FC Budapest - March 2002
The Federal Committee of JEF Europe met in Budapest (Hungary) on 22-24 March 2002 and adopted the following resolutions:
The Resolutions in Word document format can be downloaded below:
EP 1 - Resolution on the Convention
FC Budapest - March 2002
The Federal Committee of JEF Europe warmly welcomes the launch of the Convention on the Future of Europe of 28 February 2002 as a real opportunity for a more radical and long overdue reform of the European Union and a chance for the citizens to participate in the debate on their common European future.
Recalling the priorities adopted in EP8 at the Congress in Vienna in November 2001, which called for the establishment of a common federalist campaign strategy, JEF-Europe welcomes the establishment of Federalist Voice: Network for a European Constitution, a common platform regarding the Convention together with the Union of European Federalists, the International European Movement, and other like-minded organisations, to lobby the Convention and present federalist solutions in the reform process; and,
Also welcomes the establishment of a common plattform of Youth-Organisation, initiated by JEF, which will together formulate their demands towards the convention. JEF-Europe and its member-sections will have a strong impact on this forum by organising the convention-bulletin and the www.constitutional-convention.net homepage.
We reiterate the need to lobby the Convention to accept the federalist solution - a federal Constitution for the whole of Europe - to resolving the challenges facing the EU and believe that these common platforms represent a real chance for our voices to be heard.
Emphasising the need to increase public awareness and involvement in the reform process, as a means of strengthening the Union and increasing public support for the Convention, the FC therefore calls on the Executive Bureau of JEF Europe to establish a programme of activities designed to promote public awareness of the Convention process; and
Encourages all national, regional, and local sections of JEF to develop strategies for working together with the national, regional, and local sections of those organisations represented in the Federalist Voice platform, in order to raise public awareness of the Convention process in their communities; and to lobby national representatives in the Convention to support the federalist position, especially through supporting the Federalist Intergroup within the Convention.
A European Federal Constitution
JEF-Europe demands that the Convention establish a federal Constitution. This Constitution should lead to a truly federal structure. It should be made up out of three elements: the Charter of Fundamental Rights; a new division of competencies; and a clear and completely reformed political structure.
Charter of Fundamental Rights:
This Charter, as proclaimed in Nice in December 2000, lays down the rights and responsibilities of the citizens of the European Union, and must form a central part of a future European Constitution. It must be justiciable at the European Court of Justice.
New division of competencies:
A clear division of competences is essential for ensuring that the people of Europe are able to understand what level of government is responsible for decisions taken, and to enhance transparency and accountability in the European system. This division of competences must be based on the principles of subsidiarity, closeness to the citizens, and efficiency.
One has to acknowledge that on the one hand there is hardly any issue that does not affect the European level, whereas the tendency of a daily growing bureaucracy in Brussels contradicts the principle of subsidiarity.
Any division must clearly delineate those issues which will remain the exclusive competence of the European level, and those which must be mixed competencies, reflecting the complexity of policy-making in the European system. The Convention must propose a common European framework for the mixed competencies, within which there is scope for differentiated involvement by the various levels of government. This framework should also protect the freedom of member states to define their own policies and legislation where appropriate.
The EU needs to be able to speak with one voice in the world in order to protect its interests and to further its values of democracy and respect for the rule of law and human rights. Foreign and security policy should therefore be a common policy of the Union.
For transparent and accountable control over EU-expenditure the EU must be equipped with power over its own resources, and the European Parliament must have full budgetary power.
Today's 'triangle' is the wrong institutional solution for the European Union. In order to achieve a federal and democratic European Union there need to be a clear separation of powers.
a) legislative powers:
All legislation has to be done by a two-chamber parliament. In the hypothesis of the creation of a second chamber, the first chamber would be today's European Parliament. The second chamber would be the Council, which has to be reformed into a genuine chamber representing the member-states and where necessary the legislative regions. All political issues that are within the competencies of the EU have to be decided by both of the chambers in co-decision.
b) executive powers:
The only executive body of the European Union has to be a European government. The European Commission has to be reformed into such a government under one European president. This president will be elected by the European Parliament. Today's commissioners will be replaced with true ministers. These ministers will be appointed by the President under the criteria of qualification, not of national citizenship.
c) judicial powers:
All judicial powers have to lay in the hands of the European Court of Justice.
