Speech at high level conference "Federal Europe, Only Way Out", Rome, Friday, 22 June 2012
With the next European Council ahead, there is a growing awareness that Europe has reached a real crossroads in the history of the integration process.
It has never been clearer that the problem is beyond the debt, beyond the loss of competitiveness or of the debate austerity-growth. The problem is the lack of a clear political project where Europeans can recognize themselves and which shows unequivocally that Europe is and will be there.
The European ruling class is called to a sprint, a greater vision and ability to persuade; restore the primacy of economics, finance, markets; go beyond vetoes and legal or bureaucratic obstacles. In other words, it is called to imagine a future together and to show leadership.
Democratic representation and political parties are called to play an essential role to explain to citizens what is at stake, and convince them to participate in a new European project. If politics loses this match, if it bends to the local dimension, unable to face at appropriate levels global and European challenges, Europe is doomed to decline.
The only serious answer that politics can give to the populism - which is triggered by anger and fear for a situation where sacrifices are not followed by true perspectives - is channeling protests into a desire for change, so to build a stronger new home that protects our interests in the storms of the global world.