Passed by the Federal Committee meeting in Prague, November 10-11, 2007
Bearing in mind that
the ongoing EMI reform process is an excellent opportunity for UEF (always together with its youth organisation JEF) to reconsider its role and cooperation within EM on European and on national level,
UEF considers that EMI's reform should be done with regard to the changed situation of European politics in which the general attitude of the electorate in most EU Member states has changed in the last decade: From a more general, however, positive attitude to “Europe”, we find more scepticism and hostility when sovereignty, supranationality and enlargement are at stake. As a result governments are reluctant to more participatory democracy, federalism, constitutionalism, and seem to be giving way to populist and nationalistic tendencies.
In the past EM and UEF tried to influence the political actors on national and EU level, besides activities in the public etc. Now UEF and EM should focus their efforts to counter this decrease in European solidarity, readiness to share sovereignty, the more and more prevailing “national interest first” attitude in our societies. There is less, not more thinking to a European Citizenship. UEF welcomes that in the final version of the Reform Treaty the reference to the EU Citizenship in the EU Treaty has been re-introduced.
Therefore EM and UEF have to reconsider future aims:
On the one hand EMI and UEF have to continue influencing European politics at EU and national level, cooperating with EU-institutions, MEPs, Parties and other stakeholders.
On the other hand EMI and UEF should increase the efforts to convince Europeans, that EU can only meet present and future challenges
- by less national egoism, intergovernmental method, unanimity, and
- by more supranationality, more powerful EU – and as a consequence of a stronger EU:
more democratic legitimacy, an EU constitution is indispensable,
based on public consciousness of a European political identity,
a true European citizenship, beyond nationalities, is needed!
As a consequence UEF calls both EM and UEF to
- strive to become a societal “Avant Guard” in forming a political EU citizenship.
- agree on a clearer division of tasks and target groups:
EM network should mobilize support from organisations/interest groups in order to create a real pro European alliance
UEF and national EM based on individual members should mobilize support from citizens
- aim at more political and organisational synergies between the organisations
Practical notes on how to implement this strategy:
- Overcome UEF and EM organisational weaknesses in many EU Member states:
EM and in particular UEF are facing organisational weaknesses in some/many EU Member states with sometimes confusing character and cooperation. There is much room for improvements:
In case a EM is based on individual membership: and EM and UEF exist in parallel – then they are very similar and a close cooperation would provide a great potential for synergies: planning together, common “marketing strategy”, coordinated activities, campaigns…
In addition to this improved cooperation and coordination the national EM shall - as already indicated in the EMI statutes - set up a national network/platform of pro-European organisations.
In EU member states where e.g. UEF is not represented or very weak, however an EM based on individual membership, exists, UEF Europe could set up a special cooperation with this EM. So EMI and UEF could cover together many more EU Member states and overcome their “vacant areas” in the EU.
Where EM is based on organisational membership, UEF’s continues participating in this structure and supports these EM’s and vice versa.
- A political task sharing could be envisaged:
The organisations based on individual membership take a more progressive, “radical” pro-European position, collecting individuals in favour of a more federal/supranational Europe, whereas “EM networks” take a more moderate position and concentrate on creating a European public space especially within the national environments and to influence governments, Parliaments, parties, interest groups (lobbyist, NGOs, trade unions etc.) in a European sense.
- At EU – level:
UEF intensifies its involvment as an EMI member organisation in political and organisational questions.
All opportunities for organisational synergies shall be exploited (Office, data base, media work, campaigning with a high involvement of/targeting citizens…).
This stronger coordination would strengthen our position with regard to the EU institutions
in Brussels and the national institutions in the member states.
Also within our organisations we should cultivate the “European Citizenship” – attitude.
Sometimes we look more like assemblies of national delegations than representatives of European citizens from different countries!