EM France and Germany: Press release on the November 11 Armistice
Almost 100 years ago, the Armistice of 11 November 1918 put a de facto end to World War 1. If we think about that date, we commemorate the 20 million deaths and the 20 million more injured as well as the overall suffering and destruction that affected millions more, the traces of which can still be seen today. On the ruins of the so-called “seminal catastrophe,” a movement formed that is now the largest civilian movement in modern human history; a broad European movement for European integration that aims to create longlasting peace. At the time, prominent supporters of the movement were French Foreign minister Aristide Briand and his German counterpart Gustav Stresemann – the two statesmen, jointly awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize, can be considered the great-grandfathers of European integration.
We, the presidents of European Movement France and Germany, are inspired by the World War 1 armistice jubilee celebrations. We must and will work towards securing peace on the European continent as well as advancing the European spirit as a whole. Right now, in France and Germany, we are witnessing nationalistic parties destroying virtues such as mutual respect or dialogue with their appalling language. Instead of constructing bridges, they are digging trenches. Interwar-period allegories are thus en vogue. Today, democracy is more diverse, and stronger; democracy can form a cornerstone of cross-border cohesion if politics take into account the strength of a pluralistic society, without taking on populist traits. We’re working on maintaining and fostering these bases.
France and Germany are important partners for Europe, but focusing on these two countries alone is too risky since it disregards both the variety of Europe and its societal structures. All in all, both countries are under the obligation to foster a pluralistic parliamentary democracy all over Europe, especially within the European Union.
The 2019 European elections form an important milestone for that. Let’s work together towards fostering a democratic Europe and strengthening democratic civil society.
Linn Selle and Yves Bertoncini are the presidents of the European Movement Germany and the European Movement France.