“Alexandre Alé de Basseville is a leader with a vision that can open the eyes of many, young or old, to bring inspiration, aspiration, innovation and growth back into Europe. While keeping each European country’s identity, Basseville’s ideas will allow for a more powerful Europe by introducing a Federalist Europe, similar to creating a United States of Europe with all the benefits that that will bring. Europe needs this kind of strong and charismatic leader, a politician who is already a businessman, an art director, an energy expert, an economic and finance professional, and a cultural chameleon with a proven international track record. As a diplomat with global international experience, he has met with many government and business leaders all over the world, qualifying him to be a great European ambassador who can interact with other nations and successfully build new diplomatic relationships. His multi-lingual approach and strategic vision to bring Europe into its New Golden Age will influence many not only to vote for him, but also to gain new positive vibes to work on a flourishing Europe.
As an entrepreneur and creative director, Alexandre Alé de Basseville has spent decades traveling the world to pursue business ventures in finance and develop his career as a couture fashion photographer. But the way it all started for him is just as fascinating as where it brought him to today.
Alexandre Alé de Basseville was born into a family with connections to Norwegian royalty, and he is one of the last descendants of the very first King Harald of Norway, a line that boasts direct descent from the Viking and Norman kings of old. Raised by his grandparents who found great wealth through oil developments in the Middle East, the young de Basseville was instructed from an early age about the duty of the noble title he bore. With a remarkable, almost photographic memory, he learned about his personal family history, the various conquests, the multiple changes throughout the European empire and the schools of thought under which it expanded.
Naturally, there was ample family expectation for de Basseville to become a strong man who accomplished great achievement in life. However, his suffering from a genetic disability that partially disabled him made his life not always easy, and has made him confront deep emotions, sacrifice and suffering. However, though the experiences were negative, it gave him a strong and solid foundation of understanding what the world and people are about. Altogether, this resulted in a personal base for strong political ideas that require and demand change.
Fascinated by the world of contemporary art that surrounded him, in his adolescence he took to painting and photography. Most of all, he found great inspiration in the work of Andy Warhol’s paintings, and even garnered exclusive advice from and relationship with the art icon.
After studying art at the the La Scuola d’Arte in Milan, Italy, de Basseville expanded his art interests into sculpture, some of which were surprisingly composed of fabric, as well as a unique method of painting on leather. As his role in the art world grew, navigating fashion runways in France and working as a creative director with international groups, de Basseville turned his influential role into a tool for good, drawing from the deep message of his childhood and the duty of his title.
Partly inspired by his own personal struggle with a disability and the speeches of the late Elizabeth Taylor who was a strong advocate in the fight against AIDS, de Basseville began a campaign to mobilize volunteers and harvest funds for a variety of non- governmental organizations. He also works with The Womanity Foundation, started by Mr. Yann Borgstedt in 2005, as a means to “empower girls and women to shape their future and accelerate progress within their communities.” The Womanity Foundation supports women artisans, works to eradicate child labor, and offers educational assistance throughout Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Israel, Morocco, and the Palestinian Territories.
Currently, de Basseville has shifted his focus in a unique way that combines his years of global experience and his work with people from all walks of life to now serve in the political sphere.
As the French representative of the CTI Party (Culture, Tradition, Identity), de Basseville is running in the 2014 European Parliament elections. He believes in the power of establishing a truly United Europe whose strength is found in the commonality of individual European nations and their combined commitment to the future. His innovative strategy for transforming Europe includes establishing energy technology as a viable means of financially supporting the future, annulling the separate two-party system as a way to achieve prosperity for all, and even making English a second- language for all of Europe.
Under the banner of “Ushering Europe into Its New Golden Age,” de Basseville is a visionary whose collective life experiences are being channeled into fresh service for his fellowman, all of which is nothing less than inspirational. From his personal life philosophy of “living for today,” de Basseville is a breath of fresh air for Europe, a man who is ready to take action where others just talk.
