Franck Bianchéri, a European leader, just passed away

In European Challenges, Leading with Questions, Transforming Democracy

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.




7 comments on “Franck Bianchéri, a European leader, just passed away”

  1. Edith de CL says:

    Good article about a great man !
    Merci Luc

  2. Jana Simonova says:

    The article about Franck Bianchéri was very interesting because people like he is and we should know more about them. Student movement is really important not only for students who cannot afford to spend one or more semesters abroad. Without these foundations is for many students not possible to go abroad. I like a student nowadays spending one semester abroad in Austria, I think that it is really good experience. Erasmus studies abroad are important because it helps student to discover and learn about other cultures and habits and sometimes you have to really deal with it and adapt your own behaving according to other cultures. You can learn a lot if you are abroad and we should be happy that we have people like Franck Bianchéri.

  3. Jianfeng Ge says:

    I am very touched by this article. And as an Erasmus grant receiver, I sincerely appreciate what Mr.Franck Bianchéri had done for EU students. I believe that more and more EU students will benefit from his contribution. Also, as the founder and leader of the Newropeans European political party which planned to run for campaigns in the European Parliament election, 2009 in all EU member states simultaneously. We can say he was one of the European hero who was so passionate to put all of his energy into his jobs and always fight for other people. The cosmopolitan leadership that honors national differences and transcends them will be a perfect example for me to learn.

  4. Andrea says:

    Great article about a great person who had done a lot for EU students. Very good points made about a functioning democracy in EU which went through the mismanagement of the euro crisis in the last years. I really appreciate the idea of a truly European parties created for the EU. I think it can solve a lot of problems if we have real European parties instead of today´s national parties which have their national interests only. There are no doubts that Erasmus program helps to create transnational space in Europe. These words can be confirm by students all over the world who go as Erasmus. They have the opportunity to experience something new and oportunity to undestand different countries and nations better. Secondly, we can refer to the fact that students are able to improve their abilities in communication in a foreign language. Merci pour votre tratil, Mr Biancheri !

  5. Katrina Ngo says:

    My sincerest respect to Mr. Biancheri. He has not only left a lasting legacy in the world, but he has also helped and given so many EU students that have the opportunity to go to Erasmus to grow more as people. I also agree to how the EU must in fact become more open to the countries that are part of it. That actually brings up the problem of the world right now- we are somewhat self centered that we do not consider other people’s opinions at times. This thinking or trait is what, I believe, serves as a huge barrier to what each of us can achieve it we are more open-minded and mindful of the needs of others regardless of what or where they come from. As an asian student on exchange, I can truly say that this experience has given me a broader perspective of the world and I’m sure that most, if not some, of the Erasmus students would also say the same. Greatest thanks for Franck Bianchéri for supporting this Erasmus project. I’m sure that this would enrich more lives and help improve the system in the future.

  6. Salla Paajanen says:

    Really touching article which created many ideas in my mind. At first I doubted about going to an exchange program but now that I have been here in Austria for four months and the exchange period is starting to be over, I am really grateful for this experience and the possibility for studying abroad. I have gained knowledge about new topics, people, cultures, languages and habits which are all really valuable in nowadays global world. For this Erasmus possibility we can thank people like Franck Bianchéri. Democracy in EU is quite difficult topic especially now with the economic situation. There are different countries and governments in the European Union which operate under different values and customs. Democracy is not just a system; it is a way of thinking when it works at its best.

  7. Laura Casati says:

    In Italy a saviour like Mr Biancheri is definitely needed. The latest news are giving drammatic evidence to the lack of grants for the next years Erasmus students. Being an Erasmus student as well and having been this exchange programme established time ago, I would have never thought it could have staggerd. I guess the European concept and the European Union, in these days, are really losing cohesion due to the economical crises and the unsaid tensions between some countries. That’s why in times like these, the idea of belonging – in this case to Europe- should be really questioned and again restored.

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