A common outlook?

The European Union’s intergovernmental summit in Rome last weekend did not inspire much hope that its work would be completed before the end of the year. The draft plan for a European Constitution, prepared by Valery Giscard d’Estaing’s European Convention for the Future of Europe, is not ideal but it does represent a form of compromise. However, it appears that several EU states oppose the controversial reforms because they do not adequately satisfy their national interests. If the reforms are ultimately rejected, negotiations would obviously have to start again from scratch. After an initial period of intransigence, the member states will most probably start looking for a common denominator. And sooner or later a compromise will be found. It is crucial that this solution not be a disappointment – that it fulfills (at least in its basic principles) the need for swifter progress in the integration process. The history of the EU is one of synthesis and antithesis, of crises and transgressions. All member states recognize, in one way or another, the need for political integration, but they do not perceive this in the same way. But despite these significant differences, a common identity has been hammered out in Europe, a kind of common outlook. It is precisely this valuable accomplishment that stabilizes integration efforts despite the occasional clashes and inconsistencies.