This is an important contribution at a crucial time. The sense today in Europe is that we are no longer masters of our own fate with the tide of history moving inexorably away from us. It is a feeling of powerlessness. This breeds resignation, with calls to lay down to an inevitable Chinese-led order growing more frequent, or misguided attempts to go back to an anachronistic nationalism that does not offer solutions to the challenges of our time. The European Project is our best hope of contributing to and shaping the world around us. But to do so actual change, not merely talk of change, is necessary. Europe cannot rest on its laurels and past achievements as the basis for moving forward. It needs to evolve; it needs a positive platform; and it needs to reconceptualize itself. For all of the challenges that Brexit brings, it also necessitates a shake-up in how Europe operates, particularly in the realm of security, as highlighted in this piece. We may therefore look at this moment of discord as an opportunity for creative destruction. It is an opportunity that cannot be wasted. Continuing to muddle through will get us nowhere but further into the morass of helplessness. To avoid this, leadership, which has been so absent in Europe these last years, is necessary. Mr. Macron’s apparent willingness to step into this void after a period dominated by difficulties within France is good news for Europe.
Ana Palacio, a former minister of foreign affairs of Spain and former senior vice president and general counsel of the World Bank Group, is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University.