« 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

The President, Europe and Youth. Meeting with Jacques Chirac: from Newropeans 2000 to the French referendum on the European Constitution (2005)

I could witness how Jacques Chirac was a particularly effective communicator in this type of exercise. On the evening of 7 April, however, to convince, he will also need to have a clear vision of the EU he wants to see emerge after the adoption of the Constitution. (Franck Biancheri, 01/04/2005)

French President Jacques Chirac with Franck Biancheri at the final conference of the Newropeans 2000 Congress on 7 October 2000 in the Grand Amphithéatre de la Sorbonne (Paris)


October 7th, 2000, Jacques Chirac and Franck Biancheri sat side by side with the 2000 European students gathered in the great amphitheatre of the Sorbonne in Paris, on the occasion of the Congress organised by Prometheus-Europe “Newropeans 2000: New Europe, New Challenges, New Generations”. The French President had come to close the three days of the congress with Franck Biancheri and had enjoyed and successfully participated in a question and answer session that lasted almost an hour.

2005, as part of the referendum campaign on the European Constitution, Jacques Chirac agreed to participate in a televised debate on the Constitution with young people. For Franck Biancheri, Jacques Chirac’s personality as an “effective communicator” was no longer enough to convince young generations “who had become very critical of the community project…”.

We are republishing here an open letter that he signed on the eve of this debate for the attention of the French President.


The President, Europe and Youth


As the organiser of the Newropeans 2000 congress “New Europe, New Challenges, New Generations” which, in October 2000, welcomed the President of the French Republic to the Grand Amphitheatre de la Sorbonne, I had the privilege of directly observing Jacques Chirac in action, in front of a young audience (2,000 students from all over Europe), on the European theme.


Having also had the opportunity to participate twice in debates at the Elysée between President François Mitterrand and young Europeans from Aegean-Europe, first at a lunch that allowed the funding of the Erasmus programme to be released in March 1987, then at the end of a congress of European and African students in May 1988, I was able to form some opinions on the effectiveness of a “French-Youth President” dialogue on European issues.


So, on the eve of this meeting, which is presented as very important since it constitutes the entry of the President of the French Republic into the French referendum debate on the European Constitution, I would like to share these analyses with the readers of Newropeans-Magazine.


The live television broadcast of such a meeting naturally modifies several parameters in relation to this type of debate in the context of a congress or a smaller committee; however, certain elements seem to me intangible.


Students only or a larger group, including young people outside the university curriculum? If they are students, Europe as a project for a positive future will pass more easily than if it is young people who have had to stop studying earlier, but care must be taken not to cite Erasmus once again as an example of the EU’s action for young people and the future. Why? because for these young people, Erasmus is starting to look “old” because it dates back 18 years, when these young people were just born!


In this respect, to convince, the President should be able to launch a new approach for the future, dealing both with a more integrated training of European elites (the “airbus university” for example, proposed by Boris Walbaum and the Belles Feuilles group), and with the democratization of exchanges, which are shorter but more numerous, for most students.


Because, and let us make no mistake about it, if they are not young “caricatured” people (for example, recruited from the “Yes-Yes” youth movements, who must now represent less than 1% of a generation), they will have opinions on what directly concerns them (studies, employment, etc.) and disturbing questions on all subjects. I remember Jacques Chirac asking me “Where did you find these young people because they are excellent? “after a two-hour question and answer session at the Sorbonne. My answer had been simple: “where they are, in nearly 200 universities in more than 25 European countries“.


If the selection is also representative of French (and perhaps European) youth, he knows that the quality of the debate will be there. Otherwise, it will be a futile, even negative exercise for the Constitution.


Especially since today, unlike five years ago, the younger generations have become very critical of the current Community project. This is reflected in the surveys and I see it every day in the debates I have in the field in France and elsewhere. They seem to expect a vision of the future that has not been provided by anyone in the political class so far and tend, given their age, to be very demanding in this area, because in the end, the future is where they will spend most of their lives…


Succeeding in this “grand oral” discussion on Europe and the Constitution, in front of these young people, can thus be the ideal opportunity to revitalise the credibility of the Yes, by drawing the main lines of the EU that can be built tomorrow. For this reason, we must not hesitate to be critical of the present, and of the limits of the Constitution, for want of not really being in tune with these same young people… and risk reinforcing the idea of a gap between the expectation of Europe and its realization…


I could witness how Jacques Chirac was a particularly effective communicator in this type of exercise. On the evening of 7 April, to convince, however, it will also be necessary to have a clear vision of the EU that he wants to see emerge after the adoption of the Constitution.


Franck Biancheri,

01/04/2005  -> Original French: Le Président, l’Europe et les Jeunes