EYES IN™ Magazine has endorsed this innovative cultural creator and compliments Alexandre Alé de Basseville on his braveness to share his concerns about Europe with the world. He is not afraid to speak out about his innovative vision and solutions to heal Europe. His dream of polishing the masterpiece that is Europe begins with those who support him with their vote. His dream is possible—to let Europeans aspire to economic freedom that will enhance their lives, talents, and families, and lead to those dreams of success, happiness and well-being.”
With his astounding knowledge of European history, he understands the past of Europe and how it got to where it is today. But most of all, he has a clear and bold vision to restore Europe, one that is not just based on circulating ideas and rhetoric, but really making the decisions that will bring Europe into a prosperous future— clearing the government of corruption, ensuring equal rights for women, setting energy technologies, developments and focus as the primary market, fostering entrepreneurial growth and inspiration, and networking with nations to bring the European population up-to-par with modern technology.
“My family did teach me that nothing is impossible and that I have the world in my hands.”
A Conversation with H.R.H. and European Parliament Candidate: Alexandre Alé de Basseville
As a child, what did you want to become?
I wanted to be the Pope. In the Vatican, there is the Cardinal as well, who is prince-like, so you get the two sides. If you remember correctly, the Prince of Salzburg was the Prince Cardinal of Salzburg. The history of the Catholic Church reveals there were always two functions of the pope, one as a head of state and one as a religious leader, making the point that the Vatican was not a religion, but a state. That’s why. And therefore the Pope was not only a religious person, but moreover the leader of the Vatican. He was involved, but a leader at the same time and he’s representing the religion of Catholics and Christians.
So you didn’t see being Pope as necessarily a matter of religion, but a way to help lead the state?
In which town did you grow up?
I grew up in different towns. In Bordeaux, France; the Vatican City; the South of France; and in some parts of Switzerland and Germany. I grew up a little bit around the world, really.
And is it true that you were raised by your grandparents? How did that affect you?
Yes, I was. There was a lot afforded to me as a legal prince. To my grandfather, everything was committed to me. I didn’t realize this until a long time after. I cannot talk to him today and ask him why he did that, but I am grateful.
Some people in the Viking tribes believe in some prophecy, the Druidic prophecy of Merlin. It talks about a Prince from the North who will bring together the East and the West. A lot of people had always believed that I was that one. I have no idea about that, but honestly, it makes me laugh. Then it makes me scared too. I am not the one they think I am. There was so much with the Vatican and with being a Prince and growing up around Cardinal Guyot who was such a great help to me. He was the Secretary General of the Vatican, sort of like the Prime Minister. He was really important because he was very close to Pope John XXIII, and involved in the revolution of the Catholic system and the vision of what the Catholic Church could be. But he was also attached to the old way of the Church. He once told me something that really stuck with me. He said, “I love the Latin Mass. It is beautiful. But for the regular people, they cannot even understand it.” I understood what he was telling me, that the Latin Mass celebrated tradition, but for the regular people it was important that the priest was the symbol of Christ and the link between humanity and God.
Why was that expression so influential to you?
Because even though the Vatican lives and operates like 500 years ago, they still have a vision for the future. They cannot move the political establishment, but they still present themselves in modern ways. It’s a struggle. Just like I cannot lead with just my tradition or leave it; I use modern ways to communicate and support my tradition and improve my tradition.
Do you think your background has influenced your various professions? If so, what specific element in your background is most pervasive in influencing your current approach in your work?
I would say that relaxation has influenced me the most. I chose to be an artist not for the fun of it, but for the relaxation. As an artist, when you make a photo or a piece of art, you relax. You are not stressed. You get into another world, the twelfth zone. That was a good side of art, that is and was a freedom for me. Growing up, my family could never catch me or grab me because I always wanted that free feeling. Choosing art as an profession was also an escape towards the conventions of the family.
