The German taboo is financial transfers; the French taboo is treaty change. Ultimately, if we want Europe, both will happen, I want to reassure everyone of that, but we must stop being afraid of the people. In terms of our approach, we must simply stop building our Europe in isolation from them. But we mustn’t fall into the trap of the populists or extremes, which consists in saying: “let’s ask the question in a simplistic way: yes or no?”. We know the answer: it is always “no”, whatever the question. We need to overhaul the European project, through and with the people, with much greater democratic stringency than a mere binary question.
That is why, if we want to move forward again, I’d like us to hold democratic conventions that will be an integral part of Europe’s radical reform. Once we’ve defined the simple terms of a road map shared by the main governments ready to move in that direction. I’d like us to be able — for six months next year, in all the countries that so wish — to organize a huge debate on the same issues and identify the priorities, concerns and ideas that will fuel our road map for tomorrow’s Europe. Restore proper order to things instead of asking at the last minute — gripped by fantasies and incomprehension — whether “yes” or “no” to an opaque text written in secret; we should organize an open, free, transparent European debate in order to build this project that will finally give content and purpose to our European elections in 2019.
And let me be clear: anyone who is afraid of this has grown too used to the idea that intelligent plans are drawn up in a complex, opaque way; that’s not true. Anyone who has fallen into the trap of the Europe haters should go and ask some of the farmers who are suffering today. They may tell you: “I don’t want anything more to do with Europe.” That’s the bread-and-butter of the Front National in France! But when you start getting into a discussion: “OK, so what do you want? What will best protect you?”, they sometimes want another Europe! But they themselves will come round to the idea that Europe would protect them better than an absurd national policy.