I learnt with sadness that Franck Bianchéri passed away on October 30th 2012 after 4 years of a long sickness. A systemic thinker and leader, Franck has been a European stirring force since the mid 80es.
As he was a student leader at Sciences Po Paris, he created with his friends a first powerful student movement across Europe: AEGEE-Europe. With this young citizen movement he lobbied political leaders, especially François Mitterrand, to rescue the Erasmus project that was about to be trashed. As a former Erasmus student myself, I know how much this European program of studies abroad has changed me and keeps changing generations of Europeans and the face of Europe.
For the last 25 years, Franck has promoted one central idea: for the EU to be a functioning democracy, it requires not only European institutions, but truly European parties. This means citizen parties created for the EU, and not, as it is today, national parties that create coalitions in order to aggregate their national interests when they arrive in the European Parliament.
The first attempt to implement this vision was in the 1989 elections where he managed with his young movement to launch the same political platform in Spain, France and Holland.
I had the chance to meet Franck in 2004. I was impressed and touched by his passion for Europe and for action, based on thorough systemic understanding of the EU and the global socio-economic and political dynamics. This was the beginning of my first political engagement. From 2004 to 2007 I contributed to the Newropeans initiative, mobilizing across Europe and even in the USA, through meetings and writings. My professional commitments in Madagascar prevented me from continuing this European adventure.
The second attempt to launch a truly European party was for the 2009 elections. Franck’s sickness already limited him. Surely this second attempt did not reach the expected outcome. But his concrete vision to make the EU a more democratic space is more alive and necessary today than ever.
And to implement this bold vision, it will certainly take the Erasmus generation to use all its European and transnational skills. The good news is that this Erasmus generation is now reaching more massively influential positions. It is time to embody a truly European leadership: a cosmopolitan leadership that honors national differences and transcends them.
To pay tribute or discover Franck, you can visit his website here.
Franck, your legacy is alive, thank you for everything you gave to me, to Europe and beyond.