Sunday, September 25, 2005

French Minds on Europe

In Lisbon on Saturday, I shared a panel with French philospher and author Bernhard-Henri Levy discussing the present state of Europe and our position in the wider world.

It was part of the European Ideas Fair of the European Ideas Network that I have written about before.

Levy and I have not seen eye to eye on aspect of thre Yugoslav wars, but this wasn't the topic of the Lisbon discussion, although we agreed to seek to meet and discuss that issue as well at some time.

He delivered a devastating critique of the state of the debate in France at this time.

According to him, anti-americanism is rampant, and words like liberal, globalisation and even Europe is used only to scare people. France, according to him, is in the danger of retreating from some of its own very best contributions to the development of the West.

I hope he's exaggerating in order to make the point, but he's certainly worth listening to.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Paris to share a panel with former European Commission President Jaques Delors to discuss how Europe can overcome its present crisis. Also on the panel is Elmar Brok, who chairs the Foreign and Security Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

It's all part of the Annual Meeting of the European Union Institute for Security Studies with EU High Representative Javier Solana also there.

Delors is always worth listening to. I'll see if he shares the deep pessimism of Bernhard-Henri Levy.