As Austria takes over the Presidency of the European Union, there is a certain relief that Europe has now left the difficult year of 2005 behind.
Not that it was universally bad.
Germany got a real government, the possibility of a new start and a new voice in Europe. There was increased recognition of the need to do serious economic reform. And during the year there was a distinct improvement in the climate across the Atlantic.
And in the new member countries, growth continued at a vigorous pace. Estonia - the reform leader - ended the year with growth at an annual rate of app 11%.
But there is certainly reason to reflect on the lessons of the year.
In the linked piece, Martin Walker of the UPI in Washington starts his reflections on the subject with a think-piece produced a couple of months ago by the Friends of Europe, and which had me among the contributors.
United Press International - Intl. Intelligence - Walker's World: The EU's grim year