On Friday November 4, the UEF and the World Federalist Movement (WFM) held their first joint public conference "Federalism and democracy: the experiences and contributions of the European Union and the African States" at the European Parliament in Brussels. About 130 participants of the UEF, the WFM and the general public took part in this event.
The session was opened by the President of the Republic of Senegal, Mr. Abdulaye WADE. President WADE declared himself in favour of a “United States of Africa” and acknowledged that the European Union had been a direct inspiration for the institutions of the African Union. To him, federalism is a solution to the micro nationalism that plagues Africa. He admits, however, that some of his counterparts in other African states disagree with him on the nature of this federation. This other “school” favours sub-federations on the African continent, such as Western or Eastern African federations. For president Wade these options are not viable: he explained that various forms of federations have been tried in Africa since the colonial era and that all have collapsed. He believes that since Africa faces continental problems, it ought to have some form of federal government on the continental level to address health or environmental issues efficiently.
The conference then moved on to a case study of the EU and the African Union’s contributions to a more peaceful and untied world. Prof. Lucio LEVI, Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Torino, presented the characteristic of the EU’s contributions to peace. Mr. Jean Paul POUGALA, representative of the African Federalist Movement, discussed the contributions of the African Union.
The public debate then closed with a round table discussion on how regional unions can contribute to the strengthening and democratisation of the United Nations. It included Mr. LEVI, Mr. POUGALA, Prof. Fernando IGLESIAS, of the University of Buenos Aires, Mr. Keith BEST, chair of the WFM Executive Committee and Mr. William R. PACE, Executive Director of the WFM.