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  • Strategic Objectives 2005-2009, Europe 2010: A Partnership for European Renewal, Prosperity, Solidarity and Security, Communication from the President in agreement with [...], COM(2005) 12 final


Over the last few years, the European Union has made huge strides forward:
- the biggest enlargement ever, largely uniting our continent into a Europe of freedom
- the introduction of the Euro, consolidating a zone of financial stability
- the signing of the Constitution, modernising the rules of an enlarged Union resting uniquely on the dual legitimacy of its Member States and citizens
- progressing towards a common area of Justice and Security across Europe
- building up the first stages of a European Defence Policy

Politically, Europe has confounded its critics and shown its capacity to move forward. Enlargement of our membership has enlarged the Union�s potential and added to the richness of our diversity: this is a source of strength, not weakness for the future. More generally, the development of the Union in varying spheres of action means that for citizens in all our Member States decisions taken at European level will assume greater reach, although too few are aware of the scale of what Europe has achieved or the extent of its impact on their lives.
On the other hand, significant sections of the European public are not convinced that Europe is on the right track. At European level we can only be effective if we are prepared to recognise these concerns. Although the picture varies considerably between Member States, feelings of indifference to the European idea are widespread. Less than one out of two citizens voted in the last European elections. The reasons for this reduced confidence are complex and include sluggish economic growth, heightened feelings of economic and personal insecurity, fears of loss of identity and a more general feeling of "disconnect" between what happens in "Brussels" and in people's everyday lives. There is an urgent need to demonstrate more clearly the value of what the Union brings and the legitimacy of its decisions.

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