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An “Avant-garde” driving the European unification process forward

International Bertelsmann Forum 2001, “Europe without borders”, Berlin, January 19-20, 2001.

Speech of Jacques
Delor at the
International Bertelsmann Forum 2001

without borders”

Berlin, January
19-20, 2001

Before exploring the future, it might be
useful to take a poised look at the current state of the Union. I will be


The decision-making and action-taking
machinery is still operating, but its effectiveness, transparency and
democratic accountability is becoming increasingly insufficient. The decisions
taken at the European Summit in Nice do not seem to me to do much to
remedy this worrying sense of drift.

The beginnings of a “Defence Europe”
are promising. For the time being, this means focusing on the creation of
a rapid intervention force, so that Europeans can carry out humanitarian
missions and peace-keeping or -maintenance actions either with or without
the participation of the Americans. But there are still outstanding
problems, especially in relation to NATO, and European countries will have
to draw their own conclusions – including budgetary ones. They have managed to
avoid thepitfalls of ideology and dogma. We now await the next steps.

Although the results from Nice are
disappointing in terms of making common institutions more relevant, they
nevertheless pave the way for large-scale enlargement.

And from this point of view we can understand the satisfaction of the candidate
countries, which I share with them. That said, there are three
fundamental questions that can help focus discussions over the next three years
when Member States plan to review the institutional system in 2004.


What ultimate purpose can we reasonably assign
to Greater Europe (first a 28-country Europe, and then with the Balkans
and other candidates, extending to 33 or 35 countries)?

What are the appropriate methods for making
Europe a success: which institutions, or even what constitution should we
have, what place will there be for the charter of fundamental rights?

How can we combine enlargement with deepening?
A classic yet fundamental question. Would it be useful to forge an
“Avant-garde”, or reinforced co-operation?