On the other hand, since the age of seven years old I’ve been really interested in the oil industry, not because of my family’s connection, but because of a genuine interest. I remember the day in school when I learned about geology. The lesson was all about oil, and I was fascinated with the mineral. I knew something was happening in my brain as I learned about it. When I went home, I asked my grandfather about it and he said, “Let me bring you to one of the refineries.” I knew a bit about the business to begin with, but after that chance to develop a relationship with the oil my interest grew even stronger. And it wasn’t just as a way to make money, because my grandfather didn’t want us to live off of something drilled. He was always saying that even though that’s how the family business operated, it wasn’t a reason to just live off that money. He was aware of the fact that the money could disappear, and that we should always work hard and not just be a novelty or do whatever we wanted. He drilled into us that we have a duty in this life. Yes, we have rights, but they also come with a duty.
“International leaders who do not share a same language cannot make peace factors of reality because they cannot create that connection.”
So, on one hand you grew up with somewhat rigid and defined expectations from your family to fulfill your duty in life, while on the other hand you found a form of release and relaxation via art? You found a way to have the best of both worlds?
Yes, but at the same there were moments in my early adult life where things were very risky. For example, I once visited one of the oil refineries in the Middle East. A lot of people don’t realize that you cannot go to those locations without carrying a gun. It’s just like if you lived in Paris and you leave your house, you never leave without your keys—it’s as simple as that. In the Middle East, you don’t leave home without your gun. It’s not a game. It’s to defend yourself because at any moment you could be kidnapped by people who don’t have a clear vision of what is right. They could kill you for 50 bucks and it’s not a big deal, because you are not a part of their own community. It’s a different eye for detail in that part of the world…everyone’s life is so different.
Which basic elements of creativity did your family teach you?
There were really no creative people in my family, because creativity was forbidden. My grandfather’s dream was to be a music conductor, and there were even some princes in the family who wanted to be musicians, painters, etc. Unfortunately, creativity was not part of the family rules. You had to be a royal and that was it. Even as a woman, you had to be a royal, too.
There were some royals who were crazy about art. In fact, all of them used art for political purposes and images of themselves. We know this to be true of King Harald, Jarl Ragnar, Ludwig of Bayern, Prince Rudolf, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Alienor d’Aquitaine, Robert de Basseville I, Robert de Basseville II, Robert de basseville III, and the two families of de Basseville de Normandie & du Grand de Robertiens von Wittelsbach.
By “royal” you mean your behavior had to be confined into certain conventions?
Yes. But my family did teach me that nothing is impossible and that I have the world in my hands.
That’s beautiful. And you’re really living that way right now, aren’t you?
Yes, you know that I am. Most people might say they want to live free, but they would never use that freedom or make the most of that freedom. At any moment in my life, I recognize that this freedom I enjoy is so important that I will always do something to protect it and use it properly. Crying and freedom work together. I mean, the strongest ambition you can have is to cry, because that is stronger than laughing. A cry can be so incredibly strong because of that deep emotion. In fact, I want people to cry for this freedom. It’s like a huge way to believe in a free man and a free world.
“The truth is that there are only three European countries who like the European Union the way it is right now. Many do not.”
What inspires you in your various business pursuits, from your past artistic work, finance work, your role as the last descendant of the 1st King Harald of Norway, and more currently, your political aspirations?
There are many answers to this for me. Starting with my heritage, while there were many people back then in the 10th century writing history books, etc., there was no one who was writing about anything other than the fact that you were a prince and/or conquering.
To be a part of this family, it is very complicated. To know we have been established in Europe and the world for so long is very important. After the 17th century and the first treaty of Westphalia, the Bourbon and Habsburg family wanted to take over our power. Our family’s power was within the Reich Empire and split into 1,800 sovereign states. There were many scams created by those two families who created the new nobility and fake aristocrat titles, and of course, this has been following true in empires ever since. For me, to have a title was not a right, it was a duty as my role in the family. For example, as a member of the chivalry, you follow the code of the chivalry made by the King. You get to fight, you get gloves, you get to conquer and get lands. I’m against the people who bought a title to be part of this court and get privilege. Money does not replace the chivalric code. At that time it wasn’t like that. You had to work for it, serve your duty. At this moment, you see the same happening in the current political arena in France, where politicians think they can rely on privileges they have never worked for and that were just given to them. That has to change drastically.
