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A dramaturgy of European solidarity

Minute of silence in the European Parliament (credit: PE)
Minute of silence in the European Parliament (credit: PE)

(BRUXELLES2) The attacks in Paris at the beginning of January, in Copenhagen and Tunis in March, the GermanWings plane crash... for several months now, dramatic events have followed one another that stem from European dramaturgy.

Each time, more or less intensely, the European leaders come together, present their condolences, commemorate, lower the flags and demonstrate their unity. And the press of most European countries make it a leading event.

In Paris, the march of January 11 was a very strong moment of this solidarity. The march in Tunis should also be today (March 29). The rapid arrival of the two European leaders most concerned, Angela Merkel and Mariano Rajoy alongside François Hollande, last Wednesday (March 25), near the crash of the A320 in Seyne les Alpes, is also symbolic.

These events are however very different in their fundamentals: two attacks committed on a national territory (Paris & Copenhagen) affecting nationals but having an external symbolic aim (affecting the European way of life); an attack outside European territory (Bardo museum in Tunis) but affecting and targeting mainly European nationals; a plane crash on national territory involving a company and causing mainly European victims (A320 crash).

This dimension of solidarity is not automatically new. During the attacks in Madrid in 2004 and in London in 2005, there were also these demonstrations of solidarity in dramatic moments. But, rarely, the sequence had been so close, for events with a very different tone. And there is a desire to come together, all together, united in the face of adversity or an adversary, to feel supported. This European dimension does not, however, create a feeling of European citizenship, but it contributes to it indirectly. And, in a very concrete way, too, it illustrates politically the "European solidarity clause", included in the Lisbon Treaty, but never officially triggered.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).