MADRID - Europe needs a vision of what the world will be like in 25 years' time, according to Estonian head of state Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
Speaking on an official visit to Spain, the president declared: "Today the European Union, with its half billion inhabitants, is still able to compete in quality of life with the United States, China and India. However, we must understand that those regions are growing very rapidly and we will lag behind if we do not open our markets to competition."
According to Ilves, the openess of the EU has until now been the key to success in global competition, but this alone will not suffice.
"Current thinking in the European Union has not given reason for optimism - the member states are too protectionist and this not only in respect to extra-community nations, but also regarding other member states," Ilves warned. "We must liberalize and confidently open up to competition," he added.
In the president's view, lack of competition influences security as well. In a thinly-veiled aside directed at Russia he observed: "One of the largest energy sources - the country that calls itself an energy superpower - uses energy as a political tool."
The European Union needs a common energy policy, if it does not want to be subjected to divide and rule policies in the future, he president concluded.