This year’s State of the Union message gave a look back. It presented the remaining programme of activities the Commission will implement by the end of its mandate and provided post-mandate strategic guidelines for the EU’s future development. We have swung from the depths of last year’s frustration and disappointment to a strong optimism. However, this is leading to contradictions as old integrative dreams for Europe re-emerge. On the one hand, the claim is that the European project has to be further democratised and brought closer to the people. One the other, the suggestions are for further deepening, some to be implemented under the radar by an extension of existing rules and of the “Community method”. The priority of ensuring consolidation by combatting through political means, the strong divergences existing between parts of the Union, is likely to be lost. It happened in the past; it can happen again. Deepening as of now will create new realities for which the political and economic mechanisms to manage them properly will be lacking. We should not let an unexpectedly good outturn deflect us from the strategic need to consolidate. Otherwise, the past will beckon.

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