De Gaulle and Europe

In a book titled « Charles de Gaulle, Traits d’esprit », I could find one of his famous statements on Europe: « Dante, Goethe, Chateaubriand appartiennent à toute l’Europe dans la mesure même où ils étaient respectivement et éminemment italien, allemand et français. Ils n’auraient pas beaucoup servi l’Europe s’ils avaient été des apatrides et s’ils avaient pensé, écrit en quelque esperanto ou volapük intégré ». In order the non-French speaking people can understand, De Gaulle just means that Europe is made of people belonging to nations, and without this essential diversity, Europe would never have had people like Dante, Goethe or Chateaubriand.

As regards Defence, we are exactly in the same situation, and it will still last a long time before it changes. The essence of European peoples is still the nations, and at the moment the soldiers are requested to fight and die, legitimacy of such an order can come only from those who are elected, I mean their governments, which is not the case of the European commission. May be, legitimacy could come from the European Parliament. However, the lack of interest of Europeans for the election of the member of the European Parliament (at least in France) does not give to them a sufficient legitimacy for the time being. The low profile adopted by our governments during the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty regarding the possible implications of the articles on European Defence is the illustration that they do not feel at ease with this topic.

Indeed, European peoples’ diversity is so high that you cannot merge in one single pot those cultures, at least for the next decades. Our peoples still live in their native areas, with their genuine culture built up along the centuries, although, I must confess, we have more or less a common heritage, based on Christian religion, roman culture. And even this last point is not totally true. For instance, Finland never knew the Roman rule. As since centuries armies have been conceived to defend and protect the nation, one can easily understand that it will not change from one day to the other.

A real and strong European Defence is not for tomorrow. And that is good: our governments are not ready, because the peoples are not. However, I do believe that, progressively, slowly, the idea will grow. Along the different posts, I will try to understand and express how the process could look like.

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