The much-anticipated Prague Summit between the European Union and our eastern partners was a flop. The eastern partnership declaration published last Thursday is not worth the paper it was printed on.

The EU has once again taken a bold proposal – initially designed by Sweden and Poland – and turned it into seven pages of ramble. It was a sad day for all. The EU is clearly without good ideas and without the bold leadership necessary to do what is needed in the east. The countries invited to the summit – Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – are all European. Yes, they are also Caucasian, Caspian, and Black Sea nations, but Europeans nonetheless. So why was a membership concept for these countries missing from the document?

Strategic thinking was never a European forte. American think-tankers poke fun at their European counterparts for superbly managing day-to-day affairs but never quite getting the big picture. In Prague we definitely missed the big picture.

The EU is a project in the making, which is why we have an enlargement policy, which has been the single best tool for reuniting the Continent. It has turned Europe into the biggest market in the world, and it has injected dynamism into the European economy. Now, it seems, someone wants to reverse this progress and halt enlargement.

The story of Europe, the dreams of Churchill and Roosevelt and Truman, later embraced and championed by Helmut Kohl, was a united, free and prosperous Europe. When the Berlin Wall fell, tyranny cracked. Millions of oppressed were free to speak, to act and to create. The splash of creativity that was reborn in the East is still surging and radiating energy across all of Europe. This is what the European dream is all about – hope. Enlargement is the policy that gives our European brothers and sisters stuck on the margins of Europe the hope to be brave, to continue with reforms and political transformation despite the risks.

Enlargement is not about the political elites, but about the European citizens. It was always about improving the lives of the citizens across Europe. It is easy to dismiss our eastern neighbors on account of their leaders. Eurocrats with big egos dismiss the prospect that Ukraine, Georgia or Azerbaijan may one day become full members of our EU family. They criticize their leaders and their systems: there’s too much corruption, too little political pluralism, and they are too slow at embracing economic change.

This all may be true today, but enlargement is about tomorrow. Having a strategy is having a vision, and the EU has no strategy for the East, which suggests there is no vision of what Europe ought to look like in 2030. In the powerful film, “The Lives of Others,” one is wrenched watching the destruction of the human soul by the Stasi regime in East Germany. Tyranny preys on hope. When hope was gone from the lives of individuals, the state won. The iron fist of the murderous regime became a haven for empty souls.

Europe owes a new draft document to its eastern partners spelling out an integrated approach aimed at creating the Europe of the 21st century: whole, united and free.

We began this project in the 1940s, shortly after the end of World War II. A major breakthrough was achieved in the 1990s with the fall of the Iron Curtain, which then led to the big bang enlargement – the first of its kind – in 2003, when 10 central and east European states joined the EU. Our next job is to finish this story, which means welcoming into Europe Turkey and the Balkan and eastern countries.

Mr. Grgic is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and founder of the Institute for Strategic Studies.  This article previously appeared in the Wall Street Journal