Answer to Stefan Kornelius

Stefan Kornelius announces in the Süddeutche Zeitung the death of Macron’s European reforms before they could be even discussed seriously. Well…

Stefan Kornelius felt the presence of Bruno Lemaire in Berlin at the time of the Jamaika negotiation as ‘‘provocative‘‘. He thinks that Macron should have understood already at the European Council of October that his European agenda is not welcome. Therefore he should not have sent Lemaire in Berlin. Macron‘s big mistake, as per Kornelius, is also to think that his European agenda only depends from Germany‘s willingness. But forgetting the other countries creates big frustrations, which will be very much counterproductive for Macron‘s plan. In addition to that the European Agenda that Macron wants to define until June 2019 depends not from him but much more from the President of the Council and from the 27 Members States. Then it is dead.

Kornelius says Macron has made three beginner’s mistakes:

  • he speaks about European re-foundation, where a re-foundation can only be achieved by a change of the treaties , which is impossible today,
  • Macron’s ideas for the reforms of the Eurozone are ‘‘highly problematic and cost a lot of money‘‘,
  • he wants to create a European movement to wake up the member states, which is very dangerous because it means he will interfere with the local politics of the Member States.

By chance I could listen to Bruno Lemaire when he came to Berlin. I don‘t know if Mr Kornelius did, but I found the approach of Mr Lemaire very pertinent. Europe is dying of the solo runs of its members, as shown in the recent past, for instance by both France (professionalisation of the Army, attack in Libya without consulting its European partners) and Germany (sudden decision to abandon the nuclear energy, or to welcome the mass of refugees from Syria). It is way time to create and even demand a true discussion before certain strategic issues become irreversible.

Let us admit that even now that the talks failed it is very much useful for the future that Bruno Lemaire could meet Christian Lindner.

On the German focus of Mr Macron, Mr Kornelius should have better followed the way Mr Macron got the amendment of the Directive on posted workers that he wanted. This was not achieved by a French-German initiative but by a true roadshow done everywhere in Europe. Then no lesson to be given here.

As far as the three ‘‘beginner’s mistakes’‘ are concerned:

  • Yes Mr Kornelius we need a re-foundation of the European project. Our current Europe is dying. The 2005 Nos to the European constitution, the Brexit, the euroscepticism shows that the current Europe has no legitimacy anymore. Europe is seen as non-efficient, not transparent, not addressing the true problems of the people, not being democratic. If we do not react the European project will be dead before 10 years… if it is not already dead today. Germany may have another perception of Europe, because it is the biggest beneficiary of a Europe which is reduced to a Single Market. But Germany should understand the huge frustrations of the other countries, frustrations which could in fact very much affect the German strategical interests.
  • We can do a lot within the current treaties, starting with the Enhanced Cooperations. Didn‘t Mr Kornelius notice the creation of the PESCO on Defence? Yes it is a multi-speed Europe, even if, no, it is not the fragmentation of Europe. Everybody can join any Enhanced Cooperation there is no exclusion. And yes if we need one day a change of treaty, let us face it, instead of being paralysed by fear.
  • I personally think that the presentation by Emmanuel Macron of the reforms that he wishes for the Eurozone was not good. Neither in the content nor in the form. As said in another post Bruno Lemaire very much corrected this first weakness in his trip to Berlin. Read analysis of this, starting by mine.
  • It is not now that we see the very first steps of a true European transnational political debate, and after having called for its creation during so many years, that we should be afraid and ask for its immediate closure. And in fact let us also recognise it, there is no German exception here. The current political crisis in Germany is very European, the erosion of its traditional parties shows that Germany does not escape the European political revolution. The traditional parties are seen as less efficient because they do not have clear answers to the big challenges that we all face in Europe (terrorism, increased social inequalities, new economical and technological paradigms, …). And the new true political confrontation lines define progressively 2 new real camps, between those willing to dare to enter with a positive dynamic in the new world, and those being afraid and desperately trying to keep an old dying and idealised world alive.

Yes in EnMarche we are convinced that the only way to succeed is to create a true European Sovereignty, and as the Karlsruhe Court rightly said the only sovereignty lies in democracy. Our purpose is then to create a true European democracy. In the XIXth century German stargazers suggested to very conservative German Princes and to a very much-fragmented German political scene to put Deutschland über alles in order to finally reach Einheit, Recht und Freiheit. Yes we are today the European stargazers and kindly invite you to join us in order to put Europa über alles, for us to exist tomorrow, not to only suffer the might of others, but try to define our own future.

And these ideas are there to stay, beyond En Marche, beyond Macron, beyond June 2019. And this is not the condescending tone of a newspaper article which shall stop them. We still are the true sons of Monnet, we are not optimist, we are determined.

But also let us be more positive on Mr Kornelius disappointing article and envisage that his severity is much linked to a cultural gap between French too loud visionaries and German too short-term pragmatists. And it is true that we shall succeed only if we can bridge this gap, from both sides.


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  1. Cher Monsieur,
    Bravo, c´est absolument une excellente réponse à Kornelius! Je lui avais aussi envoyé une Email et aussi pris position sur notre site « EM » Elbe-Hamburg.
    Alain J. Bourdichon