FC Slovenia March 2005
The Federal Committee of the Young European Federalists (JEF) met in Ljubljiana (Slovenia) on March 18-20, 2005 and adopted the following resolutions:
The Resolutions in Word document format can be downloaded below:
EP 01 - Resolution on Campaigning for the Constitution
Adopted by FC – Slovenia, 03/05-
Bearing in mind that the EU is at the start of the process of ratification of the Constitution by its Member States and that this period will require additional engagement of pro-Constitution forces of civil society and other actors:
- the successful Parliamentary Ratifications of Lithuania, Hungary and Slovenia by a clear majority, which in itself shows the political will of the national Higher Institutions to be engaged fully in the European project;
- the overwhelming majority of the YES vote in the Spanish referendum and the endeavors of the Spanish Government to promote the Constitution;
- the decision ot the European Parliament to engage actively in the pro Constitution campaign
- the lack of enthusiasm and will of the Yes side to mobilize itself to support the ratification of the Constitution;
- that the pro-Constitution campaigns have not proved to be sufficiently appealing to the citizens of Europe;
- that the public identifies the various pro-Constitution campaigns mostly with the public institutions or political establishment which causes a general feeling of apathy and decreases the will to engage actively in these campaigns;
- the existing capacity and willingness of the anti-Constitution campaigns to organise themselves successfully with easy-to-understand arguments and visible presence;
- the unclear positions on the side of the European Commission and several national governments. The Constitution is a result of the work of all these bodies and therefore they should mobilise all the possible means to communicate the Constitution for the citizens and also campaign efficiently for it.
- the European Commission to adopt a final position in favour of the ratification, since part of the Commission obligations is to inform the European citizens directly about the developments in and the decisions of the European Union;
- the European Parliament to base its campaign on the Corbett/Mendez de Vigo report adopted with a huge majority on the 12th of January;
- the national governments of those countries that intend to hold a referendum to finally disclose their actual dates and in addition run Constitution;
- the national governments of those countries that will have parliamentary ratifications to provide comprehensive information about the Constitution and its importance to the citizens;
- the MEPs, MPs, European and national political parties to clearly take a position on the Constitution and those in favour to run active pro Constitution campaigns in all member States and establish transnational networks to strengthen the European dimension of the campaign (unanimously carried by PC1).
- all the above mentioned bodies to support civil society organisations running pro-Constitution Campaigns ;
Furthermore JEF Europe stresses:
- that all efforts should be made to mobilise all the possible means to communicate the Constitution for the citizens in all the 25 member states in an understandable and clear way;
- that every European citizen should be able to obtain a free copy of the Constitution.
JEF-Europe also expresses its concern over the strong anti-Constitution campaigns organising visible actions around Europe that are attracting more and more young people.
Therefore JEF-Europe further urges:
- all its sections, especially in those EU member states holding referendums, to conduct pro-Constitution campaigns and activities in the framework of the YES campaign;
- all sections to look for possible coalitions of pro-Constitution civil society organisations and engage them in the campaigns;
- all sections to engage in the YES campaign activities in other countries in order to strengthen the transnational dimension of the campaign .
EP 02 - Position paper „European Youth Pact“
Approved by FC –Slovenia 03/05-
The Young European Federalists welcome the initiative to adopt a “European Youth Pact”. The pact aims to address youth issues in the framework of the Lisbon process and to integrate youth matters into all EU policy areas. The ties of the European youth with the integration project could be strengthened by help of this approach. The development of European civil society has to be advanced especially among the young generation. The establishment of stronger European awareness is the precondition for future progress in Europe.
A European civil society starts with the youth
The development of a European civil society has to be promoted by long term measures. Despite all progress, the European civil society has only started to exist. For its development the youth plays a key role. Young people are best placed able to judge problems in their personal sphere. Therefore they should be involved more closely in decision-making processes. Moreover, the exchange, the dialogue and the creation of networks in these fields should be extended.
The Young European Federalists demand to adopt concrete actions in order to supply the symbolic value of European Youth Pact with an active policy:
Strengthening the European dimension of voluntary activity.
In all member states of the European Union many youngsters participate in various projects. They are an important part of a European civil society. On European, national, regional and local level activities should be created in order to promote the idea of an international aspect on the local level as well.
A better use of cross-border co-operation
The cross-border co-operation has been developed to one of the most visible phenomena of the integration process. In the field of voluntary activities of young people there is a potential for further improvements. Still, many linguistic and administrative obstacles hamper cross-border co-operation. The actors on all levels should abolish these obstacles and promote the cross-border co-operation of youngsters.
