Sovereignty in all its states...
Sovereignty, a concept that was popularized in public discourse particularly during the covid-19 pandemic, when every French person realized that we were no longer able to manufacture even masks or paracetamol! But this was also true for many other products and industries.
I’d like to take advantage of this summer episode to draw your attention to the fact that our de-industrialization and loss of sovereignty continue, despite the speeches of our leaders, or even the lofty titles given to certain ministries such as that of the economy and industrial and digital
sovereignty! I’d like to give you a few points to help you see the ever-widening gulf between the rhetoric at the highest levels of government and the concrete reality on the ground!
But first of all, I think it’s worth pointing out why it’s so important to regain our industrial, digital, economic and cultural sovereignty, and that it’s in no way a question of turning in on ourselves, contrary to what the opponents of this concept would have us believe, those whose ideology is dominant in Parisian political-media-administrative-economic circles in particular.
Sovereignty is an important element of resilience for humanity in general. If we take a biological metaphor, a monoculture of one type of corn or wheat makes production sensitive to the parasites or diseases that attack this type of wheat or corn… From my point of view, the same applies to the economy and technology, wanting to standardize the world with one way of thinking or conceiving global and economic organization, can only induce systemic fragility! (the argument is weak) Furthermore, even if there is no consensus on the subject, relocating production, whether industrial, digital or food, would be a way of reducing our global climate impact. It is indeed inept to want to reduce people’s travel if we continue to make equipment and consumer goods travel thousands of unnecessary kilometers!
Let’s get back to the main topic, which is the advancement of the concept of sovereignty. Where do we stand? Why, I’m pessimistic about the real progress of the concept, given the reality of repeated events which, taken in isolation, might not raise any more concern than that, but whose repetition points us to something, which from my point of view is quite ominous!
What are these latest events, and of course they’re not the only ones?
A first very concrete example of our loss of sovereignty concerns energy, of course! The 10% rise in electricity costs announced at the beginning of August is a case in point. This artificial increase in electricity costs (Les Rendez-vous de l’Actu – Nicolas Meilhan) is one of the reasons for the carnage among our VSEs and SMEs…
solutions do exist, such as suspending the arenh mechanism, as various experts in the field have been calling for for months, and as recommended in the report by the parliamentary commission of inquiry into the reasons for our loss of energy sovereignty (L’histoire du saccage de notre souveraineté énergétique, que dit le rapport d’enquête parlementaire?). Let’s not talk about getting out of the European agreements that force us to align our production costs with those of the latest (German…) gas-fired power plant, whereas our largely amortized nuclear production enables us to have much lower costs… Above all, defending German industrial interests is the motto of our leaders, senior civil servants with no vision or imagination!
Another recent example concerns a French leader in digital services: ATOS. In a situation in which the group placed itself, probably due to a lack of strategic vision, it was obliged to propose a demerger of its activities into Tech Foundations (consulting & outsourcing) and Eviden (cyber, AI and supercomputing). Although French investors existed, they were ousted in favor of Daniel Kretinsky (Czech), who would take full control of the Tech Foundations division and acquire a 7.5% stake in Eviden, according to Challenges. What’s most worrying is that ATOS plays a key role in France’s national defense: it is in charge of securing communications for the army and intelligence services, and is also the specialist in nuclear test simulation, an essential building block of our deterrent… As Kretinsky’s wiki biography indicates, he is not only a fervent supporter of economic and cultural liberalism, but above all a supporter of NATO… Is this a clear-cutting of our industrial interests for the benefit of the Americans? We have every right to wonder.
For those who think that sovereignty should be dealt with at European level, which is utter nonsense, the news on this front is no better. A few weeks after the American Fiona Scott Morton renounced her candidacy for the post of chief economist at the European Commission, in the face of strong opposition from Margrethe Vestager and Ursula Von der Leyen (the latter eager to please the Americans, with her appointment to the presidency of NATO as a reward?), it seems that someone close to Fiona Scott Morton has been approached for the same post. It’s Florian Ederer, who has dual Austrian (phew, finally a European) and American (Caramba, missed again!) nationality(Le Figaro – 14/05/23) ! It seems that our subjugation to the Americans is more than ever in the pipeline, and this cannot satisfy any politician who wants to see Europe play a role in the world to come!
With regard to the European Commission’s recruitment processes, and the iniquitous agreement reached on data transfer to the US under the pretext of a so-called adequacy between American and European laws; Jean-Marie Cavada (vidéo), European convinced calls for a parliamentary commission of inquiry!
Unfortunately, we can only observe a gulf between words and deeds, and yet when we want to, we find solutions that perpetuate companies that we were ready to sell to the Americans, such as Photonis, which the government refused to let Teledyne (US) buy. The company’s industrial development has been accelerated and consolidated for the benefit of the BITD (Defence Industrial and Technological Base).
It’s crucial that we don’t give up, and that we fight tooth and nail to preserve and increase our industrial and digital sovereignty, but not only that. Indeed, to be sovereign is in a way to demonstrate Social and Environmental Responsibility (SER) by promoting local employment and the perpetuation of know-how and skills, but also by reducing our environmental impact imposed by globalization and its complex supply chains which mean that products travel several times around the world. A sovereignist approach is a responsible approach whose aim is not to close ourselves off from others, but to put ourselves in a position to enter into balanced relationships of intelligent exchange, limiting deadly dependency relationships to the strict minimum!