Public stakeholders event in Paris
On April 8th, EuropaNova hosted a public debate in Paris with Catherine Lalumière (president of Maison de l’Europe in Paris), Chloé Fabre (vice president of Jeunes Européens France), Anne Marie Le Gloannec (senior research fellow at Sciences Po), Christophe Caresche (member of the National Assembly of France), Jean-Michel Demetz (deputy chief editor at l'Express) and François Lafond (director of EuropaNova).
A lot of the discussion focused on the project of the EU in historical perspective. EU was founded as a society, diametrically opposite to those of the totalitarian regimes and today, according to Catherine Lalumière, Europe is once again at a turning point and it needs to find new direction in a more political and more clear-headed manner.
Participants agreed that one of the main obstacles for the integration is the distance between the EU and its citizens, as well as political elites. Public debate on the EU politics is nonexistent, although there were some signs of it in 2005, when Constitutional Treaty was discussed. It was also emphasized that Europe is lacking a political leadership, and “as long as this leadership doesn’t assert itself, the citizens will not follow”. Elected officials therefore could be a solution to this problem.
The need for a new pact was doubted because, as Jean-Michel Demetz stressed, European countries should first start respecting the existing one - at the moment there is too much distrust among member countries. Yet one dimension where Europe could cooperate more is security, as this is what many Europeans feel that they need now. In this respect, Energy Union could be a part of solution.