… now those who in the past showed very little interest for the European Commission, the Parliament and the bureaucracy in Brussels — because they assumed that they weren’t expected to be interested in these things — are reading daily about the strange things European statesmen have done with the European idea: things like circumventing their own regulations, falsifying statistics and breaking promises. They are responsible for an impressive number of rule breaches and untruths. Can anyone blame Europeans who, in the last few months, have learned more about Europe than they ever wanted to know, for being distraught — to put it mildly — over what their governments have done in their names and with their money?
The real paradox is that it is precisely those young Europeans in Lisbon, Barcelona, Lyon, Dublin and Athens who need a strong European Union. They need a union that redistributes work in Europe; that monitors the banks and speculators in different ways than national governments can; that regulates the handling of nuclear power, nuclear waste and energy policies on a European level; and that coordinates climate protection for the countries. In short, they need a union that exists not because political romantics from the postwar generation want to keep it alive. They need a union that exists because the Europeans of tomorrow see it as their greatest opportunity.
In other words, what has happend to the idea of Europe that François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, among others, had?
The whole piece is here.