Hon. Michel Rocard, Chair of France (Pacific Territories) committee for PECC (2001-2016) and former prime minister of France (1988-1991) lost his battle to cancer and passed away at the age of 85 on July 2nd 2016 in Paris. He is survived by his wife and four children.
As an ardent supporter of regional integration and cooperation, as the Chair of FPTPEC, he devoted much energy to encourage and promote the work of PECC to the French authorities and abroad. He has always demonstrated an acute interest particularly in sustainable development issues, and the social aspects of globalization.
He also served as the Minister of Territorial Development in 1981 to 1983 followed by Minister of Agriculture in 1983 to 1985, both under President Mitterrand. From 1994 to 2009, he served as a member of the European Parliament.
One of his immediate achievements upon assuming his post as the Prime Minister was the negotiation of Matignon Accords that brought truce between the separatists and loyalists in New Caledonia, a French territory. He continued to remain deeply interested in developments in the French Pacific Territories and actively supported their engagements in PECC process throughout his chairmanship of FPTPEC.
“You have watched the ups and downs of European construction over the years. It’s part of history now. I don’t intend actually to tell you that “you should do the same.” Things are different in the Asia-Pacific area, times are different, culture is different and we must respect everyone’s specific character and pace of change.
But my message to Asia-Pacific might be like this: Why not build upon the “open regionalism” which is the goal of APEC and PECC? This already provides a direction, and an incentive to develop regional integration in a constructive spirit, region by region, taking into account constraints and disparities. Regionalism is not inconsistent with globalization and liberalization. It can even be regarded as a stepping-stone. From what I have just told you, you can see that regionalism is probably the best way for opening up economies to the world.” (from the 14th General Meeting of PECC, November 30th 2001, Hong Kong)
“Economy is a product of welfare and profit, which is excellent naturally, but not a product of enthusiasm although it is a necessary component. European enterprises began clearly with the will to make wars impossible in the continent. Economy was a way to pass through political blockages. (…) regional cooperation grew significantly when all actors felt free to build bilateral/ multilateral projects. It easily begins with trade naturally, but trade cannot create emotion and enthusiasm. Trade itself is neither the whole of an economy nor the whole of society. However, heavy investment, for instance, needs some common economic and financial interests, and some strategic interests naturally need deep mutual knowledge.” (from the 16th General Meeting of PECC, September 2005, Seoul, Korea)
In May 2016, he chaired the annual meeting of FPTPEC and until the very last days he has contributed to discussions on formulating the future work and organization of FPTPEC. His presence and vigor will be greatly missed by the entire PECC community.