Handelsblatt exclusive

Europe Needs a New Narrative

Pascal Lamy, French Politician, Interview, photographed in Paris (Photo by Stephane GRANGIER/Corbis via Getty Images)
After the devastating vote, Europe needs to draw closer, and find a new narrative, Pascal Lamy said to Handelsblatt.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Britain’s vote to withdraw from the European Union has deepened the bloc’s crisis of confidence.

  • Facts


    • British politicians are at odds with E.U. leaders over when to start negotiations to leave the European Union following last week’s Brexit vote.
    • Former E.U. Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy told Handelsblatt that Europe faces “very, very difficult times” and will be weakened by Brexit.
    • Mr. Lamy also called for greater integration, saying the European Union had failed over the last decade to deliver its promises of prosperity, security and progress.
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In an interview with Handelsblatt in his Paris Office, Mr. Lamy, one of the architects of the E.U. single market and the single currency, said the European Union needed to find a new narrative because the old one — that European integration ensured peace — no longer struck a chord with people.

The straight-talking French socialist, who served as chief of staff to Commission President Jacques Delors between 1984 and 1994 and was Commissioner for Trade, left no doubt that the Brexit vote and the stagnation in the European Union angered him. Europe, the 69-year old said, must throw down the gauntlet to the populists who are decrying it.

Mr. Lamy, who was director of the World Trade Organization between 2005 and 2013 and now works as a political consultant, also suggested that the answer to Britain’s withdrawal lay in more integration, which would put him at odds with politicians including German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble who have said closer ties among E.U. nations would be the wrong answer to the devastating vote.

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