed this year in order to re-invent all together – with the citizens, civil society, companies, with the experts, the civil servants, the politicians – the methods, the institutions and the purpose of this new, more integrated and tomorrow larger Europe.

– {{It is also a new world}}; and Europe should be able to bring to it its own specific and active contribution, bringing more stability, more justice, more prosperity and more peace to it. It should share with the other countries and regions of the world its unique experience that enabled in the last 50 years to transform conflictual international relations into peaceful internal relations. The vocation of multi-lateralism of Europe should find an expression in all the sectors of globalisation, as much as its will to associate the peoples to the great steps of its construction and of its external relations. And as the terrorist menace grows, the EU while reaffirming the necessity for firm answers to such intolerable acts, should state clearly its wish for an International Court of Justice to be set up in order to judge fairly those responsible for such actions, and should call the United-States namely to ratify such a treaty and prepare for a more stable and just 21st century.

– {{After 50 years of existence and good work}}, at the time of a switch to a new era and facing the new challenges brought by the 2 enlargements (enlargement to the citizens – Euro -, and enlargement to Eastern-Europe), {{it is now essential to proceed to a general revision of the EU system}} (institutions, methods, procedures, sectors, human resources). Directed towards the challenges of tomorrow – integration of the citizens, enlargement to the East and global role – this revision will aim at preparing a complete reorganisation of the EU system by 2004 in order to endow the EU with mechanisms adapted to the new century. Just like a car which drove a long way, the EU must go through a large inspection before entering the new adventure of the 21st century.

– {{With the Euro, 300 million citizens become ” co-owners ” of Europe}}. Therefore the power to make it, to change it, to orient it must be shared with everyone. It is vain and illusory to declare a “European democracy” all of a sudden, while most of our fellow citizens are completely ignorant of the complexity of the European decision-making circuits ; and while these very circuits are about to be revised precisely in order to enable the greater number to act and influence things. On the contrary, it is essential that this wide-ranging revision be the privileged democratic exercice for everyone to speak, participate, contribute to invent tomorrow’s Europe, and thus be trained to become an informed and responsible Euro-Citizen, within a citizen-oriented democratic system. In the course of year 2002 and year 2003, thanks to a sectoral approach, and via to a number of actions using the Internet (elections, debates, assessments) designed to enable everyone to fully understand Europe and the challenges related to it, the whole of the EU population will be invited to participate in the evaluation and redefinition of the common institutions, processes and goals. The synthesis of the whole process will take place in the second semester of year 2003 as part of a Convention gathering the representatives of the European institutions, governments, national parliaments, and the elected officials of the great European sectors. The synthesis would then be submitted for ratification to the Member-States by the end of 2004.

– {{Enlargement is a historical necessity which must be a success}}. And a successful enlargement is an enlargement that will reinforce the EU as much as the accessing countries. In order to answer this double condition, it is now obvious that nothing can start until the end of the process of European revision and the implementation of the resulting decisions, as well as until the Euro-shock has been absorbed. The EU in the matter must act with determination but without any hurry, because the populations, whether from East or West, would not forgive it. The process of enlargement can therefore only start on an operational basis by 2005, then both parts concerned will be ready to enter this long-waited process of European reunification.

– {{The younger generations}}, those born after the creation of the European Community, those that have always lived in a Europe where the thought of war has gradually become absurd, those who clearly feel that they belong to a greater European family, all of them {{know that their time has come to act and contribute to the historic process launched by their grand-parents}}. As much as in the field of computers and Internet in which the younger generations are requested to invent, create and develop new applications and products, the EU of tomorrow needs the creativity of its children for its institutional, political and social engineering. You are like a fish in the European waters? We need your natural European ease to pave the way to the future by your massive participation in this wide-ranging European revision. We, political leaders, as well as our collaborators – civil-servants or experts – are too much involved in the current system to stand back properly and conceive an efficient revision. Therefore we need your new eyes and we hope they will be innovating. Our experience of things and men will help to temperate things.

– {{Associations, universities, SMEs, research centres, local authorities, … you are hundreds of millions involved as the active partners of the EU via its various policies and programmes}}. For more than a decade you have been producing as much Europe as the EU system itself. Without you, none these trans-European networks that connect you the ones with the others across the borders and have multiplied the contacts, exchanges and common projects, none of this would have existed. Without you, the EU would be a cold construction which pillars – the States and European institutions – would be surrounded by a total vacuum. Thanks to you and to your efforts, it is on the contrary a swarming life that developed and enabled the emergence of a true European civil society on which basis a common democracy can now take place. And you too have become good connoisseurs (fortunately not experts!) of the European issues, in your field namely. And your well-informed eyes know the defects and weaknesses of our European machinery; as much as they know its qualities and assets. We urgently need your knowledge and know-how to revise the European system on the eve of a new era. And we also need you, your partnership to root durably within our societies the experience of the last 50 years. We hope many of you will contribute to this wide-ranging revision; and we promise to provide all the means for you to express your expectations, criticisms and propositions in each of your fields of activity.

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