Solidarity and strength, the guiding themes of the Commission, set the course for the future of Europe. Only through the development of cooperative strength can Europe gain the necessary power to meet the challenges of the 21st century and successfully represent its values. Only through European solidarity, which is based on common laws and duties, can the EU become capable of acting within its borders and abroad.
We need an open debate about the way forward, especially in these times of crisis and scepticism of European institutions. How far should, or can, European solidarity go? What kind of binding rules does a community need if its members are to stand together in times of crisis? What kind of political course must we now steer if we are to bring the EU once more to the forefront? And, in future, what kind of global tasks must the EU undertake?