Monica Frassoni, Dany Cohn-Bendit, Sepp Kusstatscher. Alexander Langer, Ten Years After
Dec 11, 2004, Preface to the Book The Importance of Mediators, Bridge Builders, Wall Vaulters and Frontier Explorers
All who have known Alex have recurrently referred to him as mediator, bridge builder, wall vaulter or frontier crosser. He was all of this combined. And we know how badly we would still need him with us, not only for his foresightedness, but also for his innovative thinking and communication ability. And certainly, he, together with another important personality who left us too soon, Adelaide Aglietta, would have made us more effective, more convincing, more determined in our fight for a European Union able to play a leading role of peace and democracy inside and outside its borders.
Reading today his texts on the need of a constitutional reform of the EU after Maastricht, on enlargement, on the International Criminal Court and the peace civil corps, or “Europe will either die or be reborn in Sarajevo”, reproduced in this Anthology, is stunning: it is as if Alex had already outlined all the priorities and the work-programme of the Green Group in the EP in the last ten years together with the very process which led, last year, in Rome, to the founding of the European Green Party.
We are aware of this legacy and we want to keep it alive. Memory is very short in politics, but we do not want to forget. Also because some of Alex’s ideas and proposals gained a consensus that went well beyond our political family and he is still remembered in our institution as one of its more marking members.
His ideas of conflict prevention and the importance of non-military dimension as a defining and vital element of the European security and defence policy (for many Greens an unacceptable concept in itself at that time), and the civil peace corps are today included in the Treaty establishing the Constitution for Europe; this thanks mostly to the work of the EP delegation in the Convention. Most of the members of that delegation did not know Alex. But those concepts have been for a long time a common patrimony of the whole Parliament and the Greens are proud of this.
But this Anthology deserves to be valued also because some of Alex’s proposals and thoughts did not take a wrinkle in these ten years. Today, it is more difficult than ever to gather consensus around the project of a “sustainable Europe” and we are facing a serious step back into the old ideas of continuous and endless growth, deregulation and competition based on labour price as the only recipe to get Europe out of its present impasse and lack of faith and trust in a “friendlier” future; and today it is all the more refreshing to read what Alex thought on the urgency of outlining a clear commitment to social and ecological re-conversion at EU level or his beautiful words “lentius, profundius, suavius” (slower, deeper, softer) defining a lifestyle where quality, simplicity, peace, beauty and togetherness are the right approach also to politics.
The July 2005 ceremonies in Srebenica, Sarajevo and Tuzla we will not only commemorate the most brutal massacre in Europe after the second World war (and Alex’s death). They will also say that all the tragedies, the destructions and the divisions which that war left are not yet mended: a new initiative of the EU is urgently needed, because peace in the Balkans is not yet irreversible and its basis is too fragile. We will go there with proposals and ideas, and once again Alex and his thoughts and proposals will be there together with the memory of the immense strength and patience that was such an important feature of his, till that sunny day in Florence ten years ago.
Monica Frassoni, Dany Cohn-Bendit, Sepp Kusstatscher
11 December 2004
Preface to the Book The Importance of Mediators, Bridge Builders, Wall Vaulters and Frontier Explorers