28 February, 2002
An opportunity for a more federal Europe
On the eve of the opening of the Convention on the future of the European Union, the Union of European  Federalists  (U.E.F.)  and  the  Young  European  Federalists  (JEF),  organised  a  public debate in the European Parliament in Brussels  on the  subject “The Constitutional Convention: what are the prospects for the Federation of Europe?”.
About 300 people participated in the debate with three members of the Convention Presidium and the representative of the Hungarian government. The debate was chaired by Jo LEINEN MEP, President  of  the  U.E.F.  Mr. LEINEN welcomed  the  Convention  as  a  considerable  democratic 
The Vice-President of the Convention Jean-Luc DEHAENE hoped that the establishment of a structured network of organisations of civil society would lead to mutual influence. “The outcome of the Convention will be neither a Federation nor the United States of Europe”, he stated, “but I will be satisfied if it is a Europe with federal elements ”.
“The federalists should not lose hope” according to Iñigo MENDEZ DE VIGO MEP, President of  the  EP  delegation  to  the  Convention.  “They  have  a  vision  which  many  of  us share.  The revolution was made fifty years ago with the Community method –now we need to deepen it and achieve a political Union” he concluded.
Commissioner Michel BARNIER welcomed the fact that the Convention offers the opportunity of  building  the  EU  for  and  with  the citizens  and  to discuss  the  question of  the  finality  of  the Union.  “I  am  not  afraid of  using  the  word  federation.  I  am  even  in  favour  of  discussing a distribution of  competences  according  to  federalist  principles  in  the  name  of transparency, efficiency and democracy”, he added.
Referring  to  the  risk  of  dilution  of  the  EU  if  enlargement  is  not  well  prepared,  Janos MARTONYI, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, said that “a politically and economically more  united  Europe  is  necessary, and  the existing  structures should  be  strengthened and improved”.  He considered  the  Convention  as  the  high point  of  his  30  years  as  a convinced federalist.
Contact : Lucía Caudet, Tel. : +32-(0)486.03.90.67

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