Politically today, what I see in European society is people living by this Napoleon code of the privilege, these scams and people waving around their titles from history. First of all, you fight for a title; you fight for a vision; you fight for a new world.
Also, how can you be qualified to talk about the world when you don’t even speak another language? We have political leaders now who can have everything in the world and who travel everywhere in the world, but they can’t even network with the people around the world, and be for or against political issues, because they can’t communicate with them.
Yes, so I see how this pattern used to be the case 100 years ago. Politics at that time, the Royals, were actively traveling and networking in Europe in the ways they could back then. But right now, what you are saying is that we need that networking mindset back into the European political system because it doesn’t exist anymore? People tend to stay in their cocoons, be it in Brussels or Paris or Holland, and no longer network the way that leaders used to do in order to protect their lands and people, fighting for something they are really connected to?
Yes, exactly. That is the point. The world changed through the World Wars. And many people seem to forget that war is all around the world all the time. Just because it’s not in your country, in Europe or the USA, doesn’t mean that you are protected. There are wars in Africa, South America, Asia. Seventy-five percent of the world is in war.
Today, we have two problems: economic war and political war. For example, Indians don’t give a f*ck about the fact that Europeans have their power and their economy. They have their own concerns in their own country. The problem is, like with the French and English during the last 150 years after their revolutions, they got such a power over the people that they’ve been cutting Africa with a knife. None of it has anything to do with the rights of the tribes, the different countries or the living lands. They’re cutting it up and taking chunks of it, one for you and one for me, as a way to make a prodigy.
This would never happen back then with our family, because the king would be in communication with people, always asking what did you see in that place, what can you tell me about those tribes. We were always thinking about ways we could manage our vision, our politics and economy.
And that’s why you have an emphasis on Culture, Tradition and Identity within your political campaign. I agree with you that there is so much in history that can reflect in a better way on the future. So you look to work together with other countries and global leaders in a more beneficial way, rather than a subservient way, as it is happening right now?
Yes, that’s correct. For example, when you are young, you learn the alphabet, then how to read a book, put the words together, then learn to write. You could go on to write your own book, talk with great writers and learn about history, philosophy and the rest. That is the beginning. The beginning is only the alphabet, but if you don’t start at the right place, you won’t finish well. You can’t be a politician just because you go in front of the people and lie to people when you have no f*cking clue, you have nothing new to say and know nothing. How can you end well?
Right now in France, we have a political leader that can’t even speak English. How can he share emotion with people? He cannot. Just speak English, an international language, and try to make business together. Say that I’m a French politician and I go to my friend, the Prince of Saudi Arabia, and I talk to him and speak before thousands of people. In the middle of the night, I decide to go and smoke a cigar in the villa, and we are there together. English is not his first language and it is not mine, but we speak in English together, because we are comfortable to speak together and can. We can set up more together during that time, between him and me, than we could in two or three days of meetings, because there is a connection. International leaders who do not share a same language cannot make peace factors of reality because they cannot create that connection.
From what you said, you are an innovative creator because you are a person who has tracked history and put it into a future perspective, combining the value of history with the value of the future. What do you see as Europe’s main problem today?
What is the problem today in Europe? It is very simple. We have politicians, writers, etc., who are really cool and who live in a big mansion with money and who talk about a new society. Why should I accept being cool and nice? Why should I accept this new society and what they bring into our land? I don’t want to be cool and I don’t want to respect that or accept that. Maybe multiculturalism is good, but we do not know yet what it can provide for the economy. We do have multiculturalism in Europe through our 17,400 tribes that used to have their own identity. The problem today is that they try to make you believe that that is cool and that you must be like that. That dream is outside of Europe and will lead to the biggest civil strike ever if we do not get a strong leader in Europe.
