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Europe is capable of surprising us (Juncker)

(B2) We forget how much the current President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is a veteran of European politics and has a memory. On many points – his European commitment, the need for a more common European defense and a Europe that moves – the man has, in fact, changed little. And we find this conviction, quite intact, in the White Paper he presents today on the future of Europe. Guaranteed freshness…

NB! One might be mistaken for an interview conducted today. This is not reality. Let's admit it... We got caught up in the game. The words couldn't be more accurate, they were said by the man who is now President of the European Commission. Guess when they were said? (*) You will see that the man (whom we can possibly criticize on other aspects) has an extraordinary political righteousness which commands respect...

You are ambitious...

JCJ — Since I became involved in European political life, I have repeatedly noted that Europe is moving forward at the pace of its ambitions.

We have the impression in Europe that we have to wait for some people to move for it to work...

JCJ — Always, in Europe, the model of development of things is the same. I remember when I was Minister of Finance and I was responsible for leading the IGC on Economic and Monetary Union. In fact, there were three of us who were deeply convinced that Europe needed the single currency. […] At the time, only three of us were convinced to try to make this work and make it a European success. Each time that Europe does not doubt itself, each time that it has great ambitions for itself and for the rest of the world, Europe is capable of surprising those who make it up and those who observe it.

Security Union, Defense Union, you hear this word regularly…

JCJ — The European Security and Defense Union is one of these European ambitions. (With this project) we are in fact making our European project more complete and more credible. More complete towards the interior, since we are taking into the European fold attributions which were once exclusively national. More credible to the outside world, because we would like this economic giant, this great international figure from a monetary point of view to also become, with all the attributes and all the consequences that result from it, a major international player.

It is a military superpower that we want to create in the image of the United States...

JCJ — (No) We do not want to create Europe as a military superpower. We want to create a European Defense and Security Union. We hope it will serve, in particular, the common foreign and security policy. And this is found in particular in the link between classic military, political and diplomatic efforts.

(words transcribed by Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(*) These remarks are taken from the press conference held… on April 29, 2003! at the Pralines summit in Brussels with four (Chirac, Schröder, Verhofstadt… and Juncker)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).