The year 2007 was dominated by two major factors in the international arena: a heightened awareness of climate change and its social repercussions and the global financial crisis triggered by the US subprime mortgage affair. Meanwhile, the EU has a new treaty which should help it boost its ability to act. External challenges are mounting up (sustainable development, financial governance, how to reduce development inequalities) along with internal ones (the purchasing power of European households, quality of work, labour law, asylum and immigration). The relevance of the liberalisation policies pursued by the Union for almost twenty years is also under scrutiny, especially in the energy and postal sectors. The next step for the European Union is to demonstrate its determination to rise to these numerous challenges.