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De Flaubert or how to seduce the French eurosceptic | Opinion

France celebrates this Sunday the first round of the legislative elections and everything indicates that the vote will portray, once again, a very eurosceptic country. It is possible that, thanks to the distortion produced by the French electoral system, President Macron’s pro-European group will end up achieving a majority. But the truth is another and should not be forgotten.

Only 32% of the French tend to trust the EU, According to the latest Eurobarometer, compared to 47% on average in the Union as a whole. The sum of more or less Eurosceptic formations will be very majority. The polls give, in a technical tie with the Macron formation, 28% to the Mélenchon group —whose presidential program defended breaching the treaties when they are not convenient—, 20% to Le Pen and 6% to Zemmour. The traditional conservatives —the Republicans, with 11% voting intention— are not formally Eurosceptic, but they have been highly contaminated by this ideology and several of their presidential candidates promised referendums to affirm the primacy of French law over community law, a torpedo in the waterline of the common project. France, the founding country and key element, along with Germany, of the EU, has long had a wide mistrust of it. It is the country of the great no to the European Constitution in the 2005 referendum, and it is still nailed down.

Euroscepticism is registered to a great extent in the working classes, among the unemployed, among citizens with less education. But it is not a monolithic block of frontal rejection. One part is genuine phobia; another is a more diffuse sentiment. Everything is cooked in a broth of disgust at capitalism, globalization, various liberal ideas, and is also made of attachment to values ​​associated with the nation. For the EU to take the leap forward it needs, a greater degree of consensus in that key country is essential, to reconquer —Zemmour would say— those of the diffuse segment.

Dissolving these knots requires a powerful mix of politics and narratives. There has been something of both in past years, for example with European funds and with the concept of the “Europe that protects” raised by Macron. But it will take much more to make Europeanism vibrate in France. It will take a prodigy of imagination to trace a path that avoids all the mines and is viable, that does not step on taboos and makes people feel. Rationality, didactics, the explicit are not enough or do not work. The nationalist counterpart evokes feelings in a brutal way. It will be necessary to decapitate that petrifying Medusa with a subtle ingenuity that evokes, in another way, other feelings.

Gustave Flaubert managed to write one of the most sensual passages in the history of literature without describing any intimate relationship and without even mentioning any part of the human body. Emma Bovary and Léon, fired by a deep reciprocal attraction, get into a carriage in Rouen. The usually omniscient narrator steps back. And we all remain suspended outside the carriage with the curtains lowered, following from the outside its infinite turns through the streets of the city while the locals watch in amazement the apparently inexplicable coming and going of the vehicle. Whoever has at least a drop of blood in their veins flies high imagining the culmination of the attraction that had to flourish inside that car, behind those curtains. In this prodigious way, the master avoided the limitations of contemporary morality and censorship —for which he was sued— and achieved his goal of making us vibrate with eroticism, one of the essential aspects of life, which he wanted to portray in its entirety. in his masterpiece.

It will take a political equivalent of Flaubertian genius to dodge the landmines and taboos of prevailing morality and strike the chord that resonates. We will also have to think outside the ordinary binary of classical policies —how much Europeanism has Erasmus built?—. How much they are missed, how much they would come in handy, the power and elegance of Gustave’s lofty imagination, the irreducible search and infallible finding of the exact word that builds worlds, in this time flooded by crude exhibition, by words that are they slip uselessly through your fingers, because of a crushing speed that spawns so many superficial lives and thoughts, because of an inability to find unexpected paths to get around life’s blockages.

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