The EU's continuing credibility currently hinges on the answer to the following question: Will the European Council be able to come up with practical responses to the pressing, but long-overlooked, problem of youth unemployment in Europe at its meeting on 27 June?
If invested with popular legitimacy, Europe's success will depend on balancing it with long-term focused meritocratic governance and avoiding capture by short-term and particular special interests. A middle Way between West and East is indeed necessary.
Most of its member states are stuck in an economic crisis that many Europeans blame on austerity measures enforced by the EU, perceived as a faraway, bureaucratic entity that has spun out of control and is out of touch with the concerns and hardships of ordinary Europeans.
Shining a bright light on the global operations of major multinational corporations, including details of the cash they pay to foreign governments, will not end corruption. But, it is a very good start on a long and vital journey.
If the EU can harness the power and skill of its fishing fleet while enforcing legislation that maximizes their potential to be productive and sustainable, then their fisheries will soon be healthy and capable of supporting a robust economy. It is possible to have both.
For sure, these talks won't be easy, as past spats over airplanes, hormone beef or chlorine chicken illustrated. But they will be a hell of a lot easier than any serious free trade talks with China or other Pacific nations.
The Europeans often leave us Yanks way behind. And now they appear on track again, with solid progress this week towards adopting an innovative proposal to pay for the costs of the global economic crisis.