REASON 1: 21st Century Challenges



The 21st century is a time of global challenges and raising continental powers. Interconnection and interdependence among countries and economies are changing the world dramatically. They bring both opportunities and great challenges. Regional threats to peace and political stability are growing, including at the Eastern and Southern borders of Europe. Political and religious extremism is on the rise. Slow growth and financial instability are hindering economic development. Many sources of global energy are unstable and the transition to new economic sources requires large scale investments and social transformations. Overpopulation, underdevelopment and political instability in many regions are causing migration flows of historical proportions. The other regions of the world face these challenges with states of continental dimension: the United States, China, Russia, India, Brazil, Canada. Europe is still clinging to its past. Of the 28 member states in the European Union, 18 are smaller than the city of Beijing. Most still live under the illusion of being world powers, each with its own army and diplomatic service. The European Union has been growing in size and competences, but member states still deny it the powers and resources to make an impact on the issues that matter the most. Most of all, the European Union lacks a single Government. If Europe wants to maintains its influence in the world, defend its interests and promote its values, European states should pool their fading sovereignty and transform the European Union into a true federation, with a single foreign and security policy, a European economic policy, a sizeable budget and a real Government.

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REASON 2: European Democracy



Wars, terrorism, financial markets, migration flows, organised crime, climate change: none stop at national borders. Democracy and politics still do. Democracy and the rule of law are the most cherished achievements of Western civilization and are strenuously defended at national level. But on the international stage, states remain the only actors. Citizens and political parties have little or no say. The rules of power and force are still the norm. Differences in size, power and resources between countries are still the determining factor in any decision. Problems remain unaddressed because effective and democratic political structures are lacking. In the European Union, enormous progress has been made to advance democracy and the rule of law. The European Parliament has increased its powers significantly in the last decade. But in too many important fields it has little or no say, including the way the EU is financed, the governance of the Euro and EU foreign and security policy. The Parliament does not express a true Government. The most important decisions are still in the hands of national governments, each with its own national interest and national constituency. Bodies like the Eurogroup take important decisions affecting millions of European citizens, but they are accountable to no one. European political parties remain a loose collection of diverse national parties. But a collection of twenty-eight democracies does not make a European democracy. It is time to break national barriers to politics and democracy. The European Union should become a full parliamentary democracy, where the parliament legislates on all matters, appoints a real Government, can express a political majority and is autonomous from member states.

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REASON 3: Nationalist and Anti-European Rhetoric



At a time when nationalist, populist and anti-European forces are becoming increasingly loud and dangerous across Europe, it is time for those who believe in a united future for our continent to stand up and work together to make their voices heard. Nationalist and anti-Europeans exploit the weaknesses of today’s Europe. They play with the fears and disappointment of European citizens who suffer from the economic crisis, feel the pressure of migration flows and perceive the European Union as distant and ineffective. But their solutions are just an illusion. They are the voice of a Europe of the past. A Europe of small states divided by borders and competing currencies, fighting each other instead of standing united on the world stage. A Europe of narrow national interests played out in a zero-sum game. A Europe of hate and divisions. A Europe of racism and xenophobia. Ultimately, a Europe of war. The vast majority of Europeans don’t want to go back to that Europe. But too often we stay silent because we forget how much we owe to European integration, or we take for granted the Europe we have. This is no time to stay silent and passive. A united and federal Europe is the only bulwark against the rise of nationalism, against a Europe that regresses only to narrow national interests. Together we can to defend what Europe has achieved so far and promote an even better Europe for the future. A Europe of unity, democracy, solidarity – a federal Europe.

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REASON 4: EU Divisions



How many times have we watched all-night meetings of the European Union’s Heads of State and Government end in disappointment? How many times have we felt frustrated looking at our political leaders squabbling about details, while European problems remain unsolved? How many times have we felt shame or pain looking at politicians blaming Europe for every evil, fanatics burning European flags, movements trying to destroy the Euro, politicians calling for new walls and fences for a fortress Europe, governments resurrecting border controls to divide Europeans again, political parties resorting to nationalism, populism and racism in a way that we thought long past in Europe? We feel powerless watching Europe’s divisions and weaknesses. But we can do something about it. Today’s Europe is the result of the efforts of many generations. Generations of Europeans who have chosen peace over war, unity over division, integration over nationalism, forward looking politics over populism. Political leaders with the courage to propose bold and innovative solutions and defend them in their countries. People in the European institutions who push the European project forward every day. And, last but not least, many Europeans dreaming of the United States of Europe, who have decided to stand-up and work together to promote European unity. Tomorrow’s Europe, a Europe of more unity and less divisions, more solidarity and less national egoisms, more federal and less national, will only come about if you also engage.

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REASON 5: Stronger EU Institutions



The European Union gives its best where it has strong institutions and direct enforcement powers. But it has shown itself time and again to be divided and weak in areas where it has limited competences and resources, no powers to implement its decisions, and when member states block each other with their veto rights or simply choose to disregard European decisions. Monetary policy works well because of a strong and independent European Central Bank. Competition rules work well because the European Commission has strong competences and direct enforcement powers on states and companies. The EU has a strong position in international trade because this is an EU exclusive competence and the European Commission takes the lead. In all fields where the EU has competences, it is far more effective where the European Parliament has co-decision powers and the Council decides by majority. On the contrary, in foreign policy, and even more on defence policy, as well as on migration, the European Union is weak, and as a consequence Europe as a whole is weak, because member states cling to illusions of national sovereignty and retain 28 separate and often conflicting policies. The European Monetary Union is still weak because member states retain 28 national fiscal policies, the Eurozone has no powers and own fiscal resources and little or no power to enforce its decisions or recommendations for better convergence of national economies. To solve its problems Europe needs to become more supranational and less intergovernmental, more independent from member states, and have more powers and resources to implement its own decisions.

