Adopted by the UEF Federal Committee meeting in Berlin on 24-25 October 2009,
Europe is often accused of being destructive of identity or adverse to it, a “Trojan horse of globalisation”. As a Single Market, it is often viewed as a threat to the essential diversity of nations, people and cultures and Brussels; to some is a neo liberal conspiracy. The recent difficulties in ratifying the constitutional treaty and the Treaty of Lisbon are yet another sign that enlarged Europe is not ready to accept a European Federation based in particular on common values and a true European citizenship. Those against a European Federation argue that there is no European demos which could devolve powers and therefore the Union cannot be considered a federation of peoples and states. The Lisbon Treaty confirms that the Member states consider themselves as the guardians of the Union’s subsidiary competences.
The deeper understanding of democracy implies more than the exercise of civil freedom, the enjoyment of liberties such as the free flow of goods, capital, services and people, and the protection of common values such as the rule of law and human rights. It requires active political participation in the European project, taking responsibility for European and world affairs: a federal structure based on autonomy, cooperation, subsidiarity and solidarity (as embodied for example by the Euro) and territoriality (common EU border management) as well as a balanced institutionalisation of power is the natural form for a Europe of different political cultures, united by common values. It is the true instrument to fight Europe’s greatest enemy, political lethargy and lack of legitimacy and promotes civic participation.
Thereby the EU recognises and respects the wide diversity of cultures in the Member States and at the same time adds a sense of identity to EU citizens and belonging to a European entity based on support for common principles originating from Member states and common values which most peoples in Europe feel able to identify with.
The June elections to the European Parliament should have been a high time of European democracy, yet failed to be so because of: the record low turnout, the national turn of the elections campaigns everywhere and the confused approach to the designation and approval of the President of the European Commission. European coordination remained weak and opaque, the realm of tactical coalitions among abstract political groups which had no visibility for European citizens.
Therefore UEF urges European parties and newly elected MEPS to:
1. commit themselves NOW to do everything possible, in their parties and in their relationships inside the institutions and with national parliaments, for the next EP elections in 2014 to be pan-European in every sense of the word (date, rules and procedures).
2. Start to work on a European electoral system, together with national parliaments, based on:
- European lists for the European Parliament elections rather than purely national lists, allowing a European public opinion to emerge;
- European parties to nominate their candidates for the presidency of the Commission before the campaign to the European Parliament;
- Similar procedures in all Member States, ensuring the broadest and most transparent representation and truly accepting the political contest
In addition, experience shows that the campaign for the European elections is much too short to attract attention and open a full public debate. The European Parliament, European and national parties should promote new approaches to democracy must be promoted by to mobilise the European civil society and organise a permanent and structured dialogue with the social forces that derive their identity from Europe today.
UEF therefore calls upon
1. the European Parliament, together with the national parliaments and the European Commission to welcome new forms of participatory democracy based not only on periodic, sectorial consultations but on the permanent association with NGOs, students, migrants, expatriates, beneficiaries of EU funds to the definition and evaluation of European policies.
The experience of the agoras and the future citizens’ initiative are integral part of this; so would a status for European associations.
2. Its bureau, FC and all its sections to forward these demands to all European parties and Groups as well as individual MEPs.