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FC Elsinore - October 2002


The Federal Committee of the Young European Federalists (JEF) met in Elsinore (Denmark) on October 25-27, 2002 and adopted the following resolutions:

 

The Resolutions in Word document format can be downloaded below:


EP_01-_on_referendum.doc
EP02.doc
EP_03_-_five_essentials.doc
EP.doc
EP.doc

EP 1 - Resolution on a Europe-Wide Referendum


FC Elsinore - October 2002

 

JEF-Europe:

 

Stresses the need for the European Union to reconnect with its citizens as part of the historic project to create a unified and democratic Europe. The future European Federal Constitution must gain popular support and legitimacy from Europe's citizens if it is to become the central document defining the direction and structure of the European Union of the future.

States its support, in principle, for a Europe-wide referendum to adopt a European Federal Constitution.

 

Believes that only major issues of constitutional reform that significantly alter the structure or direction of the European Union should be put directly to the people.

 

Calls for the provision for Europe-wide referendums on constitutional issues to be incorporated in the treaties by the constitutional Convention. The format of this Europe-wide referendum would require a special majority of both states and the population of the European Union as a whole to adopt the result. The referendum would be held on the same day across the EU, with the same question in asked in all the EU's official languages. Member states would be bound by the results of the referendum.

 

Expresses disapproval at the current situation of haphazard national referendums, often fought on national issues such as in Ireland over the Nice Treaty. The abuse of referenda on European issues by national governments in order to serve their own domestic policy objectives is detrimental to involving European citizens in the debate on issues of Europe-wide importance and hinders the emergence of genuine European democratic legitimacy.

 

Is concerned that even the idea of 15 national referendums organised on the same day does not enhance Europe-wide democracy that is above the competing interests of nation states, and that such a proposal cannot be described as a Europe-wide referendum.

 

JEF-Europe therefore resolves to:

 

Continue to primarily focus its work concerning the Convention on trying to push the Convention to adopt a European Federal Constitution, using a combination of lobbying work, networking in the Youth Contact Group, conferences, seminars, website campaigns and public actions.

 

Make every effort to foster federalist positions within the Convention by supporting the federalist intergroup, working closely with our federalist allies, with the goal of establishing a federalist consensus in the Convention.

 

Encourage sections to run model referendums where citizens voice their opinions on the Appeal for a European Federal Constitution, building on the great success of these initiatives in Paris and Ventotene. Such actions are vital as they involve citizens in the debate about the Convention and should be organised within the wider context of Europe Day 2003 when activists take to the streets with the aim of informing the general public about the need for a democratic, federal and enlarged European Union.

 

 


EP 2 - Resolutions on Understanding between Peoples


FC Elsinore - October 2002

 

JEF-EUROPE,

 

Considering the development of extreme right movements;

 

Deeply concerned about their political successes and accession to power in several European countries,

states the following:

Stressing that "fundamental human rights" can only be deemed "fundamental" if they apply to all, at all level of society;

 

Appalled by the permanence of prejudices and discrimination against Sinti and Roma;

 

Appalled by the creeping or obvious racism targeting Muslims and people of Arabic origin, especially since the 11th September 2001;

 

Appalled by the permanence and recent surge of Anti-Semitism, especially in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict;

 

Appalled by all types of discrimination based on religious or allegedly racial characteristics;

 

Appalled by the permanence of homophobic behaviours and prejudices;

 

Declares the right of every individual of any background, circumstances or lifestyle, to live their lives free from oppression, discrimination or prejudice

 

Extreme Right Movements

 

Strongly condemns the participation of extreme right and/or populist movements or political parties in governments of the European Union;

 

Calls on the Convention to make the Charter of Fundamental Rights into a legally binding document, not only on the EU institutions and Member States when they apply EU law, but also when they apply national law;

 

Demands that the European Constitution grant the Union power to enforce respect of human rights in all its policies and throughout its territory. This will be achieved by holding violation of human rights to be contrary to European law;

 

Discriminations and "Race" Relations

 

Demands that more actions are taken to fight the development of Anti-Muslim, Anti-Arab, Anti-Semitic and xenophobic attacks, abuses and discriminations;

 

Believes in particular that the attacks of September 11th, 2001, and of the Israel-Palestine conflict should under no circumstances reflect on the internal relations between, and on the integration of, the Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe;

 

Reaffirms the need of a united society, in which different groups of people actually interact and enrich themselves through intercultural exchanges, rather than live side by side;

 

Expresses its deep concern about the so-called antiterrorist legislations taken throughout Europe and at the EU level. The events of September 11th have essentially been used as a pretext to strengthen further "Fortress Europe" and to criminalize immigration;

 

Therefore calls on the EU to have a more human approach to immigrants and asylum seekers and fight in all possible ways police brutality and inhuman detention conditions of which they too often are victims;

 

Education and Fight Against Racism

 

Believes the lessons of the past have not been completely learned in any European countries;

 

Calls on education curricula to fully acknowledge national responsibilities in the massacres perpetrated against Jews, Sinti and Roma, and Homosexuals during the Second World War; as well as the other equivalent crimes and discriminations, the official recognition of which might harm national pride;

 

Notes with deep regret that many European countries still have not enacted laws criminalizing expressions of xenophobic, racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic feelings, namely in the media;