JEF Europe's priorities
In order to convince the Convention as well as the public of these goals there will be the following activity-priorities for JEF-Europe:
-stimulation of public debate at both the European and national levels, to build public support for the work of the Convention and to ensure that the results of the Convention cannot be put aside or ignored by the member states in a subsequent IGC.
-to build sufficient support to ensure that the work of the Convention is not held hostage to the special interest or the concerns of a minority of representatives
All the federalist organisations and their member-sections should support the establishment and work of a Federalist Intergroup within the Convention.
EP 2 - Resolution on the Enlargement process
FC Budapest - March 2002
The Federal Committee of JEF Europe:
Warmly welcomes the involvement of candidate countries in the Convention on the Future of Europe, established in the Laeken Declaration, as evidence of the EU's commitment to a successful Enlargement; as an opportunity for newcomers to find their place in the ever-larger Union through their own initiative; and as a recognition that the future of Europe belongs to all the peoples of Europe.
Observes that excluding candidates from the Presidium of the Convention is not in line with the idea of reducing the democratic deficit in Europe; and,
Insists on the equal participation of EU candidate countries in all stages of the Convention, and on equal opportunities for EU candidates to take part in debates, drafting documents, putting forward proposals, and decision-making.
JEF congratulates the candidate countries and the Union for the rapid progress made in negotiations and for the commitment to close all negotiating chapters by the end of the Danish Presidency in December 2002;
Regrets the delays in some candidate countries regarding the implementation of the acquis and other EU membership requirements, and stresses that membership of the European Union brings serious commitments to fulfil the highest standards of democratic accountability, rule of law, and respect for human rights;
Expresses disappointment at the continued lack of political will within the European Union seriously to tackle the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Structural and Cohesion Funds, to ensure equitable and just treatment of the candidate countries, and condemn the continued refusal of EU member states to move beyond the protection of narrow self interests;
Stresses that diplomatic horse-trading to protect special national interests cannot be allowed to continue to delay the reform process, as this seriously damages the legitimacy of the Union. Likewise, outstanding bilateral issues between a member state and a candidate state must not be used as an excuse to block the accession of new members; and,
Calls on EU member states and candidates to find the political will to overcome the last remaining obstacles, and to ensure that Enlargement is both swift and successful by recognising the opportunities of a wider and more united Europe.
Recalling EP 10, adopted by the JEF Congress in Vienna in November 2001, which calls for activities in both member states and candidate countries to raise public awareness of the challenges and opportunities of Enlargement, calls on JEF Europe to:
propose a programme of activities aimed at marking the conclusion of Enlargement negotiations at the European Council in Copenhagen in December 2002, and in the months to follow, particularly to mark the signing of Accession Treaties; and
Encourages national, regional, and local sections of JEF to organise activities to promote public awareness of the Enlargement process, and to lobby their governments and their representatives in the Convention on the Future of Europe to draft a genuine European Federal Constitution; and,
Reiterates that in order to gain legitimacy, the Convention will have to rely heavily on the views of civil society, following loud voices that the more the EU is becomes integrated, the more it appears to become alienated from the public. The enormous responsibility for the successful completion of a historic European project: the re-unification of Europe under a single Federal Constitution lies, therefore, not only in the hands of officials but the hands of civil society as well.
EP 3 - Resolution on European Party System
FC Budapest - March 2002
Aware of the historical chance of the Convention to draw a new, more democratic order of Europe
JEF - Europe:
Stresses its demand for a transparent and legitimate European Federation.
