“Europe aspires for the rest of the world to adopt a humanism by definition intended for all”

“Europe aspires for the rest of the world to adopt a humanism by definition intended for all”
“Europe aspires for the rest of the world to adopt a humanism by definition intended for all”

“We are not like the others. » Emmanuel Macron’s sweeping speech at the Sorbonne on April 25 conveyed many concepts, one of which may raise questions: the singularity of our continent. While warning of the mortality of Europe, in the sense of the risk of its marginalization for the benefit of rival powers, the Head of State highlighted the exceptionality of Europe, which unites its unity and nourishes its vitality. .

By hammering home the existence of a “We, Europeans”, it relaunches an intellectual reflection on the identity of the continent, which precedes and runs through the entire European construction. She lived in particular Jacques Delors who, knowing that“we don’t fall in love with the internal market”had mobilized scientific, artistic and religious forces to “give a soul to Europe”. The one from which emanates a feeling of belonging without which there is no great collective design, nor incarnated power.

The debate returns through the geopolitical door. The Sino-American rivalry, often compared to a new Cold War, tends to oppose the West and the Rest, the West and the rest of the world. The idea with Gaullist overtones of Europe as a power seeks to break this potential bipolarity by showing that not only the interests, but the very values ​​of Europeans are not aligned with those of the Americans, with whom we will soon commemorate with great fanfare the Landing.

Universality

Emmanuel Macron already affirmed this at the 2019 ambassadors conference and in the magazine The Great Continent in 2020, at the end of the Trump presidency: “We are not the United States of America. (…) Our values ​​are not quite the same. » Even more obviously in the face of China. While the war in Ukraine has united the Western camp, there is no question of drowning Europe in it. As he declared at the Sorbonne: “Europe is not simply a piece of the West but a world continent that considers its universality. » Including in cultural terms, a slippery slope on which most of its European counterparts do not dare to venture. Berlin and Warsaw would never put it that way.

However, these are not just armchair discussions, but rather a battle of narratives in which the French president wants to engage Europe. The philosopher Luuk van Middelaar insists that, like Russia or China, European geopolitics should equip itself with“a story with European civilization as its hero”with “the European Union as its current political expression”. In “Sorbonne 2”, this “hero” different from the others is called European humanism, i.e. “a certain idea of ​​man which places the free, rational and enlightened individual above everything” : “To be European is to think that there is nothing more important, in fact, than to be a free individual, endowed with reason and who knows. »

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