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An antidote to any nostalgia of ‘grandeur’ or ‘glory’

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There’s of course nothing wrong with the commemoration of historical battles. Quite the contrary: each time I took students to the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, they got a better idea of why European integration might actually be a good idea. And most of the four-year-long commemorative flow on World War I is produced, if […]

40 years – the age of maturity?

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These days, the People’s Republic of China and the European Union celebrate the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship. At the age of 40 one might assume that this relationship has indeed ‘grown up’ by now. But has it, really? Here are three indicators supporting this view and three against it: FOR: China established diplomatic relations in 1975 with the […]

Brussels will be ‘sexy tomorrow’!

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At least that’s the forecast of ‘The Supplement’, a popular Sunday afternoon programme on French television (Canal+). Each week, it includes a trendspotting clip named ‘sexy tomorrow’, introducing a someone or something that may become a game changer. In the edition of 26 April, the game changer was ‘Politico’, the American news site that just […]

Undiscouraged, but also uninspired

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This is the second of two blogposts on Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. The first one is available here. Ten years after the premature death of his constitutional treaty, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, now aged 89, is still an undiscouraged believer in the European project. Concerned by the current crisis of the European Union, he proposes in a […]

10 years ago: Giscard defends the constitutional treaty at ESSCA

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Ten years ago, in mid-April 2005, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing came to Angers in order to exchange with ESSCA students. Just six weeks before the French referendum on the constitutional treaty his visit was part of a campaign for an increasingly uncertain ‘yes’ vote. Given his role in chairing – with diplomatic skills and political know-how – the European Convention […]

Memories of Cold War I

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Was it the chandelier aesthetics of the grotesquely over-dimensioned Palace of Independence in Minsk that brought up Cold War memories, or the desperate attempts by Angela Merkel and François Hollande to contain the Ukraine crisis by confronting an enigmatic Soviet leader, sorry : Russian president? The entire setting looked strangely familiar to those who had grown […]

Against the stream

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In the current high season of EU-bashing, whoever stands for whatever election seems to be well advised to either join the chorus of Eurosceptics or avoid the topic altogether. It is all the more surprising – one is tempted to say: refreshing – that Alain Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux and former prime minister (1995-1997), has […]

All alone

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Two weeks after the shootings in Paris and ten days after the memorable rallies of 11 January, emotion gives way to lucid analysis. There should be no illusion: France stands all alone. Of course, there were millions of individuals all around the globe who instantly displayed the “Je suis Charlie” slogan in order to show […]

Unanimous respect, ambiguous legacy

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30 years ago, on 14 January 1985, Jacques Delors, who had just taken office a week before, pronounced his programmatic ‘Declaration on the orientation of the Commission’ in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He did so with ‘intellectual humility’ and ‘political determination’, two attitudes that seem to characterise rather well both the man […]

2015: The top three challenges for the EU and China

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Time flies, no news on that front, but 2014 seems to have flown particularly quickly. One of the reasons for this impression may be the accumulation of global economic and political challenges. And 2015? Here is my list of the top three challenges for the new year: CHINA Challenge no. 1: Corruption. Despite a certain continuity […]

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