"European Constitution now! Adoption without veto" was the topic of the European Congress of the Union of European Federalists which gathered about 250 delegates, observers and guests from 19 until 21 March in Genova (I).
During the solemn opening session of the Congress, the Member of the European Commission Viviane REDING said that she was optimistic that the draft European constitutional Treaty would be adopted; "as it is, it would give the Union important instruments to strengthen the European citizenship", she said.
The Congress re-elected the social-democrat MEP Jo LEINEN (Europa-Union Deutschland) as UEF President. "In view of the steps towards a genuine federal Constitution, it is essential that the member states overcome the national veto. If one or more countries are not ready to accept the draft Constitution, those states which are willing should sign it", declared Jo LEINEN.
In its political resolution with the title "Continuing the fight for a federal European Constitution", the UEF :
- Welcomes the draft Constitution proposed by the draft Constitution;
- Regrets that the draft Constitution fails to meet the needs of the European citizens;
- Warns that its failings need to be corrected if the European Union is to have a long-term future in securing the peace, justice, sustainability, democracy and liberty by effective action both in Europe and around the world;
- Condemns the summit held in Brussels in December 2003 for its failure to endorse the text proposed by the Convention;
- Believes that any renegotiation by the Intergovernmental Conference should not be attempted as it would lack effectiveness, popular legitimacy and would not improve the contents of the Convention's draft;
The UEF calls upon the heads of state and government of the member states :
1. to recognise the superior democratic legitimacy of the Convention text and adopt it as the European Constitution before the European elections in June 2004;
2. to campaign for its immediate ratification in their respective member states according to their own constitutional procedures;
3. to commit to convening another Convention no later than 2008 to revise the Constitution and rectify its failings;
4. to agree that future amendments of the Constitution should take place on the basis of the majority principle rather than unanimity.
The political resolution states that if any member states are unwilling or unable to agree or to ratify the text, the other member states should proceed nevertheless with the adoption of the Constitution.
The UEF also calls upon the European Parliament and all parliaments of the 25 member states to pass political resolutions before the European elections in June 2004 in favour of the European constitution and its revision by a new Convention no later than 2008.
A topical resolution on Europe facing international terrorism and a declaration on the Elections to the European Parliament have also been adopted as well as a motion on the cooperation between the federalist organisations and the global civil society movements.
The Congress approved the application of the UEF to full membership of the World Federalist Movement (WFM).
After the end of the Congress, the newly elected Federal Committee reniewed the UEF Bureau including 3 Vice-Presidents : Philipp AGATHONOS (Europäische Federalistische Bewegung Österreich), Alojz PETERLE, Observer of the European Parliament (PPE, SLO) and former Representative of the accession countries in the Praesidium of the European Convention, as well as Sergio PISTONE (Movimento Federalista Europeo, I).