In front of the MEPs, Ursula von der Leyen therefore claims to embody a European political body, and thus to combine an "I" that draws its strength from this coherence ("I will stand for..."), and this "we" that Europe still lacks: "None of these options are for us", "We want multilateralism, we want fair trade", "we have to do it the European way", "if we are to go down the European path"... Five years ago, in the same exercise, Jean-Claude Juncker's "we" was very different: "On 25 May (2014), the voters of Europe spoke to us. They sent us powerful, if sometimes contradictory, messages. Today, and in the years to come, we have to respond." The "we" in question here is the "we" of the European institutions, the "we" of the Brussels bubble.
The speech is centred on this closed universe, of which the European citizen is the reference that is constantly invoked, but also the helpless spectator. "Let us not try the public's patience by indulging in institutional debates which prevent us from focusing on what really matters - the people of Europe", had said Jean-Claude Juncker, who nevertheless devoted the whole beginning of his general policy speech to the Spitzenkandidat system, and the relative powers of Parliament, the European Council and the Commission... "The Commission is political. And I want it to be more political. Indeed, it will be highly political.": Jean-Claude Juncker had said it, yet we are still waiting. Will Ursula von der Leyen make it happen?
Something, in any case, is happening in Europe, and mostly outside the Brussels bubble. The rebound in the turnout for the May European elections, from 42.6 to 51%, almost everywhere in Europe, was already a sign that something was happening in this emerging political space. Today, the political upheavals in Italy, where the majority is torn around Cinque Stelle's support for the new President of the Commission, are also a sign of this new reality that is emerging: Brussels is becoming a political place, a place where a European "we" is developing, a place that political passions are beginning to invest. Macron, but also Salvini and Orbán had something to do with it. So did Angela Merkel, who, through Ursula von der Leyen, offers Europe a political programme, while shaping the future of her own party, on the way to an alliance with the Greens. Could it be that we will be passionate about Brussels politics in the next five years? And could it be that, in order to take action, we are finally sending there the best of "us"?
Copyright : LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP