January 19, 2018Posted by on
Finally, the French NO at the 2005 referendum that was a serious drawback for the construction of a real political Europe, if not a lethal strike. It brought together distinct political forces and even conflicting ones, in the shared fear that the identity of Europe (from the French perspective) would be subsumed in a world that is always growing more and more globalised. For those who said NO, whether they came from the right or the left, the constitutional model led to an American globalisation that is simultaneously fascinating and detested, religious and mercantile it is seen as the driving force of this internationalism. One where historical identities seem to be brought into a global culture that is consumerist and technological and in which, former powers of the old continent can no longer play a major role by themselves.
England has found a solution in the special relation with the USA, that is giving it at least the illusion that it contributes to the American power. At the same time, the English imaginary has always been turned toward the ocean rather than continental Europe (as Churchill once said to de Gaulle). As for France, especially after the EU enlargement in the CEE (Communauté Économique Européenne), it finds itself in crisis simply because it has only now understood that although it is the one that created this Europe it has had to give up an old dream of de Gaulle. If hypocritically covered, it is always present as one in which France would play a major part as a means to preserve and to safeguard its former power in a reconstructed and united Europe.
The supporters of the YES have not succeeded in convincing their compatriots that new constitutional treaty will allow France to preserve, in the framework of a 25-member EU or even of 27 or more, the role of a driving force that it had been playing for so many years. After all, the difficulties of the European construction, in France and in other countries of the continent, England’s seemingly incurable Euro-skepticism is a rather widely spread disaffection for this political project, especially within younger generations.
Despite it being one of the most ambitious political projects in history, one that could naturally exalt and inspire people. All this shows that the political Europe cannot exist as long as the intellectuals, the artists, in one word — creators — (those who contribute the most in the making of the collective imaginary), do not succeed in forging a common dream. One that is forceful and inspiring, able to be the basis of an authentic European identity and an authentic European culture, in which all peoples from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arctic Ocean, and from the Atlantic to the Black Sea are able to recognise themselves and to feel at home.
As the example of Victor Hugo shows: Europe should first live in the imaginary before becoming a political reality. Michel Viegnes