BACKLIGHT Brexit instigated Trump,
Trump instigated the Austrians… …which might instigate Le Pen,
and perhaps the German AfD. Whatever happens to the EU,
we can’t all leave our continent. Even if Orban, Wilders in Holland
or anyone else leave the EU… …we will all still be living in Europe. Sorry about my voice,
I’m think I’m losing my voice. I think we are losing our politics. The politics in Europe show
there is no political union. The only changes that take place
are in the margins. All across Europe, in all
member states, there is a rift… …between the political elite and those
who call themselves ‘the people’. With me is Ulrike Guérot, founder and
director of European Democracy Lab. You are involved in the future of Europe. People are coming up with various
solutions, including a new Europe. You believe the sovereign states should
be replaced with European Regions. I’d like to add that Farage and the UKIP
are addressing a precarious point… …when they say:’ We’re not in control’:
the slogan of the Leave Campaign. Everyone agrees that
we need a fundamental change. The way things are going now
we’re heading for disaster. Brexit is only the beginning.
It won’t be a walk in the park. We can see clearly what will happen. Since Brexit, the British pound
has been dropping every day. More and more Britons
are leaving the continent. We know British universities
will go under… …when they stop receiving the nine
billion subsidies from the EU. And yet Theresa May keeps saying:
We’ll do Brexit and it will be a success. But the numbers show
that it won’t be a success. So why don’t we say
it won’t be a success? It is a disaster and
it will be a disaster. The way we talk about Europe… …is drifting further and further
from the truth. People feel that. The Austrian elections were in
December, the French ones in May… …and the German ones in September.
It’s a chain reaction. Brexit instigated Trump,
Trump instigated the Austrians… …who may instigate Le Pen
and perhaps the German AfD. We’re not sure,
but that’s what might happen. Then it will be like Stephan Zweig’s
The World of Yesterday.It will be like waking up
in another world. Remember how we sat in cafés,
or in the Amsterdam coffeeshops… …and we were all so free, right? If you read Stephan Zweig
or Thomas Mann… …you’ll see that they had already
analysed it out in the 1920s. They were no fools. There are quotes by Thomas Mann
from 1913, before World War I. ‘If nothing changes, Europe will end up
in a negative spiral of nationalism.’ On the surface, everything seem fine. We can still travel,
the borders are still open. We still have the euro, everything is OK.
But the trust is gone. Not just among EU citizens,
but also among the governments. The system is still in place,
everything seems fine. But below the surface
things are brewing. Sometimes you only realise something
when it’s too late. That’s what’s going to happen in Europe. One day we’ll be discussing Europe,
the peace project and so on… …and the next day we’ll wake up
and Europe will be gone. Wasn’t it nice, those open borders.
Erasmus, all those exchanges. All gone. Europe isn’t in a good state.
A lot of people are saying that. Even German Secretary Steinmeier
said, in late October… …that we can’t rule out
a demise of the EU any longer. And the idea that we’ll just carry on
and things will be fine… …that whole peace story
is becoming very wobbly. We see Turkey, IS and Putin
threatening the EU from outside… …and internally we see populism
and nationalism everywhere. The legal systems in Hungary and
Poland are falling before our very eyes. And there is nothing we can do. And then there’s the
militarisation of society, of course. The whole peace discussion,
the surveillance state. We can’t make laws anymore. The CETA agreement led to EU
becoming legally incompetent. If you view all these things
as building blocks… …then all those building blocks show… …that the EU, in terms of acceptance
and credibility… …legal competence
and political mission… …has been considerably damaged. In 1992, the borders between the 12
European Community will disappear. This will bring changes. It will become easier to work
in another country in the EC. Traffic won’t be delayed
at border controls. For more information, pick up
a leaflet at the post office or library. Mr Monnet, how did you come up with
the idea for a European Community? The two wars. It was clear… …that we wouldn’t be able to
construct peaceful relationships… …based on the nation-states. We had to come up with an alternative
and during World War II… …I became convinced… …that the only hope for peaceful
relations in Europe… …would be to try to build… …the same kind of relations
that exist within our borders. To prevent one single country
from dominating… …it should not be
based on nation-states. The peace story isn’t working anymore.
