The President of the French Republic declared that France was at war and invoked article 42 § 7 of the Treaty on European Union. The Member States “shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power”
However, no European leader has wanted to use this term.
The undeniable wave of popular solidarity which was shown to France has not found any concrete follow-up for the time being. This will certainly come. Will it be equal to the threat, whilst France has asked for military aid in Syria and Iraq and also in other theatres (Sahel, Lebanon, Central African Republic) where its armed forces are fighting on the front line on behalf of Europe?
There is something particular to the French. Now under attack they want to defend themselves and are arming themselves accordingly. France, which might be criticised for many reasons, is beyond reproach in terms of the know-how of its army and the competence of its police force, no can fault be found with its spirit of resistance, which is part of its soul. It has once again demonstrated the reality of these qualities.
Today the country is severely traumatised and is experiencing a deep feeling of solitude. The French fear that their European partners will shy away from the use of force.
But if the use of force is not enough to reduce terrorism, it is clear that the latter will not be overcome without force, in other words the only true proof of determination. Without a real, vigorous, asserted and evident European response, deep division will form between the French and Europe.
We now face a true urban guerrilla, led by an army that is organised as it would by a State, which is using the worst methods, as well as foreign and home-grown soldiers. It is our duty to fight this and this battle will go on for the long term. There will be more acts that are just as horrible and possibly worse. Be sure of this, they will strike everywhere, even if they start with those who are fighting.
For everyone, wherever they might live, a peril that endangers as many human lives destroys many certainties, starting with the most subtle of structures and the best justified means of prevention.
Since the beginning the European project has been based on the establishment of peace between the continent’s nations. It has succeeded beyond all of our expectations. Now it is under attack from the outside, and it must, as it is often the case in human history, learn to fight for its way of life and its values – for its survival in fact. And what does it matter if we call it something other than war! This really is what we are facing.