 

Believes that racism and xenophobia are just another expression of the lack of European spirit in the current EU;

 

Education and European Spirit

 

Wishes to remind present and future member states of the "ever closer union" between the peoples of Europe that characterises the European integration process;

 

Believes that this contradicts the divisive forces that affect many European countries. Those too often denote at best mistrust, and usually a feeling of hatred and prejudice against other people, which are all clearly incompatible with the objectives of European integration;

 

Calls on those Member States countries engaged in such divisions or oppositions to put an end to them. In that respect, education programmes should be used neither as a divisive political tool nor as a means to impose a homogenised culture, but as a way to promote exchanges and mutual enrichment within and between European countries and citizens;

 

Calls on candidate countries harmed by such divisions or oppositions to put an end to them before the enlargement has taken place, and asks the European Union to use its financial help as an incentive in that purpose;

 

DEMANDS, FINALLY

 

that the European Constitutional convention and the present and future member States of the European Union take all the necessary steps to turn the EU into a genuine, compassionate and humanistic Federation.

 

 

Annex

Non-exhaustive list of European countries affected by racism and violation of human rights

 

Belgique/België: anti-semitism

Anti-Arab racism

Police brutality

Balgarija: Discriminations and brutality against the Sinti and Roma (many of them under age)

Police brutality and torture

Degrading and inhuman imprisonment conditions for mentally ill people

No comprehensive anti-discrimination law

Cesko: racist violence against Sinti and Roma. Police and judicial passivity.

Police violence

Danmark:

Deutschland: Development of neo-nazi groups

Islamic fundamentalism

Police brutality and racism

Eesti:

Ellas/E??as: Police violence against foreigners, immigrants and asylum seekers, impunity

Discriminatory and punitive nature of the civil service replacing the military service for conscientious objectors.

Discriminations and racism against Sinti and Roma

España: Anti-Arab racism and discrimination against seasonal immigrants

Deportation of Moroccan children.

France: Police brutality and racism, notably against asylum-seekers, foreigners established in France, under age persons,

Anti-Arab racism, police violence, "délit de sale gueule"

Anti-Semitic attacks, insults and violences in many French suburbs (banlieues),

Anti-Kurdish racism

Islamic fundamentalism

Inhuman and degrading standard of living in prisons

Ireland/Eire: cruel, inhuman and degrading living conditions for mentally ill people

Italia: police violence, torture in prisons

Latvijas: prison overpopulation

Lietuvos: inhuman and degrading detention conditions in short-term police detention centres.

Nederland:

Norge:

Makedonija: Discrimination and violences against the Albanian (Muslim) minority, summary executions, indiscriminate bombing of villages, civilian killings,

Violence and attempts of ethnic cleansing by UÇK

Discriminations against the Gypsy minority (even by the police)

Magyarország: Discrimination against Sinti and Roma, widespread anti-Semitism

Moldavija: Torture and police brutality. Prison overpopulation

Österreich: Discrimination against homosexuals (higher minimum age of consent)

Police brutalities

Polska: Racist violences against Sinti and Roma, African refugees. Lack of police action.

Widespread anti-Semitism

Portugal: Torture in prisons, police brutality, impunity.

România: Police brutality and torture

Homophobic discriminations

Slovensko: Racist attacks and police brutality against Sinti and Roma

 

Suomi/Finland: Discriminatory nature of the civil service replacing the military service for conscientious objectors, and imprisonment of those refusing to perform it.

Alleged police racism against Somalia natives

Sverige: Police violence

United Kingdom: Religious hatred in Ulster

Race riots

Islamic fundamentalism

Police violence. Torture and racism in prisons.

2001 Act on security and the fight against terrorism

 

References

Amnesty International Annual Report 2002

Human Right Watch

 


EP 3 - The five essentials for a European Constitution


FC Elsinore - October 2002

 

The Federal Committee of JEF Europe welcomes the work of the Convention and its clear objective to draft a European Constitution. The first results of the working groups show the clear determination of most convention members to make the Union more democratic and more efficient. JEF-Europe also welcomes the numerous proposals for a European Constitution which have been published recently. These proposals show that a majority of politicians and academics are in favour of a European Constitution, while Euro barometer surveys indicate general public support for the idea. The crucial question for the Convention is not whether we want to achieve a European Constitution, but what this constitution should contain.

 

By putting forward five essentials for a European Constitution, JEF Europe is encouraging the Convention to produce a strong European Constitution. Following these essentials we can make sure that Europe will be understood by its citizens, that Europe will take up a stronger role in solving global problems, while at the same time respecting the diversity of the cultures and traditions in Europe.

 

The citizens of Europe as well as the political institutions in Europe and the national states need to be aware of the most important values and key principles of the Union. A European Constitution has to include a chapter on European democracy which explains how the institutions of the European Union work. In order to be understandable for the citizens, a European Constitution needs an understandable division of competences. Fifth, the European Constitution requires simple procedures, so the citizens are able to follow how legislation is decided in the European Union.

 

1. European Values

 

More than fifty years ago the project of European unification was started in order to guarantee peace in Europe and to overcome the destruction caused by two World Wars. Since the beginning, the European Communities and the European Union have built on the values of its people: democracy, peace, solidarity, freedom, equality, the dignity of mankind, respect of human rights and respect for the rule of law, social justice, and sustainability.

