Jour de gloire – Day of glory?

Today France will again revive the myth of the Grande Nation and commemorate the victims of the awful terrorist attack last year on this very day in Nice. The newly elected President wants to send a signal by organising a Franco-German summit on the eve of and inviting the US President to the 14 July festivities. Progressives welcomed the election of Emmanuel Macron not only as the “lesser evil” compared to the FN leader, but because of his clear stand in favour of the European project and in favour of a closer and challenging Franco-German cooperation in and for Europe. The European Commission would call this a balance between their scenarios three and five: “Those Who Want More Do More” and “Doing Much More Together” for a more ambitious European project.

The announcement that France and Germany will take the initiative to develop another kind of Eurofighter might be applauded by Dassault, Airbusindustries and other interested groups. The actual US President may see it as a sign in favour of reaching his aim of spending 2% of GDP on so-called defence. What Europe needs is not military investment, but social investment in education and training, a concept of modernising and not privatising education. People expect more social justice and equal opportunities. Freezing the progress of the – even timid – financial transaction tax is not a sign that will tame financial markets and persuade them to conform to democratic standards. Ambitious future investments and investment in the future is not only a matter of more private capital - as it is too often wrongly stipulated - for private public partnership in development cooperation and humanitarian aid.

2008 and the crisis that followed were the result of excessive speculation that was only possible because of the naïve belief that the market would regulate itself. The Financial Transaction Tax for which unions and many NGOs have mobilised for a long time is not only a nice and morally correct project by Progressives, it is a means of addressing the need to assure tax justice and increase public income enabling more investment in the future. Citizens are very sensitive when it comes to fairness at work, in their environment or in their treatment by the public authorities. It is not matter of belief, it is matter of providing and sticking to promises.

And the times are not glorious, neither for France nor for Europe considering the unwillingness to respond to the Italian government’s request to share responsibility and show solidarity in face of the migration flows to Europe. No more glorious either is the Italian government’s intention to change its NGO law, targeting those organisations that are there to save lives at sea.

Really, “there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”? Time to refill our batteries and return with more energy to give to the European project and global social justice!