So, your “Culture, Tradition and Identity” belief in your campaign is based on the larger belief that economy prevails over everything, but still while keeping tradition, identity and culture intact. So if I’m a foreigner arriving in Europe, I can still keep my cultural identity and religion, but if it stands in the way of a job or economic advancement, then the matters of economy must prevail, similar to as they do in the United States?
Yes, you make a good point. In America, when you arrive there as a foreigner and you go through the steps to become a citizen, they tell you to forget everything about the past. You will start from scratch here, and believe in the rules of America, regardless of what you learned in your country. You have to pass in terms of your life, your religion and your family—it’s America first. If not, then you can leave.
You are getting a lot of positive reactions from the young Arab population in France in regards to your views on this, because they see the importance and benefits of economy prevailing. What more can you tell us about that?
I think they admire tradition and are surprised to see a European also hanging on very strongly to an old tradition, which is in my case the Viking culture. They recognize themselves in it and see that within tradition economy, leadership and politics can prevail.
Can you give us any examples where things went wrong when leaders did not respect culture, tradition and identity? Or when culture, tradition and identity led to disrespect and people still let that prevail over following the path of common sense, human rights and better economic perspectives?
In every country around the world, there are traditions that have been lost. For example, in Africa there are Arabs who live there and no longer have any culture or tradition. Why? Because it has been killed by the neo- colonists during the 19th century. That’s a disaster. There are particular tribes in Morocco who are not even legal, they are forbidden people, cannot make their own music or art. That shows the importance of fighting for tradition before it is lost.
Many people come to Europe because they have been treated like a slave and they want to protect themselves. For example, there was a Pakistani girl who was in love with a guy. They had plans to get married and everything. But the guy pushed her to sleep with him before they were married, they did, and then he didn’t want to marry her anymore. The father and brother of the girl burnt her because of this. She survived it, but she fled to Switzerland. After all that, she still believes in the Muslim God and religion. I can’t believe it! Some of my strong nationalist friends respond to that and don’t want that type of person in their country anymore.
What I see most of all in your whole agenda is that you are a strong protector of civilization, and especially of women’s rights. It’s not that you are against any religion or any culture, but from your Viking culture there are equal rights between men and women, and you want it to be that way across all of Europe.
Yes, if you want to come to Europe and learn from the best European schools, then come and learn from our knowledge, receive this knowledge and go back to your country to fight for your country, because you are part of your country. The new president of Algeria won with 81.5 percent of the votes. It is impossible to have a president elected with that percentage! I want to know why! Why is no one changing these things? When you see these things, leaders stealing a country, unemployment, no rights, etc., where are the people standing up against this? Go back to your country and fight for your country. Don’t come to mine and teach me what I don’t want to learn. That is a huge problem.
In America, you can come from all around the world and restart your life from scratch. That’s great! And that’s great for America, but it’s not what I want for Europe. Europe is the center of the world. And Europe is the beginning and therefore has a chance to be the end.
Your emphasis is on European values, that anyone can come to Europe, but they must respect European values, particularly that economy will prevail. For example, the European government will not finance a mosque or temple; private investors can, but your focus will be on economy?
Yes, I don’t want to hear about religion. This should be a personal issue. But if I refer to Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, who said that the religion is the opium of the people. That is why religion has been declared under communism as illegal. It is true, because you cannot say that the priest or Rabbi or Imam who has no vision or knowledge can teach the people about the world and a vision of the world, because it’s more complicated. On the other hand, a recent film produced by Chelsea Clinton, “Of Many,” shows that in the transition space of economy prevailing over religion, we need, for example, innovative Imams and Rabbis to create that path of religious freedom where economic success excels. In the U.S.A. because they have been creating a multiculturalism country with rules this can be a success and it is a success. The U.S.A. was from the beginning a land of immigration.
Someone in politics who wants to fight is not someone who is doing it for money, power, the people, or the country, but for himself. To be able to look in the mirror and say, “I did this. For the cause.” Why do politicians steal money? Is it because greed is the nature of the human being and the fact that the 21st century trade is based on the “bling bling”? The opportunity of politics, you don’t have the right, it is not the question. Go to your country, make a lot of money, and everyone will be happy. It is normal for the political leader to get a piece of it so that he is living well. But there’s a difference between living well and stealing from the land.
