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New leadership in a new European Union

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Everybody is talking about the lack of leadership in the European Union. Blair’s or Chirac’s declarations are read as mere tactical moves designed to gain leadership. Barroso is often presented as lacking leadership. The European Council is seen as devoid of any leader. Such analysis is often followed by a few nostalgic comments about the Delors-Kohl-Mitterrand era, or for older souls, about the Schuman-Adenauer-Spaak era. It is very easy to see that there is presently a problem of leadership in the European Union, a little more difficult to describe it, and much more difficult to propose solutions. The present note tries nevertheless to explore this question through looking at the past. First, it tries to define what leadership of Europe means – or could mean. Secondly, it enumerates the (numerous) reasons why this question has thoroughly changed during the last 15 years. Finally, it examines how far traditional sources of leadership are likely to be valid also in the future.
(Photo credit: rockcohen, Flickr)