Guillaume Klose: “Europe must revive its civilizational narrative … and it is within reach”

Guillaume Closa, president and founder of the think-tank Europanova, poses in Paris on June 19, 2012.

Guillaume Closa, president and founder of the think-tank Europanova, poses in Paris on June 19, 2012.

3Jean-Philippe Cassiajek / AFP

European pride

Guillaume Closa, author of articles and notable stories such as “A European Youth” (Grasset), a surveyor of all the diversity of Europe, former director of the European Broadcasting Union that organizes Eurovision and creator of the benchmark European think tank Europanova, will sign on 5 June. In the presence of Beaune, the Minister of European Affairs, in the bookstore Les Cahiers de Colette, 23 rue de Rambuteau, 75004, his new essay in Paris. Jean-Claude Juncker, spokesman for “European Pride, Manifesto for Future Civilization” (Telemac Edition), and comments by Pierre Husky and Roberto Saviano.

Atlantico: You published a particularly provocative article entitled: “European Pride. Manifesto for Future European Civilization” published by Télémaque. Where you have noticed that 2016-2022 is a crucial time, a turning point in the history of the European Union. What are the major crises and significant events of this period?

Guillaume Closa: In five years, the European Union has faced three of the most serious crises in its history: Brexit, the Great Depression and the war on the Union border. Each of these crises can be fatal for him. And every time, he has found a way out of the crisis from above.

Brexit first. We forget how many Brexit bets that the union would collapse like a house of cards because it was supposed to be a technocratic project. They were sure that other referendums would follow, starting with Denmark or Hungary, and the times were divisive among the Europeans. This was a fundamental error. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is well-known for his criticism of Europe, explained on several occasions that his country’s departure from Europe was out of the question. The Danes, perhaps the most reluctant people in European construction, decided in a referendum that they would join the European defense.

Then the epidemic. At the outset of the Cowid crisis, there was a sense of resentment, and as Jack DeLarus underlined in the early days of the crisis, there was a risk of the union exploding due to a lack of solidarity among member states. A kind of miraculous leap occurred and the union was ready to produce ordinary goods not supplied in the contract. During the economic and financial crisis of 2008-2012, everything has been done to save us from the economic and social crisis, the health crisis and the return to mass unemployment. Everything has been done to speed up research on vaccines and their availability for all European citizens. In both cases, the response will be far more effective than in the United States, which is a federation nonetheless.

Finally the war in Ukraine. On this occasion, there is an awareness, especially thanks to President Zelensky who has explained to the European Parliament and the parliaments of the member states that the European Union is much more than a technological project, it is first and foremost a political and civil project for the future. He further explained that the fundamentals of the European political project, such as peace, shared prosperity and democracy, are more relevant than ever.

In 5 years, Europeans have shown a completely unexpected level of unity, solidarity and courage. Perhaps also because they realized that in the new global geopolitical situation, they had fewer and fewer allies and the effect of size was decisive. They further realized that the European model was not old, but quite the opposite. To confirm this, it is enough to look at the record level of attachment of the citizens of the Union to the European concept in Eurobarometers, it is true, a French exception where this level is low.

Did you write that the European Union has shown incredible resilience for twenty years and that from the sovereign debt crisis to Kovid or Brexit, European political construction has withstood all adversity? Did you impose it?

What is certain is that the Union has faced about ten major crises since the beginning of the millennium, and each of these crises could or could lead to collapse or inertia. The USSR went through a major crisis and collapsed like a house of cards. But Europe resists. If we look at opinion analysis, it is because the people, the deep-seated opinion, have always been in favor of the European project. They may have found it to be too economic, not democratic enough, which is true and the rest, but ultimately supported the project. During the last three crises, public opinion was in favor of European unity in the face of the British, health and budgetary solidarity in the event of an epidemic, or even support for Ukraine when the leaders of the member states were often much more reserved or divided. . There is a kind of civic leadership ahead of political leadership in the Union and this is undoubtedly one of the secrets of European resilience.

How can you be sure that the EU will not build a fair but insect-eating, somewhat like the USSR, whose downfall no one expected?

The truth is that the union has not stopped changing for fifteen years. It has become democratic. As he left the UK, he freed himself from his ultra-liberal mantra that suffocated him. It sticks to Maastricht standards, borrowing heavily to benefit the countries most vulnerable to epidemics, such as Italy and Spain. It has set up a nearly বিল 100 billion program that has made it possible to avoid widespread unemployment. It has taken the global lead in climate and energy change with the Green Pact. And now it confirms its political unity which was clearly nothing against Russia. President Macron understood this turning point very well when he presented the priorities of the French presidency of the Council of the European Union, saying that the time had come for the European Union to become a real power capable of democracy, education, environment and industry. Take security into its own hands. Unlike the USSR, the Union is not a passive political object, it is a living political project of continuous transformation. The big challenge is to become a true democracy.

However, Europe has failed, especially the euro zone, a major project of the last 20 years, which has not allowed the consolidation of the economy and has even deepened the gap and strengthened the non-initiative of some member states. Is that era over?

The decision-making process that often requires the consensus of member states means that the decision that best serves European citizens is not always taken. That, of course, is the purpose of a convention proposal to adapt European institutions to the new democratic, economic, social and global geopolitical order governed by the five most important European political families (conservative, social democracy, green, liberal and the European left). ). President Macron also endorsed the proposal in his closing remarks at the Future Europe Summit in Strasbourg on 9 May.

An exciting part of your book is the unveiling of the stories of the great civilizations of the time that shaped the contemporary world. What is the problem with these stories?

Since the end of the Cold War, we have seen the rapid balance of power with the end of Western leadership and with it the narrative of world peace. This development is accompanied by a loss of reference points around the world. To deal with this, the great powers and the United States, China and Russia in the first place considered that in the long run they needed to create their own descriptions to ensure both the internal cohesion of their populations and their external influence. . Today they are embroiled in a story war, rarely for good and often for bad. One thing these narratives have in common is that they all want – with varying degrees of intensity – to marginalize Europe, which finds itself powerless in the absence of developing its own narrative.

The second half of your book credibly offers a narrative of a revived European civilization. What are the main lines?

The reflection that I have carried for almost twenty years while surveying the Union, is to understand the dynamics of the people and countries that make it up, and the whole purpose of the book I invite you to discover. What is certain is that the driving force behind the development of a credible European civilization narrative is first and foremost the citizens of the Union who must be its creators and ambassadors.

To find a passage from the book Guillaume Closer in Atlantico, click here

Guillaume Klossa published “European Pride, Manifesto for a Civilization for the Future” published by Télémaque. Shop link here.

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