Six major European dailies, well-known to the readers of Presseurop -- Le Monde, El País, Gazeta Wyborcza, Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Guardian and La Stampa — are launching a joint project called Europa and scheduled for publication on Thursday. In this "State of the Union," as Italy's La Stampa headline dubbed it, the idea is "to reflect on the actual state of the EU, which, like never before, is at the centre of a thousand questions on its present and, most of all, its future".

Answering these questions in their articles and their analysis is the goal of the six papers' journalists and of contributing intellectuals and politicians. The six titles together represent over 10 million readers, points out Spain's El País.

Among the first to be published is British sociologist Anthony Giddens, Greek writer Petros Makaris, who paints a "bitter-sweet portrait of Brussels", and Italian author and semiologist Umberto Eco. The latter argues that "culture, beyond war, constitutes our identity". A culture he calls "shallow" and which "needs to be better rooted, before it is destroyed totally by the crisis".

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As for the politicians, there are contributions from former prime ministers, Gordon Brown of Britain and Spain's Felipe González. But the key interview is accorded by "the leader that most represents the real power in Europe," Angela Merkel. The German Chancellor provides her vision of the future of Europe. "Over a long process," she says -

... we will transfer more powers to the [European] Commission, which will then handle what falls within the European remit like a government of Europe. That will require a strong parliament. A kind of second chamber, if you like, will be the council comprising the heads of [national] government. And finally, the supreme court will be the European court of justice. That could be what Europe's political union looks like in the future – some time in the future, as I say, and after a goodly number of interim stages.

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