What do we tell people now? How do we persuade the Europeans? The question isn’t
‘how do we persuade them’. You can’t persuade people of
something bad. It’s not about PR. ‘Listen to the people better.’
They’re not stupid. Good, thank you. No, it’s fine. Yes, follow me. Wonderful, thank you. I’m just going to change
into my yoga pants. What should we tell the bankers? The topic is, like the title of the book,
why Europe should become a republic. Then I will give a talk about Brexit,
and the problems it will lead to… …regarding free travel,
and then I’ll see what comes up. I don’t have to come up
with new things every time. But the bankers are scared too.
– Yes, that’s right. There was the ‘ EU Three’:
France, Germany and Italy. You have to want to see it, and in
Germany and Holland we don’t see… …that the Italians and the French are
not as happy with the euro as we are. They had to put a lot of effort into it. They suffered a lot, partly because
the reforms didn’t take place. But also because the structures of
the monetary union aren’t working… …or at least they aren’t working
for those countries. We don’t know
what’s going on in that regard. It’s no secret. You can read it
in the Italian newspapers… …in the Financial Times, everywhere… …that the euro crisis isn’t over yet. It’s like an avalanche. Once it starts to shift,
it’s unstoppable. And it’s already shifting.
– Yes, there is Brexit… …and the unresolved matter of Grexit… …which was postponed in 2015… …although nobody doubts the Greek
debt situation is unsustainable. And in Hungary, the judicial state
is being cast aside. The High Council of Justice in Poland… …and in Hungary a newspaper
was banned recently. Human rights are
no longer respected in Hungary. And what does the EU do?
– Nothing. No, we’re just letting it happen. Orban says: I’m a sovereign state,
I can do what I want. So that’s the problem. We can’t be both
the EU and have sovereign states. Sovereign states have a monopoly
of violence according to Max Weber. If you make laws, you need sanctions
for when these laws are broken If you ask when the EU going is to fall,
these are all signs. The EU won’t collapse
like a house of cards. But Hungary, Poland, Renzi,
these are all signs… …that the EU might not be
legally competent. Merckel said: If the euro fails,
Europe fails. I don’t believe that.
I think it’s as follows: If the euro stays like this,
the European democracy will fail. That’s what is going on now.
All the populism we see now… …is mainly due to the
mismanagement of austerity policies. You could put it like that.
Most scientists do. In that respect, the right and left-wing
populism we see in Europe now… …is only, not only but also… …a delayed reaction to
what happened in 2012. For me, 2012 was like, let’s say
the original sin. They’re here for the suitcase. I was going to stop by.
– Yes, for the suitcase. Come in, I’ll show you. I can’t check in this suitcase
like this tomorrow. My flight is at 7:05 am. There was this sense of:
Nobody is doing his duty. The rats are deserting a sinking ship.
No one was there. I wondered: What have you been
working for these past 25 years? It was my life project.
Maastricht, Europe. We’ve taken care of that forever,
and I was a part of it. 25 years later, the European
Council building was abandoned… …as if a plutonium bomb had gone off. Nobody cared anymore,
it was empty, no longer tangible. I went home and thought:
Hang on, what was that? How could the EU fail so badly?
Why was nobody defending it? What happened to the beauty
of the European project? Why are we talking about bailouts,
Cyprus, banks… …why do we use this
technocratic language… …and not about the union of citizens,
and fellowship? Why is no one talking about an
ever-closer union? Why have we forgotten
what we wanted to do together… …which was to overcome
the barriers of the nation-states? I was interested in politics
from a young age. Possibly because my father
was involved in local politics. My dream was to be
a foreign correspondent. I want to live in another country
and report on it. I remember when the European Act
was signed in 1986… …and they hung up the flags
of all the member states… …in the Godesberger Allee.
It was covered with flags. For me, that was…
I was cycling there as a student… …and felt: Something
is happening here with Europe. I was 19 and had just started university. That’s when I became interested in it. What were Mitterrand, Genscher and
Kohl doing? What was going on? Suddenly I was in the middle of it.
