Can you introduce yourself and tell us in a few words about your background and your local political commitments?
My name is Ariane Forgues and I am now 22. The shortest version of my background is that France is my passport country, and my roots are spread out from Southern France and Brittany to Normandy and Algeria. I first moved to France at the age of 15, after a childhood spent in Central Europe, West Africa and Hong Kong. Being a Third Culture Kid led me to get deeply interested in building intercultural ties beyond countries when I arrived in France.
My political commitments started in a non-partisan way at SciencesPo Paris when I got involved in Coexister, a French association promoting inter-religious dialogue and understanding. I then participated in the creation of a new branch of the Young European Movement at the University of St Andrews during my year abroad, where I strengthened my interest in European affairs.
In parallel, I decided to join the centrist Union des Démocrates et Indépendants (UDI) when this party was created by Jean-Louis Borloo back in 2012. I consider that being active in a political party remains one of the most efficient ways of making politics evolve, in addition to commitments within civil society.
I then became active in the UDI student branch at SciencesPo Paris, where I got elected as Communications Officer during my first Master’s degree. Now that I am back in the UK for an MSc in EU Politics at LSE, I became active again in the Young European Movement by joining its National Board for the year to come. This commitment complements my YDE responsibilities in the promotion of further European integration as a means to resolve the current crises faced by the EU.
Beyond your civic commitment, can you tell us what are your favorite activities / leisure activities?
I love discovering unusual places and hidden gems wherever I go, as well as enjoying foreign cultures (there is nothing like African dance, Latin music and Polish food). I also spend a lot of time reading books, from science fiction to heroic fantasy, to inspirational books (The Alchemist…) and French literature like Cyrano de Bergerac or Belle du Seigneur. And I can spend hours listening to some humorists – Pierre Desproges, Monty Python, Stéphane De Groodt, Raymond Devos.
Can you tell us the reasons for your involvement in the movement and your mission in this team?
I have been following EU politics for several years now, and am more convinced than ever in the necessity of a federal Europe (or federal core). An uncompleted Union with institutions still under construction leads to functioning problems – the only efficient solution is then to fully achieve European integration. Stopping halfway through then accusing the EU of structural problems makes no sense without a project to fix what is problematic and to enhance what works perfectly fine. In this sense my involvement in YDE stems from this willingness to participate in the political debate over European integration during times of growing Euroscepticism and potential renouncement of many of our elites in building bridges across countries.
I had the extraordinary opportunity to get involved in YDE as a representative of UDI Jeunes. My mission will be to focus on enhancing partnerships with outside organisations and potential candidates for YEM membership, building on the achievements of Sarah Robin and Pierre Bornand in my current role.
Finally, according to you, what should be the priority for Europe and YDE for the next year?
The greatest challenge the Union is now facing is, in my view, political outreach deficit. The EU has hard times reaching out to the citizens it is working for on a daily basis, since most people know little about European actions and achievements. National leaders, alongside national media, too easily give credit to Member States when an EU policy is efficient while putting the blame on European institutions in times of crisis. I would like to participate with YDE in explaining Europe’s stakes and Brussels’ machinery to European citizens, so as to reach an enlightened debate on the direction we want Europe to take.