In this troubled world, where everyone needs a direction, France, more than many other countries, is in need of a direction. What is she? A nation in decline? A province of Europe? What does she want to become? A museum? A great power? What social project does it have in mind? A country of solidarity? A grouping of individualists?
Despite the recent elections, the country does not yet seem to have clearly set its course. No one, if he or she can leave, will stay in a country where decisions are erratic, where taxation changes with the wind, where ministers can publicly defend totally contradictory positions, and where priorities are expressed only at the whim of crises. No one will come to invest in a country that does not have a clear vision of what it wants to become and does nothing to be readable to the rest of the world.
It is therefore essential to set a clear course as soon as possible. Define a stable reading grid and stick to it. It must be simple. Readable. Unambiguous.
I propose to define it around four ambitions, which can be summed up in four words, all beginning with the same letter, F. Four ambitions that feed off each other and provide a very clear way of defining a country's priorities. Here they are, without any particular hierarchy.
Fluidity The French society must give priority to the upward mobility and fight annuities. She must encourage innovationThe Commission will continue to develop a range of measures, in particular those that facilitate fluidity, such as those related to digital, education, health, transport and housing. It must facilitate flexible working.
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Fraternity to ensure that the fluidity is acceptable, and that innovations are welcomedIn order to ensure solidarity, fiscal and social, cultural and political, between the various social groups. In particular, this requires extensive support and training for all the unemployed and all workers threatened with losing their jobs.
Francophonie French as a mother tongue: 220 million people in the world today use French as their mother tongue. They will be 700 million in 35 yearsWe will be able to maintain our cultural presence, particularly in Africa. It is the only language whose number of speakers will thus triple. This is a tremendous economic asset, at a time when digital technology will open up more and more opportunities for work, training and remote entertainment. This requires massive investment in culture, education, attracting foreign students and defending the French-speaking world, which must become a powerful cultural, political and economic force.
European Federalism : the Eurozone can't stay in the middle of the ford. If it does not give itself the means to strengthen its democratic integrationIt will explode because it will become intolerable for the peoples to let technocratic authorities decide everything, and the German Parliament will become the ultimate judge of the austerity plans of the other countries in the area. The European Parliament, in its version limited to the parliamentarians of the eurozone, will one day declare itself a constituent assembly. France must prepare itself for this, and think about how to defend its interests. European federalism is one of the dimensions of the defence of French sovereignty.
These four ambitions are perfectly compatible. They even reinforce each other.
I can hear in advance those who will criticize them. Let them propose others. Four words at the most. The country has everything to gain from such a debate.
(Article published in L'Express 17 Dec 2012)