 

The work of the Union must be based on the interests of its citizens, respecting different cultures, languages and traditions in Europe, in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. The Charter of Fundamental Rights, which must be at the heart of the European Constitution.

 

In its work, the European union has to set the following objectives: to work for peace, respect of democracy and human rights, economical and social progress in Europe and the world; to build up a space of freedom, security and justice; to build up a free-market including free movements of people, of services, goods and capital; to build up an economical, social and environmental sustainable society; to secure the equality of the inhabitants of Europe.

 

2. European Principles

 

To include the provisions of all relevant treaties would mean a constitution of several hundred articles. The European Constitution should be easy understandable, but still precise, and contain a preamble, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, basic provisions (such as principles and objectives of the Union, membership of the Union), responsibilities of the Union, legal procedures in the Union (how the legislation is decided and what kind of legal instruments exists), and the institutional framework. All additional provisions about politics of the union, the procedures and additional regulations should be stated by simple law.

 

The constitution should be able to be altered on the initiative of the Parliament, the Council or the Commission. A two-third majority vote of Parliament and Council would be needed to make changes to the constitution or to convene a convention to prepare major constitutional changes.

 

The European Constitution must state the key principles of the functioning of the Union:

- The European Union consist of its citizens and its member-states;

- Every citizen of a member state is also citizen of the Union. Other persons who reside legally in a Member State of the Union shall in general have the same rights as Union citizens.

- European Union law should have primacy over Member States' laws

- The Union should have a single legal personality;

- After completed negotiations, every European state that respects the principles, values and goals of the union, can join the European Union. The accession of new member states requires the approval of the European Parliament and national parliaments.

- The Union needs its own budget and own financial resources: this means independent tax-raising powers for the Union. The European Parliament must have full budgetary powers;

- Todays' European party-families should be transformed into true European political Parties.

 

3. European Institutions

 

In order to guarantee a democratic, transparent and efficient European Union, a fundamental reform of the EU institutions must take place, including a clear separation between the legislative and the executive of the Union.

 

The European Parliament represents the citizens of the Union. Together with the Council, the European Parliament should hold the legislative power of the Union, and should be responsible for all legislative procedures as well controlling the budget of the European Union. The European Parliament should elect the president of the European Commission. Parties must put forward their candidate for this post prior to European Parliament elections. The European Parliament will be responsible for holding the executive to account and shall have the power to scrutinise the work of Commissioners and dismiss them if necessary. At least ten percent of the members of the European Parliament should be elected on Europe-wide lists.

 

The Council represents the interests of the member states and should act only as a legislature, with executive functions passing to the Commission. In order to represent the variety of the member states, a form of rotating presidency should be maintained. Decisions made in the council should be prepared by sectoral councils. These consist of the respective sectoral ministers of the member states. Decisions should be done by double majority, meaning the majority of states and the majority of the population. All Council meetings should be open to the public and all documents made publicly available.

The European Commission should become the true executive of the European Union, including the area of foreign, security and defence policy; should be responsible for defining the general interest of the European Union and for ensuring the implementation of EU policies. The Commission President, elected by the European Parliament, shall choose his/her commissioners. The entire Commission has to ratified by the European Parliament. The Commission, the European Parliament and the Council shall have the right of initiative.

 

The European Court of Justice should be the highest court of the European Union. Every citizen should have the right to present a case in the European Court of Justice

 

4. Understandable Competences Division

 

JEF-Europe stresses that the division of competences of the European Union must be based on the principle of subsidiarity and the principle of proportionality. Decisions have to be prepared and decided on the level which is closest to the citizens and which is best able to solve a problem. Only if the goals of the planned measure cannot be achieved at national level or a lower level of governance should the Union take action.

 

In order to be easy understandable but still precise, there should be three different competences categories that the different fields of politics are assigned to: exclusive EU competences, shared competences between the EU and Member States, and complementary competences. In those policy fields where the Union has complementary competences, EU institutions will limit themselves to supporting and supplementing national policies. All fields of politics which are not assigned to one of the three competence categories will remain the competence of the member states.

 

5. Simple procedures

 

All legislation should be decided upon by the European Parliament and the Council acting together. Laws will only be passed if both chambers will agree on the proposed text. All legislative procedures should be open to public, with all documentation published on the internet.

 

Today's instruments, which number over 30, should be reduced to four different sorts of legislation:

a) Union law, which is binding for all EU-institutions, national institutions and the citizens of Europe and does not need to be transformed into national law in order to come into effect;

b) Union framework law, which is a binding framework in which the member states have a certain freedom to issue national laws;

c) Regulations are implementation rules relating to the laws and framework laws and addressed to the member states and union citizens, they are enacted by the European Commission;

 

Major constitutional changes should be put to the people through a Europe-wide referendum, pursuant to the Resolution EP 01, adopted at the Federal Committee in October 2002 in Helsingor.

