Mr President, in the second half of 2015 the Luxembourg Presidency and the Commission showed great determination in trying to steer the Union out of the crisis that broke out in rapid order. However, from the smoothing over of the most recent Greek crisis to the refugee crisis, everything was done in firefighting mode. Events, not the Union, were in charge. Unfortunately, the events may have shown that the assumptions of the models we follow no longer fit the realities. They referred to the economic and social realities of the past.
The results of national elections over the past six months show that European peoples may have realised this. Clearly, when you operate in firefighting mode there is no time to undertake strategic reviews. Yet the signs are that the time has also come for such strategic reviews. We need a strategic reflection regarding the assumptions, not the values and the models, not the methods, of the European project; the reach and soft power of the Union; a new design for political coherence in Europe; immigration policies; the effects of globalisation; the mix of state and private sector; and not least in the areas of job creation.