The public round table on Europe that we organized on 12 November in Berlin on this question brought a quite comprehensive answer.
The German debate on Europe is very much distorted by the fact that Germany is the biggest winner of the current Europe, which is more or less reduced to a single market. Then wish for stability prevails. But this short view could in fact put in danger the goose who lays the golden egg.
Worse the German debate is totally flawed by the magical strength of two very German artificial concepts, the famous Subsidiarity principle and the naturally odious idea of any Transfer Union. Both render any serious debate on Europe almost impossible in Germany. The subsidiarity principle allows putting Europe completely outside the German reality, and focus on what Germany can naturally continue to do alone. The concept of Transfer Union is the most efficient expression of German paranoia. Don’t pretend, you pitiful sinners, to dare to envisage to touch in any kind the holy money accumulated by the work of the holy nation. And Germany to applaud, and hence to elude the European reality and the European debate. And the politicians can continue to earn the fruits of an easy demagogy, and … to further weaken the future of Germany’s position in Europe.
Let us add to that a big apprehension against any idea of building a true European power (since 1945 Germany banned the word Power in its political vocabulary), or against any serious multi-speed Europe, for almost the same reason. And not to forget (since we did…) that in Germany when you have a vision you better go to see a doctor. Then the landscape is split by redlines instead of offering bright horizons. Finally not to mention the current coalition talks which seem endless where the window of opportunity for Europe may soon be close again.
On the same time Pulse of Europe is the clear German expression of Germany’s sense of belonging to Europe. The reality is that there is a dangerous gap between German sleeping and demagogic political elites and the German citizens who are very often very much open to a more democratic and fairer European approach. German citizens fully understand that equality among citizens and among nations should naturally also apply to Europe, that the sovereignty in Europe as in Germany comes from the people and not from territorial authorities, should they be Member States.
The sad reality shown by political science is that the grassroots movements never succeed in influencing the political realities if they do not translate into real institutional political parties winning elections. Or if they do not focus in directly winning to their cause the political elite. There is no right, no solidarity if not institutionalized.
It would be quite naïve and dangerous to bet on a sudden change of the political elite in Germany, and think that they would recognize their mistakes and deliver in a Jamaican firework the audacious European policy that the French President is expecting from them. Even a reasonable genuine pro-European policy would not be enough to achieve the re-foundation that Europe needs today to address the various challenges it faces.
There is urgency and we have to cultivate this sense of urgency. The rich German economy has to understand that it has a lot to lose in the failure of Europe. The nice surplus could vanish, and the political horizon quickly remind us the darkest hours of a country which loss absolutely everything when the black wolves were authorized to run freely in Europe.
But there is also room here to win the battle of emotion, to render Europe her beauty and appeal. The idea is not to call for a social Europe, which the conservative Germany will not buy, but to refer to basic democratic rights which are obviously not respected by the current Europe, and for which every democrat would agree to fight for.
What the European people need is to finally recognize themselves in a real European Republic. This fight for a true diversity but equality, or for real solidarity, can only emerge by the mobilization of all the democratic forces into a transnational movement, which hopefully would win the 2019 European elections.
The void words and betrayed values of the current Europe should be replaced by a clear project, articulated on a clear democratic agenda. Clear means simple, understandable for everybody, including the less sophisticated and those having been forgotten by today’s hypocrite Europe. One citizen one vote. Same rights and same obligations for all, everywhere in Europe. A European Republic with basic separation of powers, which defends and protect its citizens, with clear democratic control on its institutions. Even if the objective is not to call today for a Constituent Assembly, let us nevertheless apply, demand, these basic republican principles for any new European cooperation.
The miracle will certainly not come from an existing German political party but maybe through the creation of a wider platform, which would be able to channel the positive and audacious energies of the civil society and of the willing politicians, and structure and institutionalize this through a kind of … European coalition talk. And this could be the Grande Marche Europe.
We very much felt this energy, this willingness, this audacity and sincerity in our round table and we shall work very seriously on structuring this project, on building this open but consequent platform, in order to win in 2019.
A big thank to LREM, to Ulrike Guérot and EuDemLab, to Daphne Büllesbach and European Alternatives, to Florian Günther and Stand Up for Europe, to Eva Podgorsek and Pulse of Europe, to Vox, to DiEM25, to Polis180, to all of you for having contributed to this first dialog, and articulate the answer to the question that our round table wanted to address.
This was our very first step in this fascinating journey. It is now obvious that the next step will regard the definition of the first clear anchors that we should offer to German and to European people, for them to simply recognize themselves in the European project.
But couldn’t we summarize all this by the following? The European projects as brilliantly presented by Emmanuel Macron in La Sorbonne may never be executed if we do not define first a true citizens Europe and a true institution to defend our European values, i.e. if we do not seriously and quickly answer to all the extremely important questions raised by Emmanuel Macron in the Pnyx.
Let us work quickly on this.