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REASON 6: Real European Citizenship



The EU treaty proclaims we are European citizens. But what’s the real substance of this “European citizenship” if we don’t have the right to choose the government and policies of the European Union? European citizens vote for the European Parliament every five years. But that vote doesn’t determine the government, and has little impact on crucial policies of the European Union. Important areas, from foreign policy to the way the Union is financed, to key elements of Eurozone governance, are still the exclusive domains of national governments and the Parliament has little or no say. The Parliament influences the selection of the President and the members of the European Commission, but the Commission is not a real government. In many fields, the Commission just executes what the national governments have decided as political priorities, in others it simply plays no role at all. At the same time, the European Council and the Eurogroup take decisions affecting millions of people, but they are accountable to no one. If the European Union wants to become a democracy, our votes as European citizens should determine the government and the policies of the Union in all areas. The Commission should be the only body exercising executive power. The Commission’s composition and political programme should reflect the political majority in the Parliament. The Parliament should co-decide on all legislative matters. Only in a federal Europe would we be real European citizens.

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REASON 7: Single European Army



Europe’s borders are in flames. The situations in Ukraine, Syria, the Middle-East, North and Central Africa, all call for greater European security and defence capabilities. As the US shifts its strategic focus towards Asia, Europeans must either take responsibility for their own security or stand by and watch as security crises continue to develop. So far Europe is proving unable to take up this role. Security and defence remain the domain of the nation-States with little or no integration at the European level. Each of the 28 member states maintains its own, often very expensive, army and security structures. But most are of little or no relevance. Only three or four member states have serious, but still limited, defence capabilities. Defence spending has been reduced across the Union, especially in the last decade. European NATO members fail to meet their spending obligations. A technological gap is increasing. Opportunities to “pool and share capabilities” at the European level are missed as small countries have little to pool and share and the large countries fail to see the longer-term benefits. Limited military forces and capabilities are duplicated in each State, leading to an enormous cost of “non-Europe”. Europeans are left dependent on the US for any serious operations. If Europeans want to avoid a rapid decline in international power and influence and respond to the security crisis at our borders, security and defence capabilities should be merged into a single European security and defence structure democratically controlled and efficiently managed in a true political union.

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REASON 8: Stronger Eurozone



The Eurozone has a single currency, the Euro, but 19 national fiscal and economic policies loosely coordinated by a complex system of rules. The result is that national economies remain largely divergent. Most member states don’t have the resources to reform or to relaunch their economies. Rules are often not respected, especially when large member states are the offenders. At the same time, the Eurozone doesn’t have the powers and resources to carry out an active European economic policy. Mechanisms to rebalance economic shocks and smooth economic imbalances, as in any existing monetary union, are missing. Inevitably, the economy remains sluggish throughout the Eurozone. A monetary union can’t survive if member states maintain fully independent economic policies. The Eurozone needs to complement the monetary union with a fiscal union. This should not be just a system of rules to try and coordinate national economic policies. The European Union, and the Eurozone, via an additional Eurozone budget for Eurozone matters, should have the power to raise own financial resources through general taxation and the issuance of debt in the capital markets. Such resources should be used to assist member states when they are in difficulty or are seeking to implement structural reforms. They should fund economic projects of pan-European interest that can foster the development of the single market and the long-term competitiveness of the European economy. They should promote stability and growth for the entire Eurozone. This is the only way to ensure the long-term future of the Euro.

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REASON 9: Real European Government



The European Union has a single market, a currency, a Parliament, but still no Government. The European Commission is the EU's politically independent executive body, but it is far from what a Government should be. It plays little or no role in the governance of crucial sectors of the European Union, from foreign and security policy to key areas of Eurozone governance. It can make proposals on how to spend the EU’s budget but not on how to finance it. It is appointed following the European elections, but its composition is independent from the result of the elections and it doesn’t reflect the political majority in the European Parliament. The Commission has to rely on national administrations to implement many of its policies and projects. On the major political guidelines for the Union, it takes instructions from the European Council, where the heads of state and government sit. But a collective of national governments, each with its own national political priorities and concerns, does not add up to a European Government. It is as if the United States were run not by the federal Government, but by a collective of the 50 state governors, occasionally meeting in Washington. The EU should have a real federal Government, with all the executive powers needed in all fields of competence of the European Union. The government and its composition should reflect the result of the European elections. It should have the means and powers, including financial, to execute its policies autonomously from member states. It should be accountable to the European Parliament and to a reformed Council transformed in a second legislative chamber.

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REASON 10: Being Part of a Movement Always at the Forefront



Since its foundation in 1946, the Union of European Federalists has been at the forefront of every major step in European integration. With Europe still in flames, and our nation states emerging from war, Federalists were already calling for a Unites States of Europe as the only solution for peaceful future for Europe. We campaigned for a Europe without borders and frontiers in the early 50’s and then it became a reality in the 90’s. We campaigned for direct elections to the European Parliament from its inception as a consultative assembly of appointed members, and in 1979 the first direct elections were held with universal suffrage. We campaigned for a single European currency in the mid 60's and finally the Euro was introduced in 1999. For decades we have been the staunchest advocates of European democracy, tirelessly calling for increased powers for the European Parliament, and today the Parliament is a much more influential institution than it once was. Every time we were considered idealist and utopians, if not outright delusional. But every time we were right, before others could see it and our ideas were vindicated. We never gave up our beliefs and our commitment. Today the fight for a European political union, with a federal Government and a federal Constitution, is still open. At a time when nationalism is on the raise and many of the European project’s achievements are called into question, we European Federalists keep on rallying citizens, civil society, political parties and politicians across Europe, around our determined belief in the benefits of a united and federal Europe.

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