Extension of the European Voluntary Service
The European Voluntary Service offers the possibility to link social activities with a valuable experience abroad. The existing number and scope of EVS opportunities is limited and should be increased.
Europe – a topic for education in schools
The decisions of European politics and problems of Europe-wide importance should be perceived more intensively by young people. Therefore, European topics should become part of the curricula of all branches of school education. Possible means are: increasing awareness of higher importance on language learning and more use of exchange programme for all. A mainstreaming approach would be advisable. The objective of multilingualism should be fulfilled. At school, a higher importance should be given on language learning. This should start a very early age. Exchange programmes should become a standard in all schools. Special scholarships should help to overcome financial obstacles. These programmes have to be especially targeted to socially disadvantaged youngsters
Promotion of mobility and exchange at university
Europe’s universities are a key element for the creation of European area of education and research. Still, there are obstacles for the mobility of students and academics and the linkage of research institutions is often burdened with problems. The strengths of the European university systems are also rooted in their variety. Emphasis should be placed on recognition of diplomas in all EU member states, and a decentralised approach to university education maintained.
A more European approach of vocational training
Especially, in the field of vocational training, the European dimension is underdeveloped. Besides better information about EU-programmes, more language courses and exchange programmes should be offered in companies. The possibilities of EUROPASS as passport for employees should be exploited in a consequent manner.
Work life balance
Focus should not be placed uniquely on the labour market in the Lisbon process and its impact on young people. In times of demographic change, issues of working hours, work- life balance and childcare should not be neglected
Fostering the access to employment for young people who are particularly hit by unemployment or by precarious situations in the employment market. Action should be taken to tackle this worrying situation which jeopardizes the ties between the young generation and the European society. A new approach focusing on young people should be enhanced in all EU initiatives dedicated to employment; among others, the EU- employment strategy should propose more guidelines specifically elaborated in favour of youth employment.
EP 03 - JEF Resolution on the European New Neighbourhood Policy in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus
Approved by FC –Slovenia 03/05-
Acknowledging that the new European Neighbourhood Policy, which aims at preventing the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours and to offer them the chance to participate in various EU activities, through greater political, security, economic and cultural cooperation, is a well-intended approach to construct a common European foreign and security policy towards some of its Eastern and Southern neighbours.
JEF-Europe firmly believes in the benefits of a stable and democratic neighbourhood for the European Union. The European Union’s relations to its three new eastern neighbours - Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova – are of utmost importance in determining the safety of its borders and its relations with Russia. Now more than ever, it is time for the European Union to make a strong commitment in the region and ensure the democratic development of these countries.
Believes a clear differentiation between the Union’s strategy developed towards Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova on the one hand and the southern dimension of the New Neighbourhood Policy on the other hand is essential
Welcomes the results of the last elections in the Ukraine as the first Step towards the democratization of the country, setting an example to other countries in the region. -
- calls for the EU to establish a clear and long term strategy towards Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus.
- welcomes the Commission action plans for Ukraine and Moldova
as a good starting point from which to develop the enlarged Union’s relations with its neighbours.
- urges the EU to come up with a strategy paper towards
Belarus as the isolationist approach has brought about little change.
- highlights the fact that it is essential to keep alive a possibility for Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus of one day becoming members for the EU.
- calls for the EU actively to uphold the principles of the EU’s Copenhagen
criteria in the region in regard to respect for human rights and freedom of expression.
, taking into consideration the particularities of the economic, political and social processes in the three countries and adapting its policies accordingly
- calls for the EU actively to uphold the principles of the EU’s Copenhagen
criteria in the region in regard to respect for human rights and freedom of expression, and play an active role in promoting these values through pressure on the governments and support local actors in the field.
- believes that the ongoing conflict in Transnistria and the poor democratic record and extensive human rights violations in Belarus demand special attention from the EU
- believes it is high time for the EU to open up official representation in both Minsk and Chisinau.
- calls for deeper economic integration to promote the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital.
- stresses the need for the EU to provide a viable alternative to Russia’s power politics in the region.
- calls for a stronger involvement of the civil society in ensuring the democratic development of the region.
- underlines the vital role that youth NGO´s play in the general development of the civil society and recognizes the importance of EU Youth initiatives in these countries.
- is actively going to contribute in the building of the youth civil society and commit itself to support existing JEF-sections and initiatives to establish new JEF-sections in these countries
IP01 Resolution: ”The citizens’ initiative: A milestone for JEF Europe”
Approved by FC –Slovenia 03/05
After the ratification of the European Constitution, its implementation will bring many democratic improvements to the emerging European civil society. One of these improvements is no doubt the European citizens’ initiative as stated in Article 47.4 of the Constitution.
