This Europe of literature, cafés, public discussion, our peoples’ warmth and civility that exists nowhere else in the world, is one whose true cement is culture, our culture.
We will never fight enough for Europeans to recognize of their own accord this shared foundation that for centuries has been expressed in myriad ways, the Europe of the literary sets, reviews, travellers, libraries and ideas, the Europe of luminous capitals and fascinating fringes, this Europe that has existed through so many and so many paths that at times did not even mention its name, that did not wait for our institutions, our treaties, our reorganizations, and our controversies. The Europe of Madame de Staël and Benjamin Constant spoke nearly every language, it was there, this Europe that has united us for so many centuries, it is the Europe of culture. And for this spirit of recognition and mutual understanding to live, and for us to finally restore European confidence, we should clearly begin with culture as our basis.
Student exchanges are key, our young people should travel to even a greater extent, academic exchanges, learning one another’s language, far beyond my fervent attempts earlier, this is what should make our Europe vibrant, not obscure rules and decisions. That means being even more ambitious in this Europe of culture, university and academic exchanges.
In the proposals we will make, in this ten-year roadmap, I would like to see us embrace this bold and far-reaching ambition so that this Europe of culture, knowledge and language sharing can be completely overhauled.
We also need a Europe of heritage. I spoke of the Acropolis whose restoration and new museum were extremely costly. All that makes up our common history—Greek art, Roman art, medieval, baroque and classical art—all of these buildings, all of these works are the very substance of our collective memory and our being.