For me, Europe consists of three things: sovereignty, unity and democracy. If we keep our eyes on these goals and work toward them together then – and only then – can we fulfill our promise: the guarantee of lasting peace, prosperity and freedom. Let’s put an end to this European civil war, the existence of which we don’t want to admit, and stop constantly looking at whether we are better than our neighboring country at this or the other thing. We have to be open to new things, and that includes things that have been taboo until now: France still insists that the treaties cannot be changed. Germany doesn’t want any financial transfers. We have to leave these old ways of thinking behind.
I think the goal should be that of creating a space that protects us and helps us survive in this world. The European community of values is unique: It combines democracy with the market economy, individual freedoms with social justice. How can we expect the U.S. or China to defend these values, this one-of-a-kind European balancing act that has developed over the course of decades?
The challenges are manifold, issues such as migration or terrorism are important to us all. But the switch to renewable sources of energy must also be planned together. And last, but not least, there is digitalization and the societal change that goes along with it. We can only have success on all those fronts if we move forward together…
We can’t start dividing people up into categories. In the past, France has often committed the error of not speaking to everybody because there was a belief that some countries could be neglected. I am convinced that there is a desire for Europe. And by the way, who is to be blamed if that isn’t the case? The Europeans. We have allowed the development of a kind of collective defeatism and are allowing primarily those to speak who hate Europe and want to give up on it.