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BROYER Martin

De: COLLOMBAT Benoît


Envoyé: mardi 10 décembre 2019 18:17
À: BROYER Martin
Objet: Communiqué en anglais de Nicolas Berggruen sur le rejet de la candidature de
Sylvie Goulard

 
  
Statement from Nicolas Berggruen on the Rejection of Sylvie Goulard:  
  
I was astonished to learn that Sylvie Goulard, one of the Continent’s most sensible, competent and knowledgeable political
figures who has devoted all her many talents to building Europe, was rejected as France’s nomination for the European
Commission, in part because of her association with the Berggruen Institute. In the digital-era manner of misinformation,
fake news and unfounded inuendo, the Institute was cast darkly as a “North American think tank,” as if we were somehow
an arm of the CIA, a branch of some rapacious multinational corporation or simply soiled because we exist on the territory
ruled by Donald Trump. 
 
It was more remarkable still that not a single parliamentarian, investigatory staff, or EU official reached out to us to learn
who we are or what we do. And, to my knowledge, none of the relevant parties made the effort to read either of the two
readily available books I’ve written with my co-founder and co-author Nathan Gardels, that explain in great detail the local
to global scope of our activities.  
 
In the interest of setting the record straight and clearing away any false aspersions cast on Goulard and the Institute, I would
like to share some information about us with parliamentarians and other European citizens who care to listen. 
 
First of all, I personally am deeply rooted in Europe. I was born of two German parents in Paris and retain dual US-German
citizenship. A pillar of my life has been, and continues to be, the Berggruen Museum in Berlin that houses one of the most
extensive collections of Picasso, Matisse, Klee and Giacometti that my father gathered over many years and donated to the
German state.  
 
Second, the Berggruen Institute was conceived, and is, a global “think and action tank” which hosts a range of activities.
We are entirely independently financed. We receive no funding from any government or business in Europe, the U.S. or
China. 
 
Each year we award the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture at the New York Public Library to an eminent thinker
whose ideas are relevant to our immediate times. This year the award will go to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader-
Ginsburg to highlight the importance of the rule of law in liberal societies. 
 
We also have a unique project of placing philosophers and ethicists on-site to follow and evaluate advances in labs
developing artificial intelligence and synthetic biology. And we have established a China Center at Beijing University to
enhance cultural exchanges between East and West. 
 
But our main activity over the years has concerned the governance of democratic societies in crisis and global governance
in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial meltdown and the ensuing years of the euro-crisis. 
 
Each of these activities involves a non-partisan council of prominent public figures focused on finding ways to transcend
polarization, paralysis and geo-political conflict to reach a governing consensus.  
 
In California, where we are based, the Think Long Committee, comprised of former governors, speakers of the assembly,
business and labor leaders along with community activists, has worked closely with legislators and successive governors to
foster reform of the citizen-initiated referendum system and bring the tax code of the state’s information and service
economy into the 21st century.  
 

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The 21st Century Council was formed in 2010 to address issues arising across the advanced and emerging economies in the
wake of the global financial crisis. It is composed of several Nobel laureates, former heads of state and innovative
entrepreneurs. A full list can be found here. https://www.berggruen.org/people/group/21st-century-council/ 
 
In the early years we met with the chairs of the annual G-20 summit to advise on the summit agenda. In more recent years
we have met regularly with Chinese President Xi Jinping and others in the Chinese leadership as a bridge of communication
and understanding with the world’s pre-eminent rising power as tensions rise between East and West. 
 
And finally, there is the Council for the Future of Europe, for which we hired Sylvie Goulard to help guide and manage
from 2013-2015 precisely because of her deep grasp of the challenges facing European integration. This Council was entirely
focused on those issues. To that end, at the suggestion of one of our members, Gerhard Schroeder, we held several “town
hall” meetings, the first in Berlin, then one in Paris (with then President Francois Hollande) and one in Madrid (with then
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy) as well as a roundtable in Italy (with then Prime Minister Mario Monti) -- all to chart out
ideas for the path ahead for Europe. Participants in those meetings including all the legendary builders of a common Europe
–from Jacques Delors and Helmut Schmidt to Felipe Gonzalez – as well as a consortium of students looking to the future
from Sciences Po, the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and the London School of Economics. A full list of members
can be found here. https://www.berggruen.org/people/group/cfe/ They range from Sweden’s Carl Bildt to Poland’s
Marek Belka and Switzerland’s Doris Leutard. 
 
For a meeting in Brussels in 2014, Sylvie Goulard joined with Mario Monti in writing a paper that addressed one of the
more vexing issues of the EU: whether and how to count productivity-enhancing infrastructure investment in budget debt
ceilings. 
 
How all this would somehow be a negative with respect to Goulard’s confirmation is beyond my comprehension. I could
not say it better than Humboldt University’s Ingolf Pernice did in Verfassungsblog on Oct. 21:
https://verfassungsblog.de/fairness-trust-and-the-rule-of-law/Etc.  
 
He wrote… “Two former Prime Ministers and longtime members of EU institutions, Mario Monti and Guy Verhofstadt –
have officially testified, in a letter of October 1st to the President of the EP and made available to the Committees holding
the hearings, her commitment to the pro-European objectives of the Council, the absence of any relationship to the business
interests of Nicolas Berggruen, and the detailed reasons why there was no potential or actual conflict of interest with her
activity as MEP.”  
 
He adds: “It is difficult to see how working for the Berggruen Institute and in particular for the ‘Council for the Future of
Europe’ could raise conflicts of interest. The remuneration was in line with international standards, taking into account the
high level of the work requested, given the composition of the Council, and the background, experiences and skills of Sylvie
Goulard.”  
 
As much of the world tilts these days toward authoritarianism and populism, we are all counting on the sober minds of
Europe’s governing institutions to hold back the tide. For those august bodies to fall into the kind of petty partisanship and
divisiveness that afflicts so many nation states today and diminishes the historic project of European unity.