September 15, 2018
Interview with Count Christian d’Andlau Hombourg, historian, financier and French politician.. Formerly PanEuropa’s Secretary General, he currently holds the Presidency of the Strasbourg jurisdiction of Paneurope. He also is the President of the Federalist Party in Alsace.
You are President of the Federalist Party in the East of France, is the party’s memberhship growing?
Well first of all the Federalist Party is something separate from the Pan European Union. It has it has no legal links with it. It has no institutional links at all. It’s another project with similar vision though.
Its a European project, but it’s not something that has come out of Paneurope’s think tank. It’s not a Pan-European think tank idea. You see federalism in France is almost a rude word because for the French the French Republic is one and undivided. And Paris the capital city is the only serious city in France. The rest of France is a desert for the French politicians and during the French Revolution. Some people because this is a tradition since the kings of France, that’s how the kings of France have built France and since the French Revolution it has it has been even more so.
Jacoban resistance to Federalism
There was a political party in France called the Girondins who were for a relative responsibility of the provinces. But, they were executed physically executed by the Jacoban party. Since then France has always been [considered] rude by Jacoban and all the French politicians be they Gaulists. General DeGaul was a Jacoban but he tried in 1969, General De Gaulle offered in a referendum. [He] offered the possibility for the French Republic to favor the regions of France and give some responsibilities to the regions. The French people said no to this referendum. They said no.
France is a very compact State. France does not even recognize the different nationalities within France. There are several nationalities here for instance. There are Alsatian nationalists . The Alsatian people consider themselves as a people, which is respectable. So do the people in Brittany, in the provinces in the south of France, in Gascoigne, in Languedoc, in Corsica. etc. But the French Republic doesn’t like to recognize them. They have very recently recognized a certain Corsican people. Under many conditions they’ve given them some liberties– some political liberties–to the Corsicans but not to the Alsacians. They have refused the Alsacians and they have been asking for a certain autonomy for years. Jacobins in Paris have refused from all parties; from the right wing, left wing, extreme right, extreme left or moderate right, moderate left; they all refuse. their all Jacobins.
Several countries in Europe built on federalist models
The countries around France are not built in the same way. Germany… Italy is also a Federation of different regions. In Spain their a little bit more like the French. The United Kingdom has several nationalities. They have English they the Scotts they have the Welsh and they have the Irish nationalities.
The British have accepted last year a referendum on the Scottish independence. Their were a lot of the good sports to let this referendum decide. Finally the Scots decided not to make their BREXIT from the United Kingdom and they stayed with it. This was a very democratic attitude from the United Kingdom. France refuses to behave like that. So this is why I’m telling you federalism is something considered rude in France.
Even Russia is a Federation
The other nations around France are quite ready for federalism because they’ve always they realize that within their own countries. I would even say that Russia the Russian Federation is a federation. Even before it was called the Russian Federation after the Glasnost of Mr. Gorbachev. Even when it was the Soviet Union, Soviet citizens would be a Soviet a citizen of the Soviet Union. His passport but he would be of Russian national or of Georgian nationality or of Ukrainian nationality or other nationalities within the Soviet Union. The nationalities were recognized as such which is not the case in France.
Educating the French on Federalism
And to answer your question why did I choose to participate in this Federalist adventure in France? It’s not because I’m a masochist or desperate but because I would like to participate modestly at a modest level to the gentle education of the French people to the idea of federalism. Of course I realize that I have no chance to be elected. I have very few chances to have members of my party elected before quite a few years but we’ve been working since 1911 to communicate. We have created this small political party which is recognized officially. We have even helped create other parties . For instance for the European Parliament’s election in 2014, four years we had our party represented in 16 of the 28 member countries. Little by little we are progressing. We are going to run for next year’s election at the European Parliament. I don’t think sincerely I shouldn’t say that because I’m the president of the branch in Alsace. We’ll have our list, we’ll have our candidates. We have very little chance to succeed but we will we will go forward and transmit this idea in France– the political party.
The Front National Party -Example
Take the Front National party. For the first 15 years of existence of the Front National party they wouldn’t make more than two and a half percent. Then after 15 years of existence, which we don’t have because we patterned our party seven years ago. After 15 years the Front National managed to have over 5% which is the minimum percentage to be reimbursed of your campaign expenses, [These] are very much regulated in France. You may not spend more than a certain amount of money , justify where the money comes from etcetera etcetera etcetera.
If you want to be reimbursed of what you have put on a table, you must make 5%. The Front National only managed to do that after 15 years of existence. You’ve seen The score they’ve made four years ago in the European Parliament, It was a score that stunned everybody, not only in France but also in Europe. So little by little we will push forward our idea of federalism.
Emmanuel Macron Embraced our Federalist Platform
Today in France there is a man who is planning to use our platform of 2014 for his own party next year and this is President Emanuel Macron. I was very surprised six months ago maybe more than six months ago to read the draft the project of his platform for next year’s elections to the European Parliament. It was almost verbatim the platform of my party four years ago. So I think that our pedagogic. It is working slowly, very slowly. Maybe we will not be elected, but maybe on this platform some members of Mr. Macron’s party En Marche will be elected.
Good luck to them if they can federate Europe. We will be very happy if we can do it better than them. I would prefer. I’m not sure that we have the means to do it today.
Tell me if I’m correct the way I understand it. There is many Federalist groups throughout the European Union. What your group specifically did was create the first transnational party that would go across the European Union. So actually even though that may be small; it’s huge. It sounds like it was perfect or is perfect for the time. The Federalists have been around for a long time they have a voice within the European Union through the different groups and it sounds as if the timing is really perfect for this.
For the entire interview see this playlist on Youtube and the following articles:Erika Grey