« Antidemocratic and xenophobic forces of Europe have always been attracted by the European unity dream, the mystic of the imperial Rome»
(FB - 1998)
" Being a citizen is a voluntary act "
(FB - 2009)
"Thinking about the future only makes sense if it is aimed at improving one’s thinking about the present and about the trends at work"
(FB - 1998)
"The European project is not a dream, but a hope. It is rooted in rationality, which is not the case with dreams. We Europeans have seen our dreams end in nightmares too often not to be suspicious."
(FB - 2005)
"The strength of a network is judged at the information level of the weakest link, or more precisely the link furthest from the centre of the network."
(FB - 2004)
"Europe's destiny is escaping the two "Greats" and it will come knocking on the door of the Europeans."
(FB - 1989)
"The history of Europe is a bit like a multifaceted diamond. Everyone sees the same diamond... but no one sees exactly the same facets."
(FB - E-storia project, 2004)
"Let us dare the future as the founding fathers of Europe did"
(FB - "From EU to Euroland", 2001)
"The European citizenship can not be decreed. The European citizen can only be born..."
(FB - 1992)
"Every state is a minority in the EU. In any case, let’s not forget that if all our states went into building the EU it is because they all felt too small to face alone both their future and the rest of the world."
(FB - 2003)
"From a single (EU) Currency to a single (EU) Citizenship. The euro is only an instrument."
(FB - 1997)
"An empire is always providing platforms where conflicts and wars prolife­rate... an empire needs enemies, whilst a Community requires partners."
(FB - 1992)
"Europe’s history has taught us that dreams and nightmares are the two faces of the same coin"
(FB - “Europe is Peace” 2006)
"Everybody wants to have a successful enlargement whereas it is a successful enlarged EU which is important."
(FB - 2002)
"It is clear that the existing national political parties can not serve two masters: national and European."
(FB - IDE, 1989)
"It takes teamwork to make Europe move forward."
(FB - 2005)
"There is nothing like one European. The European is a team of Europeans... the only way we can imagine a European, it is a team of people from different countries, not a single man or woman."
(FB - Enschede (NL) 2012)
"On the horizon with a heaven of freedom and a land of responsibility, this is perhaps the soul of Europe."
(FB - 1992)
"The future challenge for the European project is not about Europe anymore, it is about the Europeans."
(FB - 2005)
"The more Brussels speaks English, the less Brussels understands the Europeans"
(FB - 2004)
"Occupy the Future of Europe!"
("What do YOU want as a future for AEGEE?" Franck Biancheri at the 2012 Agora in Enschede)
"To combine new technologies and democratic principles to succeed in the entry of European integration in the 21st century or e-democracy at the service of Euro-democracy"
(FB - EUSV, 2001)
"In the years 00 of the 21st century, democratization can only take place in the perspective of the democratic election of a European executive that remains to be invented."
(FB - EUSV, 2001)
"We must build the European Community, otherwise Europe will soon be culturally Americanised, politically Finlandised and technologically Japanised"
EGEE I, 1984

Little political comments from a Euro-Citizen (4): Democracy at stake, from Russia to the European constitution (2004)


In March 2004 Putin was re-elected President of Russia for a second 4-years term. In September 2004 after the Beslan tragedy (1 st-3rd of September, school hostage massacre in Beslan, Russia, that ended with the death of at least 334 people, including 186 children) in the name of the fight against terrorism, Putin announced some radical institutional reforms, among them the appointment by the Kremlin of the regional governors, until than elected by universal suffrage (Libération, 27/09/2004). Franck Biancheri could not refrain, as always, from recording the concordances of the trends of the breaks of democratization. Russia, of course, but the United States and Europe are also concerned by denials of democracy, and therefore very difficult to give lessons to the world. In 2004 for sure (invasion of Irak 2003, terrorist attacks in Middle East, March 2004 Madrid train bombings…), but still today. This is the 4th issue of the Little political comments from a Euro-Citizen. (Editor’s note, 05/06/2019)


Little political comments from a Euro-Citizen (4)

Franck Biancheri, September 2004


Indeed once Putin and his FSB (Federal Security Service) friends have appointed all the governors and have full control of the candidacy of politicians for the Douma, there will be no terrorism in Russia anymore. Or, at least, there will be no democracy (or very little) left in Russia which means that there will be nobody free to talk about terrorism or to complain about it, which, in Putin’s mind is almost the same.


Meanwhile rather than complaining, Washington should pay attention to this idea. While the invasion of Iraq has now become ‘Operation Chaos in Iraq’ and since a new breed of terrorists (younger, less easy to identify and much more numerous) are ready to storm the world (including the USA) with more bloody attacks, if re-elected, G.W. Bush must discover a way to prevent bad news from finally reaching the average US citizen (most certainly after November). Controlling media networks may prove to be insufficient, so let’s not reject Putin’s interesting idea, i.e. directly appointing gubernatorial candidates, and preventing independent citizens from running for Congress. Who knows, if Bush does not follow Putin’s lead, one day his ilk may have to face good political opponents in an election?


In the European Union we do not face this kind of a troubling democratic future. How did we manage to achieve our current serene political state? Very simply, at the EU level, citizens have no right, nor means to influence. A bunch of nationally elected politicians and Eurocrats make the decisions for the 450 millions Europeans living in the EU: none of them were ever required to explain what their position on European matters before getting into office. So you see, in the EU, democracy is not a problem at all. It simply doesn’t exist at the European level. Of course nothing is perfect.


Take for example the fact that about half of the EU Member-States will ask their citizens if they agree or not with the project of the EU Constitution. Of course the other half is very upset by those irresponsible leaders that have decided to include average people in the debate … yes, you read correctly: people …. having a say on EU affairs.


One must admit that those upset leaders are pretty consistent: they always thought that Europe was too important to be left in the people’s hand; they keep on passing measures and decisions which upset a growing majority of Europeans (like in the coming months when the Commission and the Council will deliver a “greenlight” for Turkey’s accession …. and meanwhile contribute to the triumph of the ‘No’ camp in the Constitutional referenda in countries such as France). Furthermore, they know that they would not stand a chance to be elected if they had to show people that they indeed have a vision for Europe’s future. It seems therefore that the leaders who decided to approve a referendum are either very optimistic about their own ability to convince their fellow citizens, or totally unaware that they may indeed loose the referendum.


Another option though which may become more and more credible in coming months, is that some of these leaders find democracy useful when the people do the job that they themselves cannot do, such as rejecting a project like the EU constitution.


But nobody would be so Machiavellian in Europe these days, would they?


Franck Biancheri
Paris (France) – September 2004