I was 23 and went to study in Paris. I fell in love. I was 23 in Paris,
so I fell for a Frenchman. That’s how I became fluent in French. Suddenly, Europe was a part of my life. I was driving through Belgium
to visit my boyfriend in Paris. That’s when you realise what they
meant by an ‘ever-closer union’… …and the Maastricht Treaty.
I became a European citizen… …and tried to analyse
what was going on in politics. That never went away. In 1992 I was lucky enough… …to apply for a job at the
CDU/CSU faction. I had an interview with Karl Lamers.
Max Kohnstamm dropped by… …who wanted Lamers
to visit his estate. We are very pleased to welcome
Mr Kohnstamm, Vice President… …of the Action Committee
for the United States of Europe. It was a very long drive. I was in the car with Max Kohnstamm
for at least 7 hours. I was 22… …sitting next to a 70-year-old man
saying: I was in Moscow in ’36… …did this and that with Komsomol,
and I met Stalin… …and Herbert Wehner and I… I thought to myself:
Have I landed in a history book? It was so fascinating to hear how
even in the 50s, 60s and 70s… …nothing was set in stone in Europe,
the active ones were giving it structure. They wanted it and said:
We need to think it, express it… …and create laws that are valid
and lead to the formation of Europe. The political situation
has become even worse. The member states are all dealing
with pressure from populists. Every government leader
is afraid of populism. That makes EU reforms impossible.
Holland is the perfect example. Holland with its Ukraine referendum
and Association Agreement. It drives me mad. First the Dutch government votes in
favour. Then the people start to grumble. And in parliament the government
doesn’t vote against this referendum… …but says:
You can have your referendum. The referendum comes,
the government does nothing to win it… …the opposition wins and supposedly
the democracy has ruled. So I think: Why do the Dutch
get to decide about this agreement? Don’t I, a German citizen,
have a say in it? When the tension rose between me… …and the EU politicians
or the thinktanks… …or rather everything
built around the EU… The EU is huge, and doesn’t just have
its own people, but also thinktanks… …and many people associated to it. I was told I was too critical
and befouling my own nest. I just had a different perspective. We say we want to think innovatively… …but nobody really does. Systems don’t want independent
thinkers. They’re too much hassle. Hannah Arendt talked about
‘thinking without banisters’. They don’t want freethinkers. Systems want people
who think like the system. My European Democracy Lab
is a small thinktank… …that aims to come up with creative,
new thoughts about Europe. How are you? Let’s have a quick meeting about all
the appointments that are coming up. I thought about what else
you can do with Europe. I don’t claim to have all the answers.
There are more out there… …but I do believe you should
consider various ideas… …in order to decide what the
future of the continent should be. We don’t want to tear the EU down. We want to save the good things and
take it into the next century. The old European project
was adequate for last century… …but it should be turned upside down.
That’s what the volcano represents. This is a conceptual artist.
Volcanos turn the world upside down. We should turn Europe
from top-down to bottom-up… …and create a Europe for the people. We don’t want to destroy the EU… …because we need the euro, the
Erasmus generation, the single market. We need to enrich it
and turn it upside down. Not top-down, but bottom-up. And enrich: One market, one currency,
one democracy. We should put that cherry on top
of this European project… …so that it becomes a Europe of the
citizens instead of member states. Citizens who agree with one another
will found a republic. That’s our task for the future. This nationalistic attitude doesn’t help.
We have three giants: Germany, France and the UK.
Always throwing a spanner in the works. Now it’s Brexit, but Germany
is being difficult now… …by wanting to make all the decisions.
And then there’s the Portuguese, Fins… Are we really interested in what
the Portuguese think? Not really. In the mythological image of Europe… …the Brits, French, Germans
or Bulgarians can’t do it alone. In the sense that
every European nation… …would have its own role
and an organic position. That’s important: nobody can leave. They all belong to Europe and are
needed the way they are. They all contribute something to Europe. I can’t draw very well,
but this is roughly Europe. Here is Denmark, Italy… …here is Greece,
the Danube is the aorta… …connecting all the countries
it flows through. Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria.
That’s the Danube. This is the Rhine that connects Europe
from Amsterdam to the south. Europe is one. The borders we’ve drawn have
split up the old cultural regions. Take Spain and France.