I want people to understand that Europe has always been around, created by the old families while the rest of the world didn’t exist. Many people don’t want to hear that or accept that, but it’s true. All of the problems happening in Africa originated with the conquerors from the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, with ten thousand tribes of warriors. It always goes back to the war, the fight, to taking the life of the people. What they are trying to do right now is create the biggest civil war ever.
So you think that if nothing is done in Europe, no change in leadership, no intervention, then there will be a coming civil war in Europe? For example, how right now in Holland there is the conflict of the same European law for all countries, and Holland doesn’t want to obey that.
Yes, I do. The truth is that there are only three European countries who like the European Union the way it is right now. Many do not.
You have had a successful career as a fashion photographer, artist and designer yourself. Can you share with us what you learned from that time in your life and what role you see the arts having in your future?
First of all, it was a way of succeeding at different work. What I learned was that people who have a lot of money, because they are not creative, are always attracted to creative people and want to be a part of the creativity. That is a dream for them. Because they cannot be an artist, they want a friend as an artist. People think that art and artists are making history, but they are making a mistake. We remember Picasso because he was a painter in the 20th century. But in 500 years from now, no one will remember Picasso as a painter, but just as an artist who helped boost the propaganda of Stalin. Stalin collected an arsenal of visionary artists to complement and communicate his political viewpoints and ambitions. Just like after the Medici’s period and the Renaissance, the political fact is to go back to the art and the time of history.
That’s interesting, the point you make about art reflecting the history of the time. I see in your art a lot of freedom. Was there a message you hoped to convey through your various works of art?
No, for me, I like beauty. So all the time that I am doing something, my focus is on creating something beautiful. Can I have what I just created hung on my wall? For me, if the answer is yes, then I have created beauty. I always loved those artists who think they are doing something new or incredible, but that wasn’t me. I think it’s bullshit. You are creating entertainment for the people who don’t have time to create and they are paying you for it. Ninety-nine percent of the artists today are bankable in the art stock markets, and the people talk about what they bought and how much it will cost in the years to come. Where is the art in that? Art has no price. So many artists that I know aren’t really artists. They’re just people who have started a business and are selling. You will not fight to become famous with this art and to die. For example, Francis Bacon, who lived in a small room like he was nobody. We’re too much into pop art, that everything has to be monetary. And who is it saying who is an artist and what is art? A committee of stupid people, of friends of a friend, of gay people who like the gay artists? It’s a big lie. No one has the potential to say this religion is the real one or this artist is the real one. But you can say that this politician was better for our country than that one before.
Do you have a favorite person who you look up to yourself?
I’ve never been a fan of anyone. I’m not in the fan market. I never really understood it. I remember when I was a child, the other kids asked me if I was a fan of a football player or some other sport, etc. I didn’t know much about it. I just always laughed and answered, “I’m a fan of Lucas Cranach (1472-1553)” because I knew they wouldn’t know who he was.
There are some people who I meet, and I get such a good exchange and feeling. I am passionate about that, about living passionately with the people in the contemporary world today, not those from the past or in the hype. I want to live now, with the people who are passionate with me.
For example, the new prime minister in France made a speech and said so much bullshit about this ex-president and that, etc. I could destroy his speech in two minutes. Just say what you want to do and do it. Don’t just talk about the past and things that have been done. Everybody talked about Hitler, all the time, in movies and books, etc., and said he was the worst guy in the world. So then why does everyone talk about it so much? It shouldn’t be that way. So many people from history were awful people, and we talk about them so much and make movies, etc. It shouldn’t be that way.
In which way do you think a profession in the politics and the arts are different and/or similar?
I think they are all the same. They are all a part of one entity called life. It’s all about vision—when you are a politician, you have a vision; when you are an artist, you have a vision; when you start a business, you have a vision. You try to put into each of these your own vision. Though times change, it is always about vision. I think art, like what da Vinci created, makes you understand that anything is possible. Imagine if he was a businessman, with all the things he was creating! His vision was huge.
