Home / FB Doc Selection / 12-13 December 2002, Copenhagen Summit: A new chapter of European History – by Franck Biancheri (2002)
12-13 December 2002, Copenhagen Summit: A new chapter of European History – by Franck Biancheri (2002)

12-13 December 2002, Copenhagen Summit: A new chapter of European History – by Franck Biancheri (2002)

This is not the end of History; but the end of a story: the unification process of European continent

Our fathers and grandfathers did succeed in peacefully unifying the continent, we have to prove that it can be democratically governed. If we fail, ‘reunited Europe’ could pretty fast become a democratic nightmare and will not stay reunited for long.

And now, let’s prove that reunited Europe can be democratically governed!

The decisions reached at Copenhagen Summit are definitely closing a very dark chapter of European history, opened with the first World War and its consequences (Raise of the Soviet Regime, Hitler, … and division of Europe on different spheres alien to each other). By closing this chapter, we open of new one which is indeed totally stranger to European experience: for the first time Europeans have the possibility to merge their two oldest dreams, unification for the continent and democracy for its people. This certainly is the very reason to rejoice knowing that unification in itself is not sufficient: Napoleon or Hitler did it once and nobody think that these were times particularly nice to remember. It shows where the challenge lies for the coming decades: marrying unification and democracy.

This is not the end of History; but the end of a story: the unification process of European continent

Of course Romania and Bulgaria have still to join the family back. But dates are set and there are few reasons, provide these countries keep going on with their efforts, that 2007 will not see them becoming member of the EU. Then, somewhere between 2010 and 2020, we will have the difficult integration of the Balkans to take care of. But today we may say that the bulk of European cultures and people are gathered once again under the same political roof. The two very first objectives of the initial European process from the 50s are now achieved: peace is the rule between European nations and division of the continent is over.

People as much as institutions weaved this reunification of Europeans

So the story of Europe’s unification, started after WWII, is now successfully over thanks to visionary efforts of the generations who were between 20 and 50 in 1945 and built the European Community; to the courageous citizens of the former Communist block who were between 20 and 40 in the 80s and brought the Iron Curtain down; and to the dozens of thousands of Western and Eastern Europeans who built numerous networks and partnerships during the 90s in the fields of education, culture, business, politics, environment, … in order to bridge the gap and give birth again to a ‘full fledged European’ as much as to ‘One Europe’.

Democratic support is the only glue which allows unified Europe to stick together

Indeed individuals and civil societies played a major role for allowing this peaceful continental unification to take place within about a decade. For once, peaceful citizens made the links, cross-fertilized national cultures, introduced new ideas and technics, opened up societies: not soldiers and armies as usually in Europe’s history. This very particular nature of current unification process sets the pace for Europe’s future main challenge: building up a true European democracy where at each level, city, region, country or continent, citizens will feel empowered. Democratic support is the only glue which allows this unified Europe to stick together. Therefore democratisation of the EU should be at the core of our future preoccupation.

On the agenda: efficiency of EU political and administrative system, mutual interest based relations with neighbours and pro-active policy on global issues

Democratisation is not an abstract concept. It is embodied into concrete issues and challenges and consists of the empowerment of citizens for defining policies and controlling their implementation: via elections of responsible leaders and/or powerful representatives, with from time to time directly voice their concerns through referenda. Therefore they should be able to understand and discuss their community main issues as soon as they emerge, in order to be truly part of decision making process. And this should not be too difficult for leaders to take care of that as key EU problems in coming years are only three:

  • how to build an efficient European political and administrative system?
  • how to organize an innovative kind of relations with our neighbours (from Russia to Morocco, including Turkey), which will bring prosperity, stability and democracy to all of us?
  • how to organize the role of the European Union at the global level so that it does play an active role in shaping tomorrow’s world, reflecting Europe’s core values?

Our economic or monetary policies, our pensions, our educational system, our environment, … everything in the end will depend on our ability to answer constructively to these questions; and to make our citizens the force at the core of all these answers.

For ‘reunited Europeans’ this is the historic agenda we have in front of us. Our fathers and grandfathers did succeed in peacefully unifying the continent, we have to prove that it can be democratically governed. If we fail, ‘reunited Europe’ could pretty fast become a democratic nightmare and will not stay reunited for long.

Franck Biancheri, 16/12/2002 – A new chapter of European History (© FB Documentation)

More articles:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll To Top