 


EP 4 - Resolution on the Youth Convention


FC Elsinore - October 2002

 

The Federal Committee of JEF Europe

 

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT

 

- the conclusion of the European Youth Convention (Brussels, 9-12 July), which adopted by majority a final text that clearly supports the main demands of the federalists. Amongst them are the adoption of federalist institutions for the EU, the transformation of the Council of Ministers into a Second Chamber (Chamber of States), the transformation of the Commission into a true executive body accountable to the European Parliament, the generalisation of majority voting and the abolishment of veto from the EU decision-making, the attribution of the defence policy to the federal level as an exclusive competence, and the demand that the project of European Constitution proposed by the Convention be submitted to the approval of the European citizens through a European Referendum;

- that in the same document the Youth Convention has invited the European Convention to present, before the conclusion of its work, its drafts to a second session of the Youth Convention. To this, it has entrusted the Presidium and the European Youth Forum to prepare a second session and to have an initiative of the Youth Convention to organise a broader and regular consultation of young people and youth associations across Europe during all the working time of the European Convention.

- that both the second session of the Youth Convention and the consultation of young people across Europe will be strategically important for JEF-Europe, because they give means to present the federalists' requests to the European Convention to a huge number of young people all over Europe and to gather a wide popular support on those requests;

- that JEF-Europe is interested in building a strong co-operation with the Youth Forum in the promotion and the spreading of those federalist requests;

- that the President of the European Youth Convention is a candidate to the Presidency of the Youth Forum itself.

 

CALLS ON JEF EUROPE AND ITS REPRESENTATIVES IN THE YOUTH FORUM

 

- to actively promote in the Youth Forum the organisation of a second session of the European Youth Convention, to be held after the publication of the first drafts of the European Convention;

 


EP 5 - Resolution on the respect for international law


FC Elsinore - October 2002

 

The Federal Committee of JEF-Europe is worried about:

· the EU governments' attitude towards the current crisis in Iraq, which is weakening the strength of the European Union in the international arena.

· the developments regarding ongoing threats of unilateral actions breaking international law.

regrets

 

· the casualties in the recent tragic events in Bali and Moscow.

 

asks

 

· all European countries to respect and obey the rules and norms of international law.

· all EU-Member states to act within the framework and principles of the Common and Foreign Security Policy.

 

demands

 

· a stronger and more coherent Common and Foreign Security Policy.

· the integration of the CFSP structures and the High Representative for CFSP into the European Commission.

· that the EU plays an effective role in international politics; especially on the issues concerning reconstruction, democratization, conflict management, and peace resolution.

 

believes that

 

· only a federal united Europe can provide the necessary means to prevent or resolve future disagreements on.

 


Those interested in the Internal Policy Documents can also download them below:


IP.doc
IP.doc
IP03.doc

IP 1 - Internal Policy Resolution on JEF-Seminar Participation Certificates


FC Elsinore - October 2002

 

The Federal Committee of JEF-Europe acknowledges

 

that JEF-Seminars, both the ones organized by JEF-Europe and our national sections, have always proved to be on a high level. The transfered knowledge, social and language skills are of a huge benefit for those participating.

regrets

that up until now, seminar participants had no written proof of their engagement and their achieved performance.

 

appoints

the Secretariat of JEF-Europe

to design a uniform certificate, which shall be used at all future JEF-Seminars.

to produce a catalogue of basic rules and standards, which have to be followed and met at a JEF-seminar in order to be allowed to use the certificate.

 

decides

that the use of this official certificate is subject to permission by the Executive Bureau of JEF-Europe, in order to avoid misuse of this document.

 


IP 2 - International Policy Resolution on JEF strategies and policies for dialogue, exchanges and common understanding in Europe


FC Elsinore - October 2002

 

THE Federal Committee of JEF-EUROPE,

 

Reaffirms EP 2

 

Calls on national, regional and local sections to promote exchanges between them.

Asks national sections to condemn without ambiguity and in the strongest terms any expression of xenophobic, racist, anti-Semitic or homophobic feeling.

 

Disagrees with any of the said expressions in general within the organisation, or any generalising or pejorative comment addressed to any group of people taken as such, particularly if they target alleged religious or ethnic minorities.

 


IP 3 - Internal Policy Resolution on taking part on the European-wide debate on the role of national sub-entities within the European Union and within JEF-Europe itself


FC Elsinore - October 2002

 

The Federal Committee of JEF-EUROPE,

 

Acknowledging that during the last decades, many European countries have experienced important regionalisation processes, giving as a result a greater impulse to the development of territorial entities at a sub-national level,

states the following:

Taking into account that those regional advances are a product of important historical processes and also a reflection of relevant socio-political phenomena within the country, as well as a response to situations of different nature depending on the country (e.g. call for decentralisation of decision-making processes to be adjusted to people's real needs, demand for autonomy of certain groups or minorities and expression of particular identities, etc.).

 

Considering that the heterogeneity among them and their status does not allow to make generalisations, but also bearing in mind that some of those regions have relevant competencies and substantial legislative capabilities, as well as a valuable symbolic meaning for their citizens in cultural and democratic terms.

 

Aware of the fact that not all the central governments have managed to involve legitimate regional representatives in the decision-making affecting issues of their competence within the EU, and that regions have not been directly involved in the decision making at the EU-level (except for the powerless Committee of Regions), even when the Brussels-based supranational structures take decisions that are of their exclusive competence.

 

Being concerned about the risk of a resurgence of regional and national resentments that could undermine European unity and stability, but also worried about the possibility of stepping back in the democratic achievements of some sub-national entities.