You live with a disability, but I greatly admire how you embrace this difficulty and find the benefits of it in your life. Do you follow any philosophical or psychological approach in your profession?
First of all, I am part of this generation called “no future—PUNK Generation.” This is about bringing about the famous carpe diem, or “seize the day.” Lots of people talk about that, especially when you are in love with someone. In my case, because of my disease and disability, I wake up and I am thankful that I even just woke up—wow! It’s very difficult for me to go to sleep, because I am happy to be alive for another day, and I don’t want to sleep. When I wake up, I do three things: I take my medication, prepare my coffee, and open my computer. I want to be online right away and know what it happening around the world. Why? Because I strongly want to be a part of this world and this work.
Many people make plans for the future, that they will invest in this or that, or go to this place, buy a house, etc. Myself, my mindset is for right now. Let’s use the money right away, have a party right now, drink together now, because I know that time is not guaranteed. I think for today, not tomorrow. Of course, you never know, but I prefer to live like that. I saw my grandmother who is 92 years old. I don’t want to be like her, watching TV all day long, reading books, not much, just waiting for life to end. I don’t want to die in the hospital. I want to die surfing on the beach, doing something I love. I don’t want to wait for death. It’s dramatic.
Yes, it is dramatic. But you can only know that in the moment you are there. My grandmother, who lived to 101 years old and who was always very active in life, liked her slow end. If you had asked her at 95 years old if she wanted that kind of ending, she would have said that it is awful. You can only see that truth when it comes. I do believe in logical parameters to the end of life, like life support, etc., but some may be quite happy. I know you had near-death experiences. How did those near-death experiences influence your philosophy on this?
I know that my grandmother is not happy. The old people who don’t lose their brain are not happy. When you lose your brain, your life becomes more abstract, you forget, etc. I was ill in a hospital, and when I saw parents keeping their children alive via machines, I found it terrible. Those kids don’t have a great life. The same for the elderly. It’s terrible. I want to die like my grandfather—smoking, drinking, and having adventure. That’s the best life ever.
When I see people holding on to their money and stuff, I want to ask them, “What’s the point?” Spend your money, enjoy your life, give the money to your kids, you know? Society has been trying to make you believe in something. One of the reason’s I like Steve Jobs is because he understood it was the end. So he said ‘I’ve got to live like at the beginning.’ And he did that until the end.
So you live everyday like there was no yesterday?
Yes, there is no day better than today. The past is not better than right now. That’s a scam and lie to believe that about life. I arrived the first night that the Berlin Wall was destroyed. People asked me how I felt about that, and I don’t know how to answer that. It was in the past. I’m concerned with today.
How do you feel about social media and technology influencing and transforming the 21st century?
America has been strongly leading the way, the first in terms of developing the media system. The people behind the technology in California are always thinking about what is next, what is new. My opinion is that while America has been pushing to add the high- tech to their economy, especially after their sub-prime crash in 2008, Europe has been completely late, practically nonexistent, when it comes to understanding the world capital of high-tech. I already set up a streaming company in 2001 in the U.S.A. In France, we are finding ourselves now at the same place with streaming but it is 2014. The people don’t even understand it. My vision lies in embracing the future, living in the now, and that applies to social media and technology, and how it can be combined with tradition and culture successfully. It’s a full embrace of it all.
What is your favorite building in the world?
I like the buildings made by my family between the 10th and the 12th century, because they are beautiful. I can’t even imagine how they did it back then. It is impressive. I like the Castle of Conversano in Pouilles in the South of Italy and the authentic village Rutigliano made by my family in the 11th century in Sicily. And, of course, I love everything in England made by my great ancestor William the Conqueror.
What is your favorite hotel?
