Committed, active and open — those are three words that best describe GFYL alumni and GFYL speaker Claire. A sports fan, policy enthusiast and addict of Politico’s Morning Trade blog, she made one of her passions her profession when joining the principal French Sports Union as a Public Affairs specialist. Next to her sports engagements like handball and football, she is the Vice-president of the think tank Point d’aencrage, a French left-wing think tank focusing on political discussion, dialogue and learning in the fields of European politics, trade, finance and civic innovation.
Claire, you first joined the GFYL community for the conference in 2017. To jump right into this interview, finish the next couple of sentences about Europe:
To me, Europe means…unity in diversity and friends !
In 10 years, Europe will be…dead or alive.
In order to make Europe stronger, the individual citizen…should demand more accountable politicians and work together to counter political apathy and populism.
The best thing about Europe is…collective intelligence.
Why is it important that cross-border and European initiatives exist?
The European relationship can only exist through human interaction. It is meeting people from different countries, different political parties and different backgrounds, and the exchanges with them that makes the European ideal become real and something worth fighting for. This is also one of the reasons why Point d’Aencrage decided to actively participate in the GFYL conferences. As we are working a lot on European issues, the GYFL community is a great opportunity to learn more about the challenges in the EU and discuss these issues with high quality speakers and educated participants. It is also a great event to meet interesting people with different backgrounds who are committed to make the European Union more real in day-to-day life.
How and have you been involved in German-French or European projects before?
I am the Vice-president of the French think tank Point d’Aencrage and we even have a representation in the German capital. As a French organisation, we run projects with different associations and think tanks in Germany, we conduct political analyses, share reports and participate in and contribute to conferences.
Is there anything that in your eyes represents Europe? If so, why?
Indeed! The school College of Europe with its many Europeans, all students from neighboring countries and even from outside the EU who are committed to learn more about Europe and to share ideals between them. It is like a privileged little Europe, really.
What makes you a “true“ European?
I feel European thanks to my travel experiences, my friends who come from all over the European Union, my studies that made me understand the fortune I have. Actually, the simple fact of showing my passport makes me feel European! I spent my first year abroad as a student in New York. I traveled a lot throughout the whole country and I met a lot of Europeans all speaking their different native tongues…while Americans only have English.
Can you think of a statistic about Europe that you would like to share with the world?
Apparently, one European citizen out of 10 is conceived in an Ikea bed!
GFYL, Point d’Aencrage, College of Europe, IKEA - what other inspiring initiatives or projects should the world know of?
SPECQUE - a French-speaking simulation of the European Parliament organized with Canadian students. It is an opportunity to share our views with non-European citizens. A true added value allowing us take some distance from our busy, sometimes frenetic, day-to-day European issues.
What role does the German-French friendship have in Europe?
The German-French friendship proves that everything is possible. It also shows that the maxim of « Alone, I go faster; together, we go further » is essential for the European project. However, the German-French friendship should not continue to be as hegemonic as it is today because it can block other European countries to really get engaged with the European project.
What is your personal link to the Franco-German friendship?
In the beginning, it was family and history. Now, I can say that my link to the German-French friendship is true friendship. Over the years I met great Germans who have become very close friends. So today it’s foremost a story about people.
What does the German-French friendship mean to you? Has it influenced you in any way?
The German-French friendship means that we should put people first. History, countries, economics, politics - all that comes later. Furthermore, the German-French friendship also taught me to believe in political symbols as they are also important to create bonds of trust.
What are your hopes for the German-French friendship for 2018 and beyond?
Though I believe in symbols, the Franco-German motor needs to go beyond political symbols and has to work on one joint project: the finalization of the Eurozone governance like common budget and tax harmonisation in order to continue to play a key role in European integration.
Apart from a harmonised Eurozone, what kind of initiative would you wish for Europe?
A European TV channel that goes beyond news and includes modern TV shows like Occupied, gameshows, cartoons, documentaries, etc. Actually, a full and potentially more inclusive European Arte channel ☺
Last but not least, what has been your favorite article recently?
My personal must read – Why women still can’t have it all!