It’s the phase of reflection, no Mozart requiem!
18.January 2006, for immediate distribution
Without a proper structure and mandate, European dialogue will remain nothing more than a façade for democracy and will not lead to any actual outcome. In a public action in front of the European parliament, MEPs and youngsters from all over Europe have pointed out the importance of the Duff-Voggenhuber report debated in the plenary session today.
The Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) have for a long time been calling for a serious plan to engage citizens into the debate on Europe’s future. “The period of reflection threatens to turn into a period of inaction if governments and the Commission do not understand the need to take the debate back to the citizens and to give it a structure”, stated Jan Seifert, president of the Young European Federalists.
JEF-Europe supports and has been promoting the ideas presented by MEPs Duff and Voggenhuber in a report that is debated in the European Parliament today as a way forward to launch the constitutional debate again. Several MEPs came to join JEF to raise awareness about the particular importance of the document. (See the picture gallery)
"The phase of reflection finally needs to get going. Therefore, MEPs Duff and Voggenhuber are right to propose a structured debate, an elected convention and submitting the result to a consultative ballot in connection with the European elections in 2009. Without serious additional action by the Parliament, the Commission’s «Plan