 

Admitting the impossibility to tackle most of the main issues to be faced by the European Union in the near future without taking into consideration the role of regions, especially when it comes to the questions raised during the Laeken Summit and addressed by the Convention on the Future of Europe in terms of democracy, transparency, efficiency and clear distribution of competencies, among others.

 

Taking as a starting point the statements derived from our beliefs as a federalist organisation regarding subsidiarity and decentralisation, all of them published in various documents of the organisation and included in our website (see attached document).

 

Stating that subsidiarity, all together with democracy and solidarity, is one of the main principles that should define a European Federation and Constitution and understanding that a real application of the principle of subsidiarity cannot stop at the borders of the Member-States, but has to involve all the democratic institutions at the EU, national, regional and local levels as legitimate players in order to overcome the criticisms of democratic deficit.

 

Conceding that, until now, JEF has been concentrated on the impulse of federalism upwards: regarding the transferring of competences and interaction between the nation states and the European institutions; but also recognizing that we cannot forget federalism downwards: regarding the interaction and transferring of competences from nation-states to regional and local institutions.

 

We believe that it is time for JEF to participate more actively in the debate about the role of regions or other sub-national entities within a united Europe, launched in order to discuss the implications of strengthening the regional dimension of the European Union.

 

Moreover, we think that JEF-Europe should take a serious stand for this topic for what regions mean in terms of decentralisation and subsidiarity. Such a standpoint should also be rooted on the federalist conviction on the importance of good governance and grassroots democracy. In fact, it is legitimate that regions are guaranteed a more active role in the EU integration process and an appropriate place within the EU system, since a fair recognition to the allocation of powers across the different levels of governance is needed, in order to foster a real grass-roots democracy. Beyond that, the acceptance of the regional variety appears as an important basis for cultural understanding in the European Union.

 

Calls for the inclusion of the topic within the framework of the Political Committee "New Europe" (or any other suitable one) in order to debate on the role of national sub-entities in the European Union, since such a discussion is both necessary and decisive for our future in common.

 

After all, in a Europe made of multiple identities, realities and levels of institutions the only effective alternative is to build a federalist multi-level system based on subsidiarity, as close as possible to the citizen, and with a significant local and regional level besides the supranational and the national levels, where all Europeans citizens can feel represented and involved in the construction of a more democratic society.

 

 

Annex to the Proposal of IP 03:

STATEMENTS OF JEF-EUROPE REGARDING THE TOPIC

Federalism proposes a decentralised, self-managed society, in which all persons affected by a decision may participate in making it. All decisions must be reached by democratic institutions at the most appropriate level. […]

Today the world is confronted with a crisis of government. It is clear that sovereign nation-states are incapable of solving the many problems that arise from their increasing interdependence. Furthermore, they are aggravating these problems by their unwillingness to adopt democratic solutions at a supranational and often at a subnational level.

The inability of national states to carry out successfully the necessary reforms is due to two main reasons. First, the nation state is a centralised, bureaucratic complex, serving the conservation of power and is getting more and more remote from the individual. A lack of participation and transparency in the decision-making process contributes to this alienation. Decisions are taken without the opportunity for adequate consultation or knowledge by the persons affected by them. This means that many problems which can only be adequately dealt with at a local level are not being solved. Furthermore, regional differences and cultural diversity are being stifled.

Secondly, as mentioned previously, political and economic interdependence have produced problems which are beyond the capabilities of a single nation state to control. Up until now, the efforts of nation states to solve such problems by means of traditional intergovernmental cooperation have proved inadequate. […]

The federalist principle is that all decisions in society shall not be made on a higher level than necessary. Each individual has the right to exercise maximum influence over all matters which concern him/her, limited necessarily by the rights of other individuals. The power structure of society must be such that the authority to deal with a problem lies where the problem arises or naturally belongs. Principles of democracy must be introduced at all levels: at the place of work; in residential communities; in educational institutions. […]

To allow federalism to be effective, institutions must exist at every level with sufficient powers to permit and implement the necessary policies for the good of the individual and the community as a whole. Problems present themselves at local, regional, European and world levels. […]

As much decentralisation as possible within federalist principles is important in order to overcome the problem created by the present political and economic structure of centralised nation states, namely:

o large, centralised and remote bureaucracies, leading to the alienation of their citizens and to less participation in the decision-making process;

o cultural, political and economic suppression of different minorities by the ruling majority;

o division of natural minority entities by nation state borders, thus creating strong tensions;

o standardisation of culture through methods such as the centralisation of the media at national level;

o suppression of local diversity and civic vitality;

o a bias in the economic structure towards a national approach that stifles regional development and consequently gives rise to a tendency for economic activity to concentrate in certain areas.

 

A federal Europe should be based on coordinate and independent levels of government, for example: district, city, region, nation, transregional area, Europe. The nation state should be incorporated in a federal structure as well, in order to let the cities and regions be coordinate but independent with the national and European level.

 

A federal Europe based on autonomous entities gives an answer to the above mentioned problems. Even those policies that have to be decided on a higher level should if feasible be administered at a lower level. In order to achieve this a substantial measure of devolution will be required to restore the balance that has been eroded during the development of the centralised nation state. It is important that regional divisions in Europe take account of both cultural aspirations and economic realities.

