Brussels, 28 November 2000 – Reuniting Europe
Seminar organised by the Lucchini Foundation and Notre Europe in Brussels. Also available in Italian.


Notre Europe is extremely pleased to organise this meeting with the support of the Lucchini Foundation, on the ambitious theme of “Reuniting Europe”. Ambitious because we refused the all-too-easy option of only speaking about institutions in an enlarged Union. Our intention was to map out the real problems faced by such a Union. With the support of talented experts, the results are substantially different from the all-toofrequent mechanistic approach which sees enlargement as simply ensuring that the acquis communautaire is taken on board by candidate countries who play the role of novices, by arranging for the necessary transitions and then ensuring that the whole process costs as little as possible. By contrast, the findings of our discussions show that the European Union will not get away so easily. It cannot afford to leave unanswered the key question as to its own ultimate purposes and its own project. This undoubtedly involves a re-examination of its place in a globalised world, enabling its citizens move freely yet securely across its borders, and taking a new look at the social and territorial balance underlying the European model of development. Paradoxically, candidate countries have far more experience in questioning what were once considered well-founded certainties. This inventory also includes the huge challenges that the enlarged Union will have to address: the development and convergence of economies, the consolidation of mechanisms for the rule of law, the treatment of minorities, the control of migratory flows, the creation of partnerships with new border countries, etc. Let us be quite clear: all this will have a budgetary cost, and probably a large one. Nor will the financial bill for enlargement be only restricted to the extension of the CAP and the structural funds, unless we wish to bypass real needs. Yet this cost is not simply a gesture of pure solidarity: it is the price to pay for the success of a geopolitically large-scale project, in which Europe can find new energy and a new way forward. At a time when the European Council in Nice has just given a clear signal for enlargement, there will have to be public debate on these questions. I am proud that Notre Europe has been able to help in sketching the outlines, and I would like to thank everyone who helped us, especially Marjorie Jouen, for whom it crowns a year of in-depth thinking on the topic.