‘EU governance system to spread across whole planet’
De Montbrial shared his vision that “100-200 years from now, the EU will extend to the whole planet” – because, he believes, it is the next form of government.
The EU is experimenting with fresh ways of governing as the world moves in the direction of globalization, but this is a difficult and long process, argues de Montbrial. He says the crisis will only hasten the invention of new schemes of governance.
The EU’s governing system is “the most interesting model in politics that has been invented since World War Two,” and if the EU fails because of the euro crisis it will represent a catastrophe for every one of its members and, indeed, the whole world, Thierry de Montbrial insists.
The global future of the European model is also backed by the fact that the US is “no longer the hegemon.” It is “the beginning of the end” for the US, and end which will be evolutionary and will take decades to complete.
Still, Thierry de Montbrial says, “Europe is not yet a single, unified decision maker, especially for foreign policy, and I think it will take decades before Europe can act as a single voice in international affairs.”
No EU candidacy for Russia
Though Thierry de Montbrial agrees that Russia is a part of Europe, he does not believe that Russia could ever become a part of the EU.
He dismissed the very idea due to the fact that “Russia is much too big and Europe has [already] enlarged a lot since the collapse of the Soviet Union 20 years ago. And we have not digested the newcomers,” de Montbrial confessed, “and don’t forget the huge controversy with Turkey.”
“I cannot imagine the candidacy of Russia at a time when we’re still struggling and debating among ourselves about Turkey,” he said.
“Russia has done quite a remarkable 20 years despite huge difficulties during a transition period. But most Westerners underestimate or do not recognize enough the nightmare of the collapse of the Soviet Union, with all of its institutions and business and economic ties,” Thierry de Montbrial said, while expressing hope that the model of the Russian state would gradually transform into a more liberal one.
He revealed that the image of Russia is greatly distorted in the West due to the “tendency of looking at Russia in a very ideological way.”
Thierry de Montbrial said the consequences of constant criticism of Russia by those who have never even visited the country will, in the end, be negative.
The expert also criticized Russia’s traditional support of “autocrats and dictators.”
“You’ve got to be much too conservative to be on the side of [people like] Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar Assad or Kim Jong-il – it cannot be a long-term policy,” he stated.