 

In the framework of the future European Union the unity of current nation states should not be considered inviolate. Europe's regions should be able to exercise self-determination. The regions must be given real economic and political power, thus enabling them to deal directly and more efficiently with their own problems. The decision-making process at a regional level must be democratic and based on regional institutions.

 

The common interests of peoples divided by present national borders may lead them to create new political entities. This process may only be conducted democratically; any such changes must be based on the consent of those affected. Transregional cooperation (e.g. the Nordic Council and the Alpe-Adria Community) should be developed into an important factor in Europe. The transregional level will be the essential link between the lower and upper levels in a federal society in Europe and in the world.

Source: www.jef-europe.net

 

 

 

 


Discussion postponed to next FC


FC Elsinore - October 2002

 

Federal Constitution for the European Union PREAMBLE

We, the Citizens of Europe,

- mindful of our common history and shared experiences of war and conflicts, unification and co-operation;

- confirming the importance of universal human rights;

- mindful of our cultural and linguistic heritage and the different identities and traditions on local, regional, national and European level;

- being convinced that co-operation over national borders is a driving force for peace, freedom and prosperity;

- wishing to establish a government based on the principles of democracy, federalism and the rule of law;

- being convinced that European integration and co-operation is the best way to unite a democratic and open society with efficiency in political action and economic and societal development on the European continent;

- therefore wishing to establish a European Union;

- wanting this Union to be based on universal values such as human dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality, solidarity and respect for the environment we live in;

- being firmly decided to strengthen the continued integration of our economies;

- being convinced of the important role of the European Union in the struggle for global justice, democracy and sustainable development;

- wishing to clarify the goals and the principles of the European Union for all its citizens;

have today agreed on this federal Constitution for the European Union as an expression of our will to build a Europe in peace and freedom.

 

CHAPTER ONE

Fundamental Rights

CHAPTER TWO

§ 1 Principles of the Union

(1) The European Union aims at ensuring peace, promoting prosperity, sustainability and democracy. The European Union consists of its Citizens and its Member States, from which all competencies of the Union emanate. The Union shall always act with the interests of its Citizens in mind. The Union shall respect the different cultures, languages and traditions that exist in the Member States and its regions. The activities of the Union shall be guided by the respect for democracy, subsidiarity, the rule of law, sustainable development and universal human rights.

(2) The Union has a legal personality.

(3) This European Constitution is the supreme law of the European Union.

§ 2 Objectives of the Union

The objectives of the European Union are:

- to promote peace, respect for democracy, economic and social progress and respect for the environment and animals across the whole of Europe;

- to develop an economic area without internal borders with a free market including free movement for people, services, goods and capital, with common minimum social and environmental standards;

- to establish a federation for freedom, security and justice for all Citizens of the Union;

- to promote peace, democracy, international human rights and economic and social development all over the world in co-operation with other states and peoples

- to strive for a high level of environmental protection in all its policies

- to promote democratic participation through representative bodies and by referendum

§ 3 Citizens of the Union

(1) Every Citizen of a Member State is also a Citizen of the Union.

(2) Every Citizen of the Union has the right to vote and to be elected in European, national, regional and municipal elections at his or her place of residence.

(3) Every Citizen of the Union may freely move, reside, seek employment and stay within the borders of the Union.

(4) Every Citizen of the Union has the right to seek protection at any diplomatic mission of the EU.

(5) Every Citizen of the Union has direct access to the European Court of Justice if its rights given by the EU laws are violated by EU institutions or the national legal protection is not sufficient or violates European Law.

(6) Other persons who reside legally in a Member State of the Union shall in general have the same rights as Union Citizens. Exceptions are only allowed where the fact that these persons have a non-EU citizenship is relevant.

 

§ 4 Languages of the Union

(1) Languages that are official in the Member States are also the official languages of the Union.

(2) English is the working language of the European Union. It is taught in all European schools to improve the direct communication between all Citizens.

§ 5 Membership in the Union

(1) Every State that is internationally recognised, that shares the principles and objectives of the Union and whose territory, entirely or partially, is located within the European continent, may apply for Union membership. After completed negotiations the accession treaty must be approved by the European Parliament and by the Parliaments of the Member States.

(2) A Member State that does not fulfil its duties, that result from its membership, may be sanctioned.

§ 6 Competencies of the Union

I. Distribution of Competencies

(1) The exercise of power of the European Union emanates from what is written in this Constitution and in those laws that are made in accordance with the procedures described in this Constitution.

(2) The distribution of competencies between the Union and the different decision-making levels of the Member States shall be ruled by the principle of subsidiarity, which means that every decision shall be taken as closely as possible to those concerned by the decision, and by the principle of proportionality, which means that the measures used by the Union to reach an objective may not infringe on the internal affairs of the Member States more than is necessary to reach that objective.

 

II. Exclusive competencies

 

The Union has exclusive competencies to make laws and take decisions in accordance with its principles in the following policy fields:

 

- external economic policy

- common market

- competition policy

- foreign affairs, security and defense

- development co-operation

- monetary union

- immigration, visa and asylum policy

- cross-border environmental issues

- financial regime of the Union

- European associations and political parties

 

In these policy fields decisions are taken by both chambers of the European Parliament.

