Europe needs a project to ensure its unity, its prosperity, its security, its place in the world. Speaking at the Sorbonne University on the 26th of September 2017, the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron has made ambitious proposals for a “re-foundation of Europe” towards a “sovereign, united and democratic Europe”. He has given voice to our common hopes of a united Europe, with a bright future, able to stand up to the challenges facing our continent in the modern globalized world. It is an historic opportunity that is upon you, and all of us European citizens, to seize.
President Macron has proposed to “share sovereignty” in six key areas where Europeans face common challenges and would benefit from a European response by a “sovereign, united and democratic Europe”: security and defense from internal and external threats, management of our common European border, our foreign policy for Africa and Middle-East, sustainable development, innovation, and most of all our Economic and Monetary Union, the “heart of Europe’s global economic power” where “in addition to national reforms, Europe needs the instruments to make it an area of growth and stability, including a budget allowing it to fund common investments and ensure stabilization in the event of economic shocks”. The French President also called for progress in the fields of social and tax coherence and emphasized the value of culture and knowledge.
Particular importance he attached to the democratic character of the EU by strengthening the role of the European Parliament and by the development of “democratic conventions that would be national and local debates regarding common issues for six month in 2018”.
President Macron announced to launch a “group for Europe’s refoundation” including all those Member States sharing such ambitions and involving the European Union institutions should be pursued without delay. Not all countries of the European Union may be willing to undertake such steps at the same time. But those who share these ambitions have a duty to make the first step and pave the way.
We also strongly welcome Mr. Juncker’s speech on the State of the European Union of 13 September 2017 and agree that every step forward possible within the existing Treaties should be taken, while also preparing necessary changes to the Treaties. The Eurozone budget should also be decided by the European Parliament and would support economic convergence in the Eurozone and countries, in particular, encountering economic difficulties. The European Commission should create a mechanism to facilitate the adoption of the euro by those countries which have not joined the common currency yet through, inter alia, a dedicated line in the EU budget.
The Union of European Federalists supports the proposals of the French President. Engaging citizens is an essential priority for the success of this initiative. Too many citizens have been left behind, disappointed by a Europe that cannot solve important problems because it lacks unity, powers and resources. The UEF has organised grassroot campaigns for a sovereign, united and democratic Europe since its foundation seventy years ago, being the first and for many years the only organisation fighting for the direct election of MEPs, the single European currency, open borders and the European Constitution.
We commit to devote our unique experience at the disposal of this ambitious project of European refoundation. We especially welcome and we will contribute to the proposal of President Macron of “democratic Conventions” to debate the scope of Europe’s re-foundation as an essential first step. Proposals for reforms should be at the center of the campaign for the elections of the European Parliament in May 2019: a wide, open, democratic and truly European debate to pave the way to decisions soon after the elections.