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.
Protecting and perpetuating them must be a concern of all Europeans. When civilization is attacked, its culture and its heritage is attacked. Look at what has happened throughout the Near and Middle East and in Africa! Therefore we must defend this heritage, support it, reinvent it, reclaim it as our own, because it is our identity and our future!
The few European Union contributions do not suffice to assist either Greece or Italy in meeting the huge challenges in this regard or so many other countries, and France is not the exception to the rule, where what reflects our past suffers from indifference and even neglect.
I would therefore like us to be able to hold cultural heritage conferences at European level as soon as possible to adopt a coordinated approach to these areas, in order to restore genuine ambition for heritage and culture. Let us start over through culture and so that Europe can protect heritage and reinvent its future. I would suggest that these conferences be held in Athens where everything began and we will see that through culture, we can rediscover what unites us. Through culture and heritage, we will rediscover this power of exchange and of the sites that we do not understand, which means that moving past division, at every crucial time for our Europe, we have decided to move forward together, to build something that is stronger than ourselves.
I would also like to review the conditions for the circulation of academic and artistic work in Europe. For literature, philosophy, poetry, history, geography, film, live performances and sciences are our common ground. We therefore need to create European programmes for priority works, whether they be part of the cultural heritage of every country or a contemporary creation. Knowledge we have of each other comes from all of this, from these chance meetings. Today, each publisher, writer, translator and designer is doing what they can to become known, and to translate what should be translated, however, more needs to be done. We need to organize this essential area of our culture, to reform a Europe of translators, of communicators, of this cultural ambition that unites us. Languages, inventions, our common imagination are what has forged Europe, overcoming our differences. We, Europeans, are the inhabitants of this improbable Babel that the diversity of language and traditions continue to enrich and enthusiastically animate.
So, yes, let us once again acquire this ambition for culture, through which our confidence will be revitalized. Sovereignty, democracy and culture are the three areas of opportunity that I would like to offer to the young people of Europe in the hope that they will seize them and consider them their own. Their future lies in these areas, their responsibility, our responsibility, the responsibility of our generation of which I spoke earlier, is to ensure that young people discover the meaning of a strong and legitimate Europe. So yes, some people may consider this undertaking to be destined for failure. I am sure some people will ask if we will talk about technical aspects, details or texts and ask whether we should change a treaty or not. Or if we should amend a treaty and if so, what articles? We will address these questions but since we are lost in these tangled discussions, which have become confusing, we have veered off course and lost sight of our strong determination and ambition. But should this make us fear this extreme ambition? Should we fear what previous generations did not?