His book, EUROPE: COMMUNUTY OR EMPIRE? Elements of reflection and principles of action for future European citizens (1992, Editions Anticipolis), deals in particular with the risks inherent of the Maastricht Treaty, which entered into force 25 years ago, on 1st November 1993. Risks which are actually in place. For more than a decade, we are witnessing a new implosion of this project of Union inaugurated by the Treaty on the European Union.
Yesterday already the Maastricht Treaty embodied the break between power and citizens. Still nowadays (25 years later and in another century) his criteria are still law, and raise new generations of citizens against this Europe the treaty embodies, a system that seeks to “normalize” instead of “develop “, a Europe that governs like an Empire.
“The Empire represents the classic drift of any political entity on the path to power. Should it have been the dictatorship of one man or a group over the others, this drift has always taken the form of bureaucracy and centralisation, ultimately leading to collapse…” wrote Franck Biancheri.
Rereading Franck Biancheri’s anticipations allows us to understand the reasons for failure and to build the next Europe on a better understood lesson.
To illustrate this anniversary, we offer you an unpublished excerpt from Franck Biancheri’s book “EUROPE:COMMUNUTY OR EMPIRE? Elements of reflection and principles of action for future European citizens“
THE COMMUNITY AT A CROSSROADS
1992 – The uncertainties which are staking the ratification process of the Maastricht Treaty in the various Member States of the European Community have highlighted a clear divorce between public opinion and the Community leaders. They also showed two essential elements: the first is that the population could take a strong interest in community building! The second point, concomitant with the first, is that their thirst for information and understanding has been largely unsatisfied for decades, especially during the process of preparation and ratification of the treaty. The construction of the community, whatever the future of the Maastricht Treaty, will tend to integrate more and more strongly. Contrary to the demagogic arguments put forward by many of the “yes” promoters in Maastricht, a failure would not mean the end of the European construction; it would involve a painful revision of a number of habits and methods acquired over the past thirty-five years. In a sense, the weak French “yes” cumulated to the Danish “no” has finally brought us to a quite close result, leaving more options open to the future. The next ten years will therefore be crucial, since they will be the ones marking our choice among the different ways European construction should look like in the future.
Two great symbolic figures will embody the two alternatives for Europe: that of the Community or that of the Empire. The Community represents a continuation of the innovative experiment initiated by the Western Europeans after the Second World War, an attempt to overcome the oppositions among Nation-states through peaceful means. The Empire represents the classic drift of any political entity on the path to power. Should it have been the dictatorship of one man or a group over the others, this drift has always taken the form of bureaucracy and centralisation, ultimately leading to collapse.
Going beyond the institutions, methods of public action, and speeches of responsible and asserted principles, it is the citizen, and more particularly the European citizen, who will make the difference between these two opposing paths. It is namely the emergence of European citizenship, the ability of European citizens to understand the issues and make choices, and their ability to act collectively on a European scale, which will shape community construction in the coming decades. Yes, but please also note that the European citizenship can not be decreed.
The European citizen can only be born out of the conjunction of three factors:
- the will of the national citizens responsible for becoming responsible European citizens (themselves and their own children);
- the will of institutions and leaders to stimulate the development of a civil society*;
- their ability to organise themselves so that their wishes become reality; that is to say, to master the development and implementation of new community policies and tools.
[…] From the book EUROPE:COMMUNUTY OR EMPIRE? Elements of reflection and principles of action for future European citizens – Franck Biancheri, 1992.