Points to one of the basic functions of any federation that is to integrate heterogeneous societies while preserving their cultural and/or political autonomy;
Recognises the great impact of the model of representative democracy on communication between societies and political elites;
is concerned by the extremely low level of turnout at European Parliament elections;
Regrets the slowness of the progress that has been made to date towards the development of a European Party system, with the current European 'Parties' being little more than an amalgamation of their national member parties with weak, lowest-common-denominator policy platforms to match;
Takes note of Article 191 of the EC Treaty, Resolution of the European Parliament on December, 10th 1996 and the Nice Treaty's call upon creation of Pan-European Political Parties and hence:
CALLS FOR THE CREATION OF A EUROPEAN PARTY SYSTEM AS AN ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A TRUE EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY
Furthermore JEF Europe:
Considers a European Party System as able to integrate diverse ideological, social and political interests along functional, rather than territorial lines and in this manner as crucial for polity-formation and the creation of European Awareness;
Takes into account that the introduction of real party-democracy in Europe will make the political life of EU more open and inclusive, as well as subject to greater transparency and public scrutiny;
Highlights the role of political parties in executing political responsibility;
Calls for a strong European Political Party Statute (???) that would be define a European Party as one represented as a Group in the EP (according to the EP rules of procedure) or in no less than 3 national Parliaments;
Proposes a combination of state AND private financing allocated in proportion to representation in the EP or the 3 national Parliaments, and stringent regulation of private finances to prevent problems of "soft money", and consequently
EMPHASISES THAT THE DEVELOPMENT OF A FULLY-FUNCTIONING PARTY SYSTEM (INCLUDING EUROPE-WIDE POLITICAL PROGRAMMES AND CANDIDATES STANDING FOR ELECTION AS REPRESENTATIVES OF EUROPEAN PARTIES) ARE CRUCIAL ELEMENTS OF THE TRUE EUROPEAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT JEF IS AIMING TO ACHIEVE.
EP 4 - Neither Hard Core Nor Standstill: A JEF Position on Differentiated Integration
FC Budapest - March 2002
The Federal Committee of the Young European Federalists (JEF),
Considering the need, while keeping our idealist credentials, to have a credible voice in the current debate on the future of Europe,
Convinced, in that respect, of the absolute necessity to have a clear stance on the possibility of federal integration of those countries willing to move forward and implement federalism between them,
states the following: Recalling its demands for an all-European federal constitution,
Stressing the need for such a constitution to be put in place urgently, in order to ensure smooth, efficient, transparent and democratic decision-making in the European Union to meet the challenge of enlargement,
Refusing to impose federalism on those European peoples who do not accept it,
Refusing at the same time to let to European convoy being stopped or slowed down by its most sceptical members,
Rejects the creation by a small number of countries of a federal core, which would divide Europe further, prevent new Member States to be part of it, call into question the acquis communautaire and create another level of government.
Is concerned about the danger to the unity of the EU posed by a minority number of mem-ber states taking initiatives in major policy areas.
Believes that the Convention set up in Laeken should clearly affirm its constitutional nature, and draft a Constitution for the whole of the enlarged Union, with an elected federal government accountable to the European Parliament, generalised co-decision and transparent decision-making. This project should be adopted by the Convention, even if it does not gather a consensus and is supported only by a majority of its members.
Believes that in the framework of this all-European Constitution, the Convention should keep open options for setting up a number of competences to be exercised by all those States willing to integrate further. On the one hand, institutional federalism would bring the benefits of democracy and transparency to all. On the other hand, the option of enhanced federalism in the exercise of competences would enable a deepening of the integration of the willing states. Such a constitutional scheme would be acceptable even for those States that fear to lose some of their core competences.
Would welcome the initiative of the countries which showed their commitment to a federal integration of the whole of Europe,
Would nonetheless profoundly regret if the most ambitious among the European gov-ernments, members of the European and national Parliaments and political leaders - in the European Union and in future Member States - felt they had to take as last resort the painful decision to move forward, without all States joining this initiative,
Would continue to campaign without respite for all European States to participate in federal integration.
EP 5 - The Growth and Stability Pact - A bad example for the credibility of European decision making
FC Budapest - March 2002
The European Council of Finance Ministers decided on February 13, 2002, to refuse a notion of the European Commission to announce a reprimand about Germany's and Portugal's unsustainable budget. The 12 finance ministers of the Euro zone closed ranks to signal they retain full control of national exchequers, whether inside or outside the Euro. A stability pact, which is handled the way it was done this February, is not worth the paper it is written on. JEF therefore asks for a clear and credible delineation of competencies, that does not allow big EU members to bend the rules to their advantage. In the case of the GSP, this would mean that the Council does not have a say in deciding whether a warning is issued or a fine is set. The Commission should indicate whether a warning is to be issued, and the European Parliament, in consultation with the Commission, should make the decision about whether a fine should be imposed.
