Open letter to the Prime Minister about the Mediterranean and Africa, by Jean-Louis Guigou and the members of the Political Steering Committee
Jean-Louis Guigou et les membres du COP
On 7 April, L’Opinion published a column that was co-signed by Edouard Philippe, Gérald Darmanin and 21 mayors and local executive presidents from the right and the centre, called “The Mediterranean absence does not bode well”. Jean-Louis Guigou, President of IPEMED (Mediterranean World Economic Foresight Institute), and some members of its Political Steering Committee answered them.
During the presidential campaign, you published, on 7 April 2017, with 23 mayors and local executive presidents from the right and the centre a column called: “The Mediterranean absence does not bode well”.
You were wondering about the major projects that needed to be implemented in order to bring tangible answers to challenges such as migrations, terrorism, global warming and the unrest due to Arab revolutions. And you asked: “Who will launch a project that will make of France the driving force of this essential challenge for Europe, Africa and the Middle East? [...] It is in the interest of France to stay ahead on these topics. But to do so we need someone who shares this vision and offers us to make of our common sea a new global axis.”
Your wishes have been heard.
The answers to your legitimate and anxious questions were expressed by the presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron in Marseille, on 1st April. His vision of the role of France and Europe in the world is clear: “We are not going to create a new Mediterranean policy, we are simply going to reshape a road of freedom and responsibility that will go from the other shore of the Mediterranean through the entire African continent.” Of course, this vision that gathers Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa within the same region remains to be built. “This is why I am willing to establish a partnership between France, Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa that reinforces our mutual interests in all fields: not only climate, trade, employment and innovation, but also security and stability.
On 14 May, the day he took office, the President said: “geography is getting smaller and time is going faster. This is obviously the return to geographic and cultural proximity that globalisation had meant to eradicate. It is the return to complementarity and solidarity between neighbouring countries with different levels of development. It is the regionalisation of globalisation.
Mister Prime Minister, now that you are at the head of the government of an ambitious and self-confident France, oriented towards the future, and that your vision is in keeping with that of the President of the Republic, things are going to get faster.
The context is favourable. The great region Africa-Mediterranean-Europe that we want remains an objective and we have common interests; some heavy trends are encouraging a rapprochement:
Europe which, in the face of massive migrations and climate change, is finally discovering the riches and opportunities of Africa and the Mediterranean, that represent many growth opportunities;
Mediterranean countries are in turmoil and co-exist with those - a majority - that prefer being anchored in Europe and those - a minority - that prefer being anchored in the Middle East.
It is time to encourage our Southern allies.
As for African countries, they feel that they are really successful. They welcome the idea that the 21st century will be focused on Africa and that their destiny is historically and geographically linked to Europe. Otherwise, we can keep plundering Africa’s raw materials.
While North and South Americas are getting closer, such as Japan and China with South-East Asian countries, in order to build, according to the CIA report on the state of the world in 2035, “great privileged zones of influence”, it is now time to build this “crescent” that will gather 500 million Europeans, 500 million Mediterraneans and 1.5 billion Africans in 2050.
It is indeed time as Germany is preparing the G20, that will take place at the beginning of July in Hamburg, with a very ambitious African project. At the end of November, the Africa-European Union summit will be held in Abidjan. This will be a favourable time to conclude a “New Deal” between the African and European continents. Let’s not forget this beautiful quote of François Mitterrand (1956): “Without Africa, France will not be part of the 21st century.”
In order to integrate Europe and Africa, following the example of America and China with their Souths, three tools should be implemented:
First of all, an intercontinental and equal financial institution that would ensure the mobility of capitals and the security of investments;
Then, a coproduction treaty that would go way beyond free-trade agreements, in order to facilitate the sharing of capital on both continents, coproduction, norm standardisation, equivalence of university diplomas, and generalised mobility of skilled people;
La Verticale. Finally, it will be necessary to create a foundation that we call La Verticale “Africa-Mediterranean-Europe” that will enable an economic reflection on integration and boost mentality change. Following the example of ERIA between China and ASEAN countries, this foundation could create a network of existing laboratories, be they European, Mediterranean or African, that specialise in regional integration topics.
Thank you, Mister Prime Minister, for having expressed so clearly your indignation and your anger. And thank you to President Emmanuel Macron for his vision that clearly defines the role of France and Europe, integrated to the Mediterranean and Africa.
With its network of African, Arab, North African, European and French experts, manufacturers and politicians, IPEMED is at your service. We are looking forward for France to join forces with Germany and create the driving force of this Euro-African integration.
It is an exciting collective project for the youth of both continents.
List of this letter’s signatories:
Jean-Louis Guigou, President of IPEMED
The following members of IPEMED’s POLITICAL STEERING COMMITTEE
Miguel Angel Moratinos Former Minister, Spain
Joachim Bitterlich Former Chancellor Advisor, Germany
Georges Corm Former Minister, Lebanon
Amr El Shobaky Former Member of Parliament, Egypt
Mounir Fakhry Abdelnour Former Minister, Egypt
Iqbal Gharbi Director of the Chair of Religious Anthropology, Zitouna University, Tunisia
Fadia Kiwan Honorary Director of the Institute of Political Sciences of Saint-Joseph University, Lebanon
Eneko Landaburu Former European Union Ambassador in the Kingdom of Morocco
Denis MacShane Former Minister, United Kingdom
Fathallah Oualalou Former Minister, Morocco