How has Europe changed in your lifetime?

Question: How has Europe changed in your lifetime?

Philippe Cayla: For a French man of my age  I am born in after the Second World War the first environment I lived in was coming up from my parents experience, the fact that we were in the aftermath of the Second World War. And when I was born, everything in France was still a little difficult. It was hard times for French and for all European people. And as you very well know, France is …. We developed rather rapidly, and we covered the growth and instead of … before the Second World War. But it lasted at least 15, 20 years up to the 60s. And the 60s was the time when Europe recovered completely. It was very much marked by the Beatles and the U.K., the Pop music which … will remember. And the European Union, in fact, started at the same time. If you remember, the Rome Treaty was signed in 1957. So the 60s were the start of the European Union. At the time, it was … market. So it was limited to economic ground; but in fact it created a very positive environment for the development of each European country. And you must also remember that at the time, Germany was divided. And … of the French at the time is very much reflected in … a reflection of a French writer named Francois Mauriac. I don't know if you know it. It was, “I love so much Germany that I wish there would be three of them. Of course for France, it was a good period of time because it was … in Europe. Germany was divided. The U.K. was recovering rather slowly from the Second World War, which … very much. And the government at the time, if you remember, there was a very socialist government which had been very much been developing in the country. … in the 80s. So in the 60s and the 70s in France, there was a lot of optimism. And the … and even was … . The Frenchman … many questions. Many countries fancy themselves as leaders in Europe. After that, in the 80s, after … during the reign of … during the reign of the … there began to be a slow economic decline to the socialization of the economies. And all of a sudden came the breakdown of the Berlin Wall in, which created a completely new environment in Europe with a united Germany. And with time … We took a lot of time, because in Germany, Germans had to solve their own problems between western and eastern Germany, which are not completely solved today. But nevertheless recovered rapidly. And due to their size, due to the number of their population, and to their natural industry, which they inherited from a long history, in fact they became more or less leaders in European economy. But whether they are the leaders in political terms is debatable, because even with … which is a very good chancellor, you don't see the chairmen wanted too much to lead Europe. Because of the …, because of the history, they are very cautious. And if you consider the recent bad relationship with the Pols, and what the Pols are saying, … Germany, I think they are reasonable to be cautious. And so for France, and for U.K., and also for Italy and Spain, there is a role to play. And there is no natural leader in Europe today. There are five other countries competing with each other to take leadership, but it's a game.

Recorded on: 7/2/07

 

Philippe Cayla of EuroNews on the evolution of post-War Europe.

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