EP 6 - Reforming South-Eastern Europe for future EU enlargement
FC Budapest - March 2002
The South-eastern part of Europe (SEE) has been neglected by the rest of the continent for too long. Many wars have ruined this part of our Europe, leaving nothing but unemployed, desperate and angry people. Even the latest processes are not the easy cure for the ongoing conflict in this region. Therefore, the FC of Young European Federalists (JEF):
Urges the politicians from the south-eastern region of Europe to understand the importance of democracy, freedom of speech, social justice, law reforms, but not only as declarative terms.
Calls for EU action with obvious need to coordinate and strengthen it's SAP & CARDS programs implementation in the region together with other international organizations present, such as NATO, OSCE, World Bank. This would lead to results that are significant and measurable both in short and long term period
Asks the EU Schengen countries not to restrict the freedom of movement of the people of South-Eastern Europe.
Supports the ideas of cross-border cooperation between the citizens, NGO's, political parties, local governments in the region as a positive process helping the conflict reconciliation
Believes that the people from SEE can achieve feasible, sustainable and self-managed society if they are provided with European know-how, quality investments and support of regional integration and cooperation.
Appeals for youth political parties, youth NGO's, institutions and citizens from SEE that share the same ideals of open society and united Europe to join the JEF sections in the region in it's efforts to prepare this region for full integration in the future European federation
Asks the organizers of the European Constitutional Convention to find ways and involve the citizens from SEE region in the open debate about the future of Europe since this region will be included in the enlargement process
Stresses that urgent action is needed now, first in promotion of real democratic values and principles of civil society in the SEE region, and afterwards in full implementation of European legislative - both in legal houses and in practice as the main pre-condition for future broader integration
Supports the principles of transparency and efficiency in the implementation of EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy in SEE region
EP 7 - Resolution on competencies
FC Budapest - March 2002
For a clear delineation of competencies - a demand to the Convention
Currently, the European integration process faces a growing scepticism by the citizens. Alarm signals like the failure of the Irish referendum on the ratification of the Nice treaty cannot be neglected. EU is accused to be less transparent. Many citizens cannot realise which tasks are matters of EU-policies and which tasks are under national legislation. Consequently there emerges growing fears of a super-state of Brussels, who claims all competencies. These fears have to be dealt with. It is only with the support of the citizens that the European project will be a success.
The current allocation of competencies is the product of various negotiations and compromises. One cannot identify a clear system. Today's system, that competencies are allocated in order to fulfil the aims and goals of the EU leads to conflicts on competence between the different levels and is not transparent to the public. Further it enables the EU to claim every competence on the European level. As a consequence a loss of competencies on the side of the member states and the regions arises, hand in hand with a loss of power and influence of the national and regional parliaments. This leads to an increase of the democratic deficit of the EU. The principle of subsidiary as it is laid down in the treaty failed in preventing this process.
It is obvious that a federal constitution must comprise a system which allocates clearly the different competencies of the different levels. Different existing federal constitutions hold examples, which can be helpful to achieve a real balance between the necessity of regulating matters on the European level and the maintenance of the diversity of Europe. The system of allocation of competencies has got an impact on the federal model.
According to their federalist identity, the Young European Federalists are convinced that policies should be ruled as close as possible to the citizens. Therefore we demand an allocation of competencies for the level that can exercise them efficient and close to the citizens. This would also improve the democratic principle of EU. Aiming a federal balance between the EU, its member states and the regions, a federal system has to be chosen that provides as much autonomy for the EU and the member states. Thus, a reduction of the governmental influence on the decisions of the federal level has to be achieved. Consequently a clearer delineation of competencies will lead to a stricter separation of powers between the different levels.
On the one hand this requires that in every field of politics the exercising level will be indicated. Nevertheless it is obvious that in the modern, highly interdependent world, a completely strict system of delineation of competencies is illusory. Therefore it is necessary that within the shared competencies, the EU is responsible for a certain framework regulation and the member states are in charge of formulating the detailed regulations.
