Strange indeed, the story of Michel Houellebecq's latest novel, Soumission, which appeared just before the attack on Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead, like an advance echo of the terrible events that have plunged France into mourning, and scaring stiff not only the author's friends but Houellebecq himself.
What has happened to our "Country of Enlightenment"? France has always bragged about being a model of coexistence where the universalist and color blind philosophy of our Republic was supposed to protect us from racial tension. If we don't want our country to plunge into the abyss, the republican fable we are telling has to come to an end.
French Jews certainly have had enough of all this. Are we still at home, they ask themselves, in this strange country where the vilest anti-Zionism, the stubbornest Holocaust denial, and the murkiest competition for victimhood are combining to produce a new and potentially devastating form of anti-Semitism?
Amidst veritable media frenzy, we hear the populists and their critiques loud and clear. It is time that someone stand up for the European project. So let us make the argument loudly: a strong, increasingly federal Europe is the best path to freedom, prosperity, and influence in the world. Interconnectedness is a reality, not a choice. In our era of globalization, national regulation is far less effective than continental regulation, which protects consumers from monopolies and unfair practices. From energy to roaming charges, the EU can regulate imperfect matters more effectively than national bodies ever could. In financial markets, the EU has been at the forefront of better regulation to prevent another crisis: from limits on bonuses to the European Central Bank's banking union, we are building a more resilient banking system to protect both depositors and taxpayers alike. Meanwhile the European single market is the key achievement of the Union that has improved standards of living for citizens in every single member state. Today, it provides a strong incentive for countries in the Union to support each other, a truth born out during the financial crisis.