The European elections are almost upon us. The novelty with respect to former elections to the European Parliament is the appearance on the scene of two camps – ‘’sovereignists’’ and pro-Europeans – that make this electoral confrontation special and the future of Europe, our common home, uncertain.
At stake is the continued existence of a United Europe on the geopolitical scene against the return to national states, as in the tragic period of the Second World War, which would represent a serious historical and political regression for Europe and a heavy mortgage for our common future … and not only ours.
Signs of disintegration on the horizon
In several EU countries the first signs of the disintegration process are already emerging. In the United Kingdom with Brexit, which has now reached the final stages of the separation process from the EU, even if there are strong divisions and great uncertainties: three out of four young British people are in favour of staying in the EU. The deadline originally set for the release was extended and it is not clear how the story will end and, in the meanwhile, Britain will participate in the next European elections.
In France Emmanuel Macron has is own challenge, pro-Europe champion in the eyes of many Europeans, but no longer loved so much by French citizens and strongly contested by the “gilets jaunes”, a protest movement against the current French government that will participate in the European elections.
In Italy we witness the seizure of power by the ‘’yellow-greens’’ in which the rejection of Europe in its current form prevails, with uneven motivations, even if only the Lega, albeit in alternate phases, aims for independence from Europe and the exit from the Euro.
Sovereignists are not entirely wrong about “Europe in its current form”, but they are all wrong
The sovereignists are being organised not only at European level and they are creating the foundations for a common front. The pro-Europeans, on the other hand, find it hard to build a strong alliance or they do it in an unconvinced manner. There is above all a lack of clarity on the kind of change that is to be achieved for Europe in its current form which is demonstrating its inability to deal effectively with the serious problems of common interest: first of all, the issue of immigrations, a cause of great concern and burden to states, like Italy, which are on the front line; to follow, the economic and labour problems, exacerbated by an austerity policy deemed excessive and no longer bearable by countries in economic difficulties, austerity not sufficiently counterbalanced by policies of incentives in favour of development and employment; finally, the common foreign policy almost inexistent due to the lack of coordination and sharing of the basic opinions for the solution of major international crises: the Venezuelan question, the Arab Israeli crisis, the Libyan crisis, etc.
The European Union in its current form must be changed… but how?
Looking at the picture above it is natural to conclude, even on the part of a convinced pro-European, that the European Union in its current form no longer works because it shows neither solidarity nor efficiency or vision for the future. The European citizens expected and expect this, because to them it is needed to realize the European dream, the foundation of “being together” and is synonymous of “common good”.
The current “intergovernmental” EU governance system may have played a positive role in the past but today it has come inexorably to the end of its “life cycle”. So it must be changed …as soon as possible!
In the current political debate, various improvements to the situation at hand (common army, European finance minister, etc.) are proposed at the national and European level but they are supposed to be implemented through the traditional “intergovernmental” method based on the treaties. A tool that no longer convince neither the citizens – who perceive it as too late and ineffective – nor the rulers themselves, because this tool don’t only mean further losses of their sovereignty, but is also often inconclusive, based on negotiations that are conditioned by opposing national interests, in the name of “each one for himself”.
The really sore point: the federalists “resigned or unaware”
Today, unfortunately, even those who call themselves ‘federalists’ never go beyond generic slogans in support of federalism, which have been repeated for decades but promptly dropped, endorsing solutions (pseudo-changes) that remain confined to the “intergovernmental system”. Echoing the famous statement of the Italian novelist Tomasi di Lampedusa in ‘’The Gattopardo”: « If we want everything to remain as it is, everything must change».
This is what has happened in the recent history of the EU (from Maastricht to today) and that is also coming up again in the political programs of the upcoming European elections on 26 May.
What is surprising is the attitude of certain pro-Europeans who strongly support a United Europe forgetting to specify which Europe. Without ever saying openly that the only desirable change, suitable to solve the problems stated above, is a Federal Europe founded on a Constitution, ratified by the European people, namely: the United States of Europe.
In conclusion: if not now, when?
For decades, politics have tried to create a federal Europe, but without success. European countries have never managed to transform the current confederal / intergovernmental structure of the EU into a true European federation – the United States of Europe – thus putting at risk the survival of the European Union itself.
Some weak attempts to improve the EU have been made in the past with the European Convention in 2003 and the Lisbon Treaty in 2007. But none of these succeeded in overcoming the real issue that still makes the creation of a federal Europe impossible: the intergovernmental system, which can be defined in short as an accumulation of conflicting national interests.
Furthermore, these attempts failed even when confidence in the EU was much higher than today, a moment in which confidence is significantly declining, and the risk of Brexit and of
a disintegration of the EU is looming. The only way to overcome this difficult and risky situation would be a significant change, a “quantum leap”, a “bottom up” process that involves all the movements and federalist organizations in favour of an efficient, democratic and supportive Europe. A Federal Europe founded on a Constitution, which will make the treaties and the intergovernmental system obsolete, opening the way to the realization of the United States of Europe.
This is what we at FAEF propose, offering all the movements and associations that want to realize, by joining forces, the new “federalist project” in order to inform and educate European citizens about the true nature of federalism and the advantages of this system of government, in which today about 40% of the World population live.
FAEF is a federal organization in which its members – associations, movements and parties – will maintain their individuality and independence, while committing themselves to the achievement of a single common goal: a Federal Europe founded on a Constitution, approved by European citizens.
The current times are difficult but full of great possibilities and extraordinary changes. We should not remain bound by the fear of embarking on a new path to transform the EU into the United States of Europe! It will be difficult to find another opportunity or more favourable times … it is necessary to begin immediately without postponements asking ourselves, all together, this crucial question: if not now, when?
Lorenzo Sparviero – Editor