They split up the Basque Country. Or Austria and Italy, who split up Tirol. We derive our cuisines, soups and
languages from these cultural regions: Basque, Normandic, Alsatian. That’s Europe, and European diversity. Make those regions
constitutional carriers. There are roughly fifty regions… …that support the European republic. Then, like the US, there are
fifty or sixty federal states… …or regions, provinces, administrative
units, however you want to call them. They maintain their culture
and identity on the one hand… …and give the citizens exactly
what they want now: Their own identity,
which the populists are so hell bent on. And you get a stronger role
in a political system… …because you’ve removed
the middle layer of the nation. But some regions are richer than others,
how will that work? Set up a European unemployment
insurance: an indirect stabilizer. So everyone in Europe
gets the same benefits. This also conveys that
all Europeans are equal… …in terms of the law
and what they are entitled to. What about the refugees?
– We set up a department for that. We introduce a bonus system
for cities and regions… …and say: We will help any region
or city that takes in refugees. We will arrange architects, advisors.
We will offer advice and money. Turn it into a competition,
so cities start requesting refugees. It’s happening already. In Southern Italy there are
abandoned and ageing cities… …where they… There’s this
fantastic mayor in Southern Italy. Are you Nigerian? From Gambia? He took in refugees and
accommodated them in old buildings. An old city that no longer had a bakery
had a bakery again. The schools were full again.
There were classes again. It works. That way, you let
the market do its job again. If the regions of the Netherlands,
Budapest, Hungary… …or east Germany don’t want any
refugees, they won’t get them… …but they won’t get any money from
the European Committee either. The problem with these 27, 28 member
states is that they’re not the same size. The Dutch and the Germans are not
represented equally in the EU. You and I. As a Dutch person, you are
represented very differently from me. We are not equal in the elections. That’s a problem for the democracy.
– How do you mean? That a German member of parliament… …will represent its people differently
from a Dutch one. We vote differently. In Germany
we vote as federal states… …unlike Holland or France.
The election system should be the same. One person, one vote,
otherwise it’s not a democracy. The European social model
is a cultural invention. We must realise that. They don’t have it in India,
Russia, or the US… …where people sleep in the streets. Or in Africa or Latin America
where there is a lot of corruption. We should ask ourselves:
Is this what we want, or not? If we do, we have to work for it. The EU represents freedom… …but there are many countries in the EU
where there is no freedom anymore. That’s the problem. You say: How can intellectuals say that
when it’s no longer the reality? As Brecht said: First food, then morals. As soon as people fear for their jobs,
their families, their future… …they let themselves be
lured into nationalism… …which can in turn
lead to tension and even war. You don’t defend freedom
when you’re doing badly. We talk about security,
defending ourselves.. …defending our values against
Putin or the IS. We want safety. But Europe’s cultural heritage
of the French Revolution… …is freedom, equality, fraternity.
Safety isn’t listed there. I’m saying: You can be safe in jail. In the former East Germany
they were very safe, but not free. If you exchange freedom for safety,
and that is what is happening… …you have lost. Then you are no longer
defending your values… …but you’re defending your safety,
your life, and money. But people we call heroes,
like Sophie Scholl and Bonhoeffer… …didn’t defend their lives, let alone
money. They died for freedom. That’s what worries me.
The discourse in Europe… …is so dominated
by the paradigm of ‘safety’… …that we’re allowing everything. The French state of emergency,
security cameras and so on. We’re not defending our ideals.
That’s the problem. My ideas are impressionist.
It’s not perfect. I’m not dogmatic. I don’t want to have
to come up with everything myself. I would like to plant ideas
and sow them with others. That’s very important. Always think new thoughts. People
should always think new thoughts. We’re broadcasting this so other people
will hear what is being said… …and have food for thought. It’s like impressionism. I have a few
points which inspire others. ‘Guérot made this point
about cities and refugees.’ ‘I’m an architect and I can contribute.
I can improve her idea.’ I can say I’m in favour,
but the European political reality… The political reality is
what we make of it. End of story. Don’t you think something bad has to
happen before we see it’s a good idea? Maybe, and yet reality is
what we make of it.