 

III. Shared competencies

 

The Union and the Member States share competencies in the following policy fields:

 

- transport

- agriculture and fisheries

- regional and rural development

- consumer protection and food safety

- environmental protection

- research and technological development

- justice and home affairs

- mobility between the social security and education systems including minimum standards

- levying of taxes and minimum standards for taxation

 

The rules for the exact distribution of competencies in these fields are laid down in a European Special Act.

 

IV. Competencies of the Member States and their subnational level

 

All other policy fields remain in the responsibility of the Member States or their subnational level, for example

 

- internal organisation of the Member States

- the foundations of social security systems

- education

- health

- culture

- sports

 

V. Cooperation in new policy fields

 

(1) The Union may not take over competencies from the Member States other than by amending this Constitution.

(2) In the last resort, the Court of Justice of the European Union shall, with the principle of subsidiarity as its guiding line, decide if a proposed new EU activity is in accordance with the principles of distribution of competencies of the Union.

(3) A quarter of the members of the Chamber of Citizens or at least two Member States acting together have the right to refer a dispute of competencies to the European Court of Justice before coming into force.

 

 

§ 7 Community measures

 

The Union shall decide to act with the appropriate legal instrument according to the following hierarchy of norms:

 

I. Primary legislation

 

The European Special Acts , including their Annexes and Protocols, are the primary legal sources of the Union, and they are only subordinate to this Constitution. They settle the mandates of the Institutions and the balance between the Institutions and the Member States.

 

II. Secondary legislation

 

European Direct Acts , European Framework Acts , General Orders and Individual Orders constitute the secondary legislation of the European Union.

 

a) European Direct Acts are binding and applicable in all Member States.

 

b) European Framework Acts are defining only objectives. These objectives are binding for Member States, but Member States have a certain margin how to transform these objectives into Member State law.

 

c) The European Parliament can give the Commission a mandate to implement parts of the legislation of the Union through establishing General Orders. Those competencies that the European Parliament in this way delegates to the Commission can be withdrawn again.

 

According to the principle of subsidiarity, a measure on a lower level shall always be chosen if possible.

§ 8 Openness and transparency

(1) The European Union shall be ruled by the principles of transparency and openness in order to allow public scrutiny in its decision-making procedures. As a basic principle, all documents are subject to public access. All law-making in the two chambers of the European Parliament is public. Comprehensive justification for all legislation must be given.

(2) All Citizens in the Union have the right, individually or together with other Citizens, to submit a petition to the European Parliament.

§ 9 Direct Democracy

The Citizens of the Union may hold a referendum about any European law including amendments of this Constitution if 3% of the European electorate signs a petition calling for this referendum or if either Chamber of the European Parliament calls for a referendum with simple majority. The referendum is passed if at least 25% of the Union Citizens participate in the referendum and the referendum achieves an absolute majority. The conditions and procedures for referenda are laid down in a European Special Act.

§ 10 European Political Parties

Political parties at European level contribute to the development of the European public space and to European democracy. They bring the political priorities of the Union to the attention of the Citizens. Status and financial provisions for the support of European political parties are specified in European Union legislation.

§ 11 Currency and finance

(1) The currency of the Union is the Euro, which consists of one hundred cents.

(2) The Union has its own financial regime. The activities of the Union are financed through own financial resources. The Union has the right to levy certain taxes. The budget is decided by the two Chambers of the European Parliament.

§ 12 Amendments to the Constitution

(1) This Constitution can be amended by a two-thirds majority vote in both Chambers of the European Parliament and four fifths of the national parliaments.

(2) The amendments can be put to European referendum by either Chamber of the European Parliament. For constitutional referenda not only an overall majority of the votes on Union level but also a majority of the votes in two-thirds of the Member States is required.

CHAPTER THREE

The Institutions of the European Union

§ 13 European Parliament

(1) The European Parliament represents the Citizens of the Union and the Member States. It is the only legislative body. Together with the European Commission it has the right of initiative.

(2) It consists of the Chamber of States and the Chamber of Citizens:

§ 14 Chamber of Citizens

(1) The Chamber of Citizens of the European Parliament represents the Citizens of the Union. The Chamber of Citizens legislates in co-operation with the Chamber of States, establishes the budget of the Union, elects the President of Commission by majority of its members, approves and controls the Commission.

(2) The members of the Chamber of Citizens are elected by the Citizens in the Member States for a period of five years. The members will be elected in general elections that are to take place on the same day in the whole Union under the same legal provisions.

(3) The number of members must not exceed 650. At least 10 per cent of the members are elected on transnational lists.

(4) The elected members of the Parliament may organise themselves in political groups.

(5) The Chamber of Citizens organises its work in Committees. It elects a president, who chairs its meetings.

(6) The Chamber of Citizens takes decisions with simple majority.

(7) The Chamber of Citizens can refuse to grant the Commission discharge and can raise distrust towards the Commission as a whole or towards individual Commission members. The members of the Commission must resign if a vote of censure is adopted by a majority of its members.

(8) On the call of one quarter of its members the Chamber of Citizens may install an investigating committee.

§ 15 Chamber of States

(1) The Chamber of States of the European Parliament represents the Member States of the Union. It legislates in co-operation with the Chamber of Citizens.

