Some will say the special adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy is the “No-vote” guarantee of a president who “voted Yes to the Constitutional treaty”, elected by “a country that voted No”
Henri Guaino’s stated doubts on Europe are nothing new. The ardent opponent of the Maastricht Treaty has already made them clear in 1999 in a conversation with Daniel Cohn Bendit, “Can France melt away within Europe? / The distillation of France in Europe?” and in an essay published a year later, “L’Étrange renoncement” (The Strange Renunciation)
However, since Nicolas Sarkozy has come to power, his attacks against the European Central Bank and the European competition policy, expressed in an interview to the Financial Times, sparked off the crisis.
What’s wrong with Europe?
During a European summit in June 2007, Henri Guaino singled out the headquarters of the European Commission and flung: “don’t you understand that this whadyacallit will one day collapse.”
In deed, in “can France melt away within Europe?” he keeps saying that he does not believe in the European project as it is now. He thinks that “the Great political project gave birth to a bureaucratic monster that only serves its own interests.”
Pointing out a lack of political dimension in Europe, he adds: “we have built a system that only creates a game of power between bureaucracies that do not have to account for their actions”. Those are the reproaches he has often voiced. But what makes Henri Guaino different is the fact that he sees nothing good in the EU as such and everything should be started all over again.
The EU as a threat to the Nation.
Republican convictions and souverainisme explain his positions. He stands for the Nation and sees Europe as a threat, “a lever for demolishing the Republican model”. He is convinced that “nothing will be built on forced expropriation of the peoples from their fate and culture”.
This is the reason why he clashes over the independence of the ECB. Neither does he feel that France has any obligations to honor the European commitments going with its adoption of the Euro. He actually explained to the Financial Times that France had no intention of slashing its public spending in the short term. Alright, so there is no budget discipline to be respected, is there?
“The Euro-Mediterranean dialogue does not solve anything. On the contrary, it digs a fracture line with North and South”, Henri Guaino explains in “Can France melt away within Europe / The distillation of France in Europe?” Henri Guaino? The ardent defender with Nicolas Sarkozy of the Euromediterranean zone? Yes, that’s him. But in his defense, the content of this project of a Euromediterranean Union has changed… We now speak of a Mediterranean Union… The German angry reaction on this subject seems to have caused an inflection in France, even within Euroscepticals…