Head of the CERI International research centre at Sciences-Po Paris
Head of research and a professor at Sciences-Po, Christian Lequesne leads one of the largest international research centres in France, the CERI. He is a specialist in comparative literature. A Bruges College graduate, this eminent "eurologist" is notably specialised in Europe's foreign policy instruments and France's European policy.
Christian Lequesne headed the French centre for research in social sciences (CEFRES) in Prague from January 2004 to August 2006, before holding the Sciences Po-LSE chair at the London School of Economics and Political Science from September 2006 to August 2008. He has been director of the CERI since January 2009 and was a member (and vice-president) of Sciences-Po Paris' executive board from 2007 to 2013.
A member of the editorial committee for the Journal of European Integration and Perspectives (Prague), as well as the scientific councils for European policy and research, Christian Lequesne is also a regular columnist in the French daily Ouest France on European politics.
If we look at things from a historical perspective, we can see that the Germans have an old model, the Bismarckian model; this is even the oldest one. However, they have moved on to another paradigm. They have successfully done what other Europeans are trying to do without managing it so far.
Poland has come through the economic crisis without suffering its consequences. The period following the end of communism has been extremely prosperous for qualified people, who were able to find jobs quite easily. We are coming to the end of this. We can see that the current generation of children is finding things more difficult compared with previous generations over the past 20 years.
One thing that stands out for me in this research is the importance of everything relating to people’s physical integrity, such as their body, becoming ill and being mugged. In the hierarchy of fears, this comes before unemployment and financial risks, which tells us something about how Europeans relate to their individuality and health.
Looking beyond the risk assessment that may be carried out by individuals, we can ask ourselves whether a cultural pessimism exists in certain countries, which is part of their mindsets and has been for a long time.
The pragmatism of the British is based on a sort of common-sense liberalism. They adapt.
Today, if you can successfully show that you have reformed the system and that the State is working, this gives you considerable legitimacy. This is what Merkel has successfully achieved.
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