Therefore JEF demands the Convention to introduce:
1. Changing the system of goal- and aim-orientated allocation of competencies towards an allocation which indicates for each policy the respective exercising level.
2. The introduction of a charter of competencies which comprises the exclusive and the shared competencies of the EU and the exclusive competencies of the member states. This charter should be based on the principle of proportionality and the principle of mutual obligation.
3. For each competency, decision-making, accountability and fund raising should take place at the same level.
4. Within the field of shared competencies the division of the legislation into framework-regulation on European level and the more detailed legislation for the lower levels. ("Principle of proportionality")
5. The introduction of a mutual obligation for both levels to act in respect of the other level as guideline for legislation ("Principle of mutual obligation").
6. The change of the current principle of subsidiarity. Additional criteria to evaluate the necessity of action by the European level are necessary, in order to ensure that competencies are expressed at the level as close to the citizens as possible. Moving the competencies for a certain field of politics to the higher level, has to have an impact on a certain number of member states, its decision has to affect other member states and its regulation on the European level has to produce a surplus. These criteria, which define subsidiarity have to be laid down in an easy understandable catalogue.
7. The creation of a chamber composed of national and European parliamentarians, which has to decide conflicts of competence, which are political questions and should not be decided by juridical instances. This chamber would allow additionally the integration of the national parliaments in the framework of the EU-institutions. The seats of the national parliamentarians could partly be distributed to regional parliamentarians, in case this is the wish of the member-states.
EP 8 - For independent European role in the world
FC Budapest - March 2002
JEF's Federal committee
Reaffirms JEF's horror and condemnation of the attacks in America on 11th September 2001.
Reaffirms JEF's commitment to the universal values of human rights
Believes that the people of Europe together share a belief in the importance of values of open, democratic government, inalienable human rights, lifting the majority of the world's population out of sickness, poverty and war, and preservation of the global environment for future generations.
Believes that the people and countries of Europe have a right and the duty to act together to promote these goals in the world.
Believes that almost any imaginable military action again a European country would be a threat to the security of all.
Believes that the United States of America also have a vital duty to promote international stability and development.
Believes that the USA conducting its foreign policy on a unilateral basis will lead rapidly to conflict, which among other consequences will directly harm the lives of American citizens.
Believes the US government's unilateral repudiation of treaties it has signed or ratified such as the Kyoto Agreement and the Geneva Convention means that it cannot reasonably expect other countries to sign treaties and abide by them, and that this threatens the stable international order based on international law. US government's continuing policy of implementing "business and national security friendly treaties" will damage the democratic process already developed on international level.
Believes that continuing implementation of biased dual standards in US's foreign and security policy can become one of the generators of instability in the world.
Believes that recent statements and actions by the government of the USA, including the "axis of evil" speech, and the trying through a normal court process of an American citizen detained in Afghanistan while citizens of all other nations are treated differently, and its acceptance of international criminal courts such as ICTY to try citizens of other countries but seeking special exemptions for US citizens, betrays a belief by the current United States government that America and Americans have a higher moral status that other citizens of the world.
Calls for the European constitutional Convention to propose constitutional reforms, which will encourage and allow more effective, united, and rapid action by Europe on the world stage.
Calls for stronger and firmer support for development and future deployment of a European army, which will have an important role in implementation of Europe common foreign and security policy but not under the umbrella of the NATO.
Calls for the existing European institutions to work more closely together on international action in the next few years before those constitutional reforms are implemented.
Calls for the governments of Europe to commit themselves to acting jointly in matters of security and defence.
Calls for European governments not to get involved or offer support to the USA by engaging in possible interventions in other parts of the world without a clear mandate of the UN Security Council pursuing a stated aim of the intervention, and only as a response to direct threats to international security.
Demands that all such interventions should observe all conventions of international law and all actors should respect these laws.
Strongly condemns the view that any country could be called and/or represent an "axis of evil" in the world.
Condemns the ignorant and undiplomatic approach of the current government of the USA to international affairs.
Calls on the European leaders to act together in the world in a strong and united way to promote international peace.