It is back on, really back on. Europe of the nations versus an “ever closer Union”, as the treaties put it, the debate keeps rising, becoming more and more fierce, but the big problem is that the sovereignists still believe they are in the 20th century.

In the last century, they could vehemently refuse any prospect of political union of Europe since our collective security was guaranteed by the American umbrella, under whose shelter we could claim to be sovereign when we were nothing but dependent.

It was quite simple, the Cold War, quite comfortable. At that time, we could say anything, we could swagger and even invoke our national independence to affirm ourselves by distinguishing ourselves from the United States, but today?

Well, now it is no longer possible. Since that day in 2008 when the United States did not react to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Georgia ; for thirteen years now, they have been hammering home the fact that their strategic interests are no longer to be defended in Europe but off the coast of China, the protégés that we used to be have to take their destiny in their own hands now.

Whether we wish to or not, we have to equip ourselves with a common defence or else we will remain naked. Even the most Atlanticists among us have definitely understood this as they saw the United States abandon Afghanistan and it would be time, dear Mr Orbán, dear Mrs Le Pen, dear Mr Kaczynski, dear sovereignists, eurosceptics and europhobes of the right and the left, to draw the consequences.

Because, finally, since we have to build a European Defence, we also have to lay the foundations for a common foreign policy, common research and industrial policies – in a word, to tighten our ranks in an ever closer union.

No one can yet say what this Union will be like in fifteen or twenty years’ time, when we have added common defence and investments to the single market and currency. It will not be what the United States of America is, because the European Union is made up of old States whose specific character is an asset that should certainly not be wasted.

When it comes to the relationship between the Nation States and their union, we will undoubtedly be somewhere between the Swiss Confederation and German federalism. We will have to invent as we go along, but the certainty is that our Union will have become more political, our institutions more familiar, our democracy more commonly shared and that, thanks to the development of European sovereignty on the international scene, our countries will eventually gain much more real sovereignty than they have today.

So enter the 21st century, dear sovereignists, stop thinking as if the wall had not fallen and the Americans were still there, stop lying to yourselves and to the peoples of the Union, and instead contribute to the common reflection on the priorities to be defined and the pace at which we must move forward.

We need to move quickly but not too quickly. We must make haste slowly because the constant deterioration of the international situation obliges us to work hard to exist while there is still time, but everything forbids us from rushing things because our countries, their intellectuals, their press and their political leaders themselves are far from being aware of this urgency.

Nothing will be easy, but if our sovereignty really matters to you, dear sovereignists, stop confusing and slowing down everything, stop preventing us from existing by reopening debates that a new century has already brought to an end.

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