by Leo Klinkers |
December, 8th, 2021
Today is the inaugural day of Olaf Scholz as German Chancellor. On this important day, the Federal Alliance of European Federalists ( http://faef.eu/ ) welcomes the fact that, after a long time, a European government has returned to talk about the need to achieve a Federation of European states.
In the text of the government agreement we can read: ‘’ We will form a government that defines German interests in the light of European interests ‘’. European interest: these are the most perfect words that can be expressed to begin the discussion on a European Federation. The clear and necessary premise is in fact that a European Federation must be built in such a way that its task is exclusively to take care of the common interests of all the citizens, all the states and all the territories of Europe. Interests which, as is recognized in the German government agreement, the single member states (even the most populous and developed ones like Germany) are no longer able to take care of on their own.
Unfortunately, in designing such an important and ambitious project, the new German government seems to replicate the same errors of approach that have characterized the last decades of European history, including the great expectations that President Macron raised (and then deluded) at the time of his election. In particular, to use once again the same instruments that so far prevented the birth of a European Federation: treaties (such as the Treaty of Lisbon in force) and the intergovernmental / multilateralist system (whose lower democratic and functional expression is obviously represented by the non-elected EU Council).
With the instrument of treaties, one can only create an intergovernmental system, like that of the current European Union. A true federal state can only be created with the adoption of a Federal Constitution, as already happened in the USA (1787-1789), in Switzerland (1848) and, immediately after the Second World War, in Austria and in Germany itself.
We regret that the word ‘Constitution’ never appears in this government agreement, except when it is requested that the Conference on the Future of Europe is turned into a ‘’ constituent assembly ‘’. We wonder how this can be done considering that 1) this conference is in the hands of the EU institutions and that 2) EU institutions are de facto blocked by the conflict between the governments of the states, their national interests and the personal or party interests of the government leaders.
We believe that only European citizens can decide on the creation of a federation of European states. After decades of missed opportunities to arrive at a European Federation, we think that time has run out and the European institutions have neither the will nor the possibility to proceed with the creation of a European Federation. Especially if they continue to persist in the use of treaties and top-down intergovernmental agreements.
That is why on October, 2nd, 2021, the FAEF inaugurated its Citizens’ Convention ( https://www.faef.eu/en_gb/citizens-convention/ ) whose purpose is to create the text of the future European Federal Constitution to be presented to the citizens of each European state that will have the opportunity of deciding whether or not to ratify the constitution.
FAEF has already involved citizens and experts in constitutional law from all over Europe for the production of a Constitution of only 10 articles, without any reference to national interests and all the exceptions and opt-outs that are part of the Treaty of Lisbon.
This drafted European Federal Constitution already satisfies, among others, two specific requirements underlined in the German government agreement: 1) a uniform European electoral law with transnational lists and a binding top candidate system and 2) common foreign, security and defense in Europe. This also includes a common currency for all federated states, a bill of rights, and a list of common interests to be pursued by the federal government, with a very special focus to the environmental question and climate change.
By presenting this Constitution for ratification to the citizens, our motto is “all sovereignty rests with the people“. This is the backbone of democracy and bottom up governance.
More citizens can be involved in the process of writing the Constitution by directly addressing FAEF Board or by contacting the official members of the Citizens’ Convention. Organizations can be involved by applying to become members of the FAEF.
The end of the works of FAEF Citizens’ Convention is scheduled for May 2022. From that moment the European Federal Constitution will be ready.
We ask to the German Government and to the German Parliament to support this initiative by already scheduling a date for the consultation of German citizens on the approval of the Federal Constitution and pushing for other countries to do the same. In this way, Germany will have the possibility to become one the first countries to ratify a true European federal constitution and will take the lead, after decades of waiting, in creating true unity among European citizens and states.
Dr. Leo Klinkers
President of the Federal Alliance of European Federalists (F.A.E.F.)
President of the Federalism for Peace Foundation