« 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

“Occupy the future of Europe” – The last message Franck Biancheri left for the students of AEGEE-Europe at the Agora in Enschede (NL), May 2012

Keynote speech of Franck Biancheri at the Agora AEGEE Enschede on May 2nd, 2012
At the request of AEGEE-EUROPE, Franck Biancheri presented his vision of Europe’s evolution in the coming decade, and outline what could be a successful European students action regarding EU’s future and the democratization of Euroland. At a time when both the European project and European youth are facing daunting challenges, the students of AEGEE-EUROPE are searching for inspiration and advice o. It was one of his last great speeches addressed to young people for the construction of a Europe of the future in which they recognize themselves. He passed away a few months later, in October 2012.

Combining his experience of the first European renaissance of 1985-1992, when he became one of the fathers of Erasmus, and his current position as director of the leading European think-tank on the global crisis LEAP/E2020 (Laboratoire Européen d’Anticipation Politique), Franck Biancheri’s speech in Enschede provides one of the very rare visionary perspectives on Europe’s future, already present in his book “World Crisis : The path to the world afterwards : Europe and the world in the 2010-2020 decade”.

AEGEE’s introduction to his intervention:


The Spring Agora 2012 will be a different Agora! Hopefully, it will be the start of a new AEGEE and a benchmark regarding the role of European youth in future European developments.


This Agora, we need to look forward. In order to do that wisely, we need to look back as well – we need to look at our basic values. Do we still want to talk endlessly about new logo’s and working group formats? Isn’t it time to begin talking about OUR role in OUR Europe of the future?


We are very honoured to announce that Franck Biancheri, the founder of AEGEE-Europe, will adress the Agora,for the first time since 1988, during the thematic introduction of the event on the 2nd of May 2012. He won’t be there to talk about the past of AEGEE and all the wonderful years that are lying behind us.


He will talk about the future. He will provide the Agora with a vision on the future of Europe and the world and especially with a vision on the role that a European students network like AEGEE could play in this future. He will also adress all the members of AEGEE and ask them for their opinion.


What do YOU want as a future for Europe, as a future for AEGEE?