(2) The Chamber of States is composed of representatives of the executives of the Member States, and if the individual Member States so decide of the executives of their legislative regions.

(3) Every Member State has one vote. In general the Chamber of States takes decisions by majority voting.

(4) The Presidency of the Chamber of Citizens rotates every six months amongst its Member States.

(5) Decisions of Chamber of States are prepared by the Ministerial Councils dealing with the respective policies. These Ministerial Councils shall be composed of the Member States' or regional ministers in charge of the respective policy field. Every minister must ensure that the decisions and negotiation positions of the Chamber of States have the support of their respective parliaments, in accordance with the respective traditions.

(6) The Chamber of States approves the president of the Commission elected by the Chamber of Citizens.

§ 16 Common Provisions for both Chambers

(1) In case of disagreement between the two Chambers of the European Parliament both Chambers can refer the case to a reconciliation committee. The reconciliation committee is composed of 25 members elected by each Chamber.

(2) The meetings, votes and reports of both Chambers as well as the committees are open to the public.

§ 17 European Commission

(1) The European Commission is the Executive of the Union. It supervises the implementation and controls the application of the Union law and represents the Union in international organisations. In certain areas laid down in a European Special Act instead of the Member States, which are in general responsible for the implementation and administration of Union measures, the Commission can act.

(2) The European Commission consists of a President and additional commissioners. The Commissioners should represent the diversity of Europe.

(3) The Commission is responsible to the Chamber of Citizens. Individual commissioners can be dismissed by the President of the Commission or by vote of the Chamber of Citizens. The President of the Commission can under certain preconditions dissolve the Chamber of Citizens and call for new elections.

(4) The President of the Commission decides on the general political guidelines, organises the work of the Commission and divides the areas of responsibility between the other Commissioners.

§ 18 Court of Justice

 

(1) The Court of Justice guarantees that the Union law is respected. The Court shall settle conflicts between the institutions of the Union, Member States, legislative regions, Citizens of the Union and legal persons based in the Union.

(2) The Court of Justice is also the Constitutional Court of the Union. If a dispute on competencies arises between the Union and the Member States, the Court shall decide whether the competence in question shall be regarded as a competence of the Union or a competence of the Member States.

(3) Every Member State appoints a judge to the Court of Justice for a non-renewable period of nine years. The judges are independent and impartial in carrying out their offices.

(4) The statute of the Court of Justice, a Court of First Instance and additional judicial chambers is laid down in a European Special Act.

§ 19 European Ombudsperson

(1) The Ombudsperson shall protect the interests of the citizens of the European Union by taking and investigating complaints about negligence by the institutions of the Union towards a Citizen.

(2) The Ombudsperson is nominated and elected by the Chamber of Citizens. He or she is independent in carrying out his or her office.

§ 20 Council on Sustainable Development

(1) The Council on Sustainable Development shall help to guarantee the principle of sustainable environmental, economic and social development. Its role is advisory.

(2) The Council on Sustainable Development consists of representatives from all branches of civic society and the academia from all Member States. The members shall be elected by the Chamber of Citizens of the European Parliament on the basis of proposals made by the Member States and the European umbrella organisations of civic society and the academia. The number of members must not exceed 150.

(3) The Council on Sustainable Development can take legal action to the Court of Justice if its rights or the principle of sustainable development are violated.

§ 21 Committee of the Regions

(1) The Committee of the Regions shall represent the interests of the subnational levels in relation to the Union. Its role is advisory.

(2) The Committee of the Regions consists of representatives from legislatives regions, other regions and local authorities. The representatives shall be democratically elected to the institutions they represent. The number of representatives must not exceed 300.

(3) The Committee of the Regions can take legal action to the Court of Justice if its rights or the principle of subsidiarity are violated.

§ 22 European Central Bank

(1) The European Central Bank is the central bank of the Union acting independent from decision by the other Institutions and the Member States. In the framework of the principles of the Union, the sole responsibilities of the European Central Bank shall be to issue the Euro, which is the currency of the Union, maintain its value and establish the monetary policy of the Union. The European Central Bank is working in the context of the economic and financial politics of the Union determined by the European Parliament.

(2) The Monetary Council of the European Central Bank is the highest constituting body. It establishes the monetary policy of the Union. The Monetary Council consists of the Board of Directors of the European Central Bank and the governors of the central banks of the Member States. All members are independent from Member State influence. The Board of Directors consists of a President, a Vice-President and four other directors. They are appointed for a period of eight years and are elected by the Monetary Council. The role of the Board of Directors is to implement the monetary policy.

(3) The forecasts, reports and minutes of meetings of the European Central Bank are public and published regularly. It must inform the European Parliament about its monetary policy.

(4) The statute of the European Central Bank is laid down in a European Special Act.

§ 23 Court of Auditors

(1) The Court of Auditors is an independent organ which shall audit the accounts and the administration of the European Union. The Court of Auditors co-operates with national auditing authorities.

(2) Every Member State appoints an auditor to the Court of Auditors for a non-renewable period of nine years. The auditors are independent and impartial in carrying out their offices.

§ 24 Internal organisation of the Institutions and inter-institutional decision-making

Further provisions regarding the internal organisation of the institutions and inter-institutional decision-making are laid down in a European Special Act.

 

 


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