MADRID – For more than six decades, Europe’s integration process has been steadily evolving. Each step, from the European Coal and Steel Community to today’s European Union, was taken with the common good in mind, and was based on shared values (democracy, human rights, and social justice) and goals (economic growth, prosperity, and the consolidation of Europe’s international prestige). In the coming year, the result – the common rules and institutions that we Europeans have painstakingly forged – will be tested like never before.
In 2011, Europe’s foundations began to tremble, as the eurozone’s sovereign-debt crisis, set in motion by the global financial and economic crisis that erupted in 2008, moved from the eurozone’s periphery to its core countries. The EU’s resilience – indeed, its very survival – is being called into question at a time of profound geopolitical transformation, in which a stronger Europe is essential.