Franck Biancheri’s speech
This is probably the time for AEGEE members and students in Europe to go back to basics and try to understand why they need to work together and how they can “occupy the future of Europe”.
Before defining what AEGEE can do, we need to know the environment of AEGEE, this will be the first part of my contribution.
The second part will focus on the opportunities and possibilities for youth movements in Europe in the years to come.
The third part will be about AEGEE: its future, its organization and its capacity to use these possibilities in the coming years. Here I am going to tell you things that many of you will not like.
And the last part will be with you: time to discuss, ask questions, give opinions.
2012 is the year when the European project, centered on Euroland, will move from a period of crisis to a renaissance, a regeneration;
2013-2015 will be the period of re-evaluation and reorientation of the EU’s foreign relations: less NATO, less transatlantic relations, and instead a very rapid movement towards the BRICS. This trend is already there, underlying, but it appears on the geopolitical agenda and this is where your role will become crucial;
The period 2014-2016 will see the great democratic rendezvous between Euroland/EU and its citizens. Everywhere in Euroland, people will not accept indefinitely to be spectators of policies that affect today their jobs, their pensions, their health systems, etc … 2014-2016 democracy and Europe will have to find the time to work together… which is one of the points on which students, citizens and Europe will have an important role to play.
A political entity is taking shape, Euroland
This Euroland will not be based on the Brussels model. It will be made up of networks. It will function by transferring competences to the European level, and will not necessarily be supported by large machines. It is a new type of work and operating mode that you will see being put in place over the next ten years.
A process that is gaining momentum
Because the United Kingdom has put itself completely offside. For two decades, the UK has tried to slow down and prevent these developments from happening, citizens will continue to use the EU institutions, when they can. And new institutions will emerge over the next decade.
I am talking about Euroland in three/four years, when most of the EU countries will be in the Euro. Because Euroland will actually be 25/26 countries. This is the core group that will shape the future of this decade in Europe.
Europe can make the difference because Europe is the majority.
Wherever we put ourselves, there is a majority: either on the side of the United States, or on the side of the BRICS, Euroland-BRICS creates the majority.
There is no such thing as a “European“.
A European is a team of Europeans.
This applies to the leadership of Europe, as well as to AEGEE.
The European is a team of people from different countries, not a single man/woman.
We need to get the European leadership out of one city.
France is dying from the hyper-centralization of the French system. And Brussels is modeled on this French system of the fifties. We have to get rid of this centralized system to manage the European Union.
Students and youth movements have two pillars in Europe
– European education,
You are legitimate, any minister, commissioner, European parliamentarian will find you quite legitimate, if you come with ideas on this subject.
– democratization,
You are young citizens, you are legitimate to talk about the means to give to the citizens the control of the orientations of Europe. On these two subjects, the politicians will not be able to prevent themselves from supporting you, to give you their patronage, subsidies, visibility.
You need a lever.
As Archimedes needed it. Now something has appeared in the last 2 years: a lever with a huge potential, called Euroland.
You have something that has been missing for many years, a space with a great convergence of interests and concerns in economics, social issues, education, politics.
Outside of that, there is no leverage, no interest from politicians, media, no money to put into projects…
So don’t try to move the world from the sand, try to use a stone and place your lever on it. That stone is Euroland.
Forget about enlargement!
Some people will not like it, but forget about enlargement and the EU priorities of the 90s/2000s, because they are dead.
It is a two-sided situation: the dream of enlargement of the 90s is completely over… which requires building new kinds of relations.
This does not mean “no relations”; it means “other” relations between those countries, which were at one time interested in enlargement.
Occupy the future
All over the world, they say “Occupy Brussels, Paris, this, that …” These are places, these are the present and the past… When you are a student movement, the only thing you have to occupy, because you can do it, because you have to do it, is the future! This should be your goal.
How to improve the ability to feel and explore the future, to take risks, to do things that you don’t do anymore when you’re 40 or 50. This should be what you will have to dare to do every day, at every meeting. Which clearly means: have clear objectives, few but very clear, or else you won’t do anything at all, you’ll get lost. Second point: take risks, do things that others tell you are impossible. If every time I was told ‘What you are doing, Franck, is impossible’, I would have stopped, AEGEE would not have existed. Because it was Euro-sclerosis at that time. I was told: “Nobody is interested in Europe, it will never work! Yet here you are, 27 years later. Something has worked.
Never give up your objectives for those of the institutions. Instead of having an office in Brussels, have a congress near the European Parliament, the Council, the Commission, and the next morning you will be in a better position to negotiate a partnership, a sponsorship, etc… The institutions are like cows. You can talk to them for hours and they won’t budge, or you can poke them in the butt and the cow will move. If you’re a network of manufacturers, you’ll attract them, not if you’re a network of users. There will always be a majority of consumers in AEGEE, but you have to strengthen the builder part, increase it from 10 to 20%, because that’s the driving force of the organization.
And finally, it’s going to be a shock, if you take note of the end of the vision of enlargement of Europe in the 90s/2000 and the return of the integration process around Euroland, AEGEE will have to face the question of building two different networks within it: one based on the Euroland of 26 and a non-Euroland network.
And I think you will not be able to avoid that.
I know from discussions with some of you that this is already an issue, that you feel that the motivations, interests, issues, agendas of these two groups are diverging. Two groups that perhaps in 10/15 years will merge again.
Today, in Euroland, students, young people, politicians, media, are interested in certain things that don’t make sense to those outside… and in the other direction it is also true.
So, it’s not about breaking AEGEE, it’s about making it an umbrella, under that umbrella, to have two sides. These will be difficult discussions, but they will be very useful.
Above all, don’t stick your head in the sand, don’t hide, don’t be blind. These will be difficult discussions, but they will be very helpful in deciding the future of the organization and for each of you to understand how best to build on what AEGEE is today, and what AEGEE can do better from the last 25 years for the next 25.
That’s what “occupying the future” is all about!
Franck Biancheri, May, 2nd, 2012