Report: Beyond the Nation State – Cultures make Europe

The Historic Speech to Europe debate at BOZAR. Photo by Yves Gervais.

Historic Speech to Europe series: Denis de Rougemont

On the occasion of its 60th anniversary, ECF decided to reexamine the convictions of its founding father Denis de Rougemont, by the presentation of his 1947 speech “The federalist attitude” by former ECF Secretary General (1973-1994) Raymond Georis and relate the passages to today’s EU by French Liberal Member of the European Parliament, Sylvie Goulard.

In the following report, Sabine Frank highlights the key themes of the event that took place on 6th November 2014 in front of an audience of more than a hundred people at the Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels.

In his historic speech given at the first annual congress of the European Union of Federalists, Denis de Rougemont has set out five principles of a federalist Europe that would enable a union in diversity and a union for protecting diversity. After detailing these principles, the report summarises the lively discussion that took place during the event, highlighting commentary by Sylvie Goulard on the relevance and applicability of these principles in the contemporary European context. 

Presenting a discussion on federalism’s embrace of the complexity inherent in diversity versus the reductionist narratives of European nationalists often disguised as simple solutions, the report highlights the discussion surrounding potential political shortcomings of the current electoral and executive processes of the EU. Noting the importance of enabling networks of European exchange, a central theme of ECF’s work over the years, the report highlights the centrality of the issues pointed out by de Rougemont in 1947 and illustrates the value of the discussion to be had around them.