This is complicated for me, because I love castles, etc. But I don’t like old hotels. I am more excited by boutique hotels. Like for example the Bulgari Hotel. That is the best. I like the new brands, too, like Shangri La, etc., even the Ritz-Carlton in Bahrain. I don’t need it to be big or too plastic, because I’m not interested in that. They’re impersonal and I don’t like it. I like clean, brand new, minimalistic hotels. I am a great admirer of the best architects of the 20th century, like Le Corbusier. His vision of the minimal in the 21 century is impressive. I love the new application, Airbnb. I find it fantastic! There are so many great places, and it’s high-tech potential for people around the world to stay in a variety of places.
What would be your ideal home?
I was just talking about this with my cousin who lives in a place where he makes his own wine. I could sell the wine of the castle of my family, but it’s not what I want. I want to sell the wine of the entire country. I want to protect the entire region, which is part of the reason I’m going into politics. It is to market the whole region, because I don’t have these attachments to just one place. I want to put my vision into all the entities I love, not about owning one specific thing.
I don’t care about where I live and don’t have an idea for an ideal home. The only hope I have is to one day I will live on a boat and work on the vision of my work.
What is the most difficult thing in your job?
There are two difficult things. First, in politics there is the industry of people, that is the business people. It is difficult to convince those people, the business managers, to support me and these new ideas. The second is mobilizing the people to move toward the change that they want, trying to get the people to start to talk and work toward these goals in Europe. We need a lot of action, meaning real action, not thinking about what we will do, but really doing it. I’m a practical person with a vision. A lot of politicians think, but they don’t do. That is why nothing has happened toward the positive. Action needs to be done!
What is the most fun part of your job?
To be in front of all the other politicians and disrupt their lies, their lack of knowledge and understanding. To put up a mirror in front of them, and fight them in front of the people and expose them for what they really are. Politicians today live too much on the podium, with their golden medals. I look forward to exposing them, what they have done and what we need. I also want to push the stupidity of the media, too, who don’t investigate the powers that be, and should. They should show the people both sides of issues, strongly go into the truth and let the people know, like they do in the United States.
So the journalists should think more and the politicians should act more?
Yes, exactly. We have an older population who doesn’t want change, because it means they cannot keep their positions. But in America, this wouldn’t happen. Here in Europe, though, everything is stalled. You see, we need action today. These people who don’t see the possibility or have the possibility to work in a modern world for future change need to leave. I will be the hardest working politician ever. If you are not good enough, you are selfish, can’t work on a team, you will be fired.
There is that American show, “The Apprentice,” where Donald Trump fires people. Most times, the guy was not good enough, a leader who didn’t make a difference and made the team lose. But sometimes, the guy who was fired was a great leader, but his team failed him or there was some other reason. In those situations, even if you lose, you win, because you were a leader and didn’t leave your team behind.
That is a perfect metaphor for change in Europe. In America, when you try and fail, it’s okay because you gave it your best. In Europe, with the rigid system that is not open to innovation and renewal, you are doomed. When you try and you fail, you’re doomed, when it should be the opposite, right?
“Most people might say they want to live free, but they would never use that freedom or make the most of that freedom. At any moment in my life, I recognize that this freedom I enjoy is so important that I will always do something to protect it and use it properly.”
“My Grandfather was always saying that even though that’s how the family business operated, it wasn’t a reason to just live off that money. He was aware of the fact that the money could disappear, and that we should always work hard and not just be a novelty or do whatever we wanted. He drilled into us that we have a duty in this life. Yes, we have rights, but they also come with a duty.”
On the other hand, this means when people fail, they should be removed from their position or leave voluntarily. This is what is one of your worries for Europe, am I correct about that?
There needs to be a strong push in this direction for Europe. This is the only way for people to understand. I hate the corrupt people. In America, you are sent to jail for that for nearly 25 years. They don’t care who you are, you will be punished. But in Europe, it’s not this way. The privileged get away with it. But now we don’t have the money to continue this. So now what do we do?
Do you have any dreams for the future, personally or professionally?
My only dream, if I have a dream, is to one day take the power to change the world, to change the face of Europe, or let my current team come into power.