Summer/Fall 2007

European Leaders Should Stop Scapegoating EU

L’ Europe n’est pas ce que vous Croyez [“Europe Is Not What You Think It Is”] Talks with Baudouin Bollaert
By Jacques Barrot
Foundation Robert Schuman, Albin Michel Press, 2007, 240 pages

Reviewed by Alexandra Chevalier

Jacques Barrot, a veteran center-right French politician who is vice-president of the European Commission and Commissioner of Transport, sets out in his new book to tackle criticisms and misconceptions about the “European project” that have spread among his fellow French citizens. These grass-roots uncertainties surfaced brutally in the French “no” to the draft European Constitution in 2005, the year after he took up his post in Brussels. Barrot, who had been Minister for Employment and Social Affairs and then parliamentary leader of the Union for a Popular Movement, the majority party supporting the presidential aspirations of Nicolas Sarkozy, clearly feels a didactic mission to clear up the often wrong picture of the EU among its citizens, starting in his own country. His concern about the gap with the facts is evident in his blunt title: “Europe is Not What You Think It Is.”