This article states: “Not less than one million citizens who are nationals of a significant number of Member States may take the initiative of inviting the Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Constitution. European laws shall determine the provisions for the procedures and conditions required for such a citizens' initiative, including the minimum number of Member States from which such citizens must come”
JEF Europe hereby states its determination to make use of this article and to collect a million signatures. By doing so, JEF Europe can show its determination to keep the reform process going after the adoption of the European Constitution, to make the EU more democratic and to communicate the European values to the citizens.
JEF Europe is aware that such a project will bring the organisation to the limits of its capacity. In order to make gathering one million signatures all over the EU realistic, some conditions must apply:
JEF Europe will have to face this project being completely united and determined to succeed.
This project will have to be the first priority of JEF Europe and of all its national sections until its accomplishment.
All national sections of JEF Europe will have to support the project not only ideally, but also by contributing substantially to it.
Since funding of citizens initiatives by the European Commission is not very realistic, JEF will have to find access to new financial resources.
The choice of the topic for a citizens’ initiative will be just as crucial as the organisational structures. In order to collect signatures during a period of many months, the JEF volunteers will need a strong incentive. The topic can bring additional chances of success if the following conditions apply:
The topic needs to reflect JEF Europe’s top priorities.
The topic needs to be clearly defined and easy to understand for citizens who are not politically interested. It must seem like the most obvious thing to ask for.
The topic must not be narrowed down just to one specific, technical issue.
The initiative needs a catchy headline, which describes the whole quest and positively prejudices the opinion of the reader.
The quest needs to be politically realistic.
The quest should be supported by other organisations to enhance its chances of success.
The exact project framework furthermore depends a lot from the European laws that will be passed in order to define the implementation of this article. The most important issues in this context will be:
Signature control: a lot depends from the instance that will control the validity of the signatures. With very strict standard, it is possible that up to 20% of the collected signatures are not taken into account.
Time limitation for collecting: with a strict time limitation, the planning of resources has to be extremely efficient.
Availability of public funds: if public funds were not to be available, substitute resources would have to be found.
From the passing of this resolution, following the further discussions taken forward by the Congress, JEF Europe will have to start adapting and preparing for the citizens’ initiative. The next steps on this road will be:
From the number of topics in JEF Europe’s policies, the most important and relevant one will have to be chosen to put forward in the citizens’ initiative.
Building the internal know-how about gathering signatures in a big scale will have to be given the necessary priority in the choices of topic for future seminars.
All JEF national sections will need to adapt their agendas to the common project and give it the first priority during the project duration.
JEF Europe will have to adapt its structures in order to better be able to coordinate national and international projects. The communication between national and European level will have to be massively enhanced.
Financial resources will have to be collected early enough.
JEF Europe will have to monitor the development of European legislation on this issue and continually adapt the project to the legal framework.
IP 02 - Resolution on a Europe-wide action for the ratification of the Constitution
Approved by FC –Slovenia 03/05-
JEF Europe :
stresses the importance of popular support to the European Constitution to reinforce its legitimacy,
states that, in the States holding a referendum on the European Constitution, the participation in the referendum must be the highest possible in order to increase its legitimacy and to reinforce its constitutional nature,
Expresses great disapproval on how the campaigns are actually fought in the different States, focusing on domestic affairs and giving little information to the citizens who do not have a clear idea of the text they should eventually approve,
Believes that the referendum campaigns must have a European dimension so that the citizens effectively vote on the Constitution and not on domestic affairs,
Stresses the fact that one of the possible remedies to the nationalisation of the campaigns would be a Europe wide referendum, which has been rejected so far by the national governments,
Reminds that the Committee on Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament proposed to ratify the Constitution on the same day in all the different States of the Union, and that this claim was also rejected,
Believes that popular actions and street actions by JEF’s activists are a remedy to the actual situation by bringing information to the people and listening to their views directly without waiting for governmental or parties intervention.
JEF Europe therefore resolves to:
Call all its national sections and in particular the sections of the States holding a referendum, to organise a collective action using the YES appeal, or eventually a national appeal for the YES, to be signed by citizens all over Europe. The national sections are encouraged to use the “model referendum” form of action to develop their popular initiatives.
This collective action should be organised within the wider context of Europe Day 2005 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. On this occasion, activist should inform the public and stress the European dimension of the campaign.