As the political and economic centre of gravity in Europe, the European Union has changed decisively in recent years. It has taken on new member states and opened up the possibility of accession to other countries. In order to remain functional and to further advance political and legal integration, the EU now tries to create a constitution as a new basis for its operations. The EU is developing strategies for common foreign, security and defence policies and searching for ways to succeed in global competition. Discussions on the intellectual and cultural character of Europe as well as institutional power structures within the EU are increasing in intensity.
Where does Europe (or the EU) stand today in its development from a "global payer" into a "global player," and where are the roots of its power and weaknesses? How will the EU proceed now that the referendums in France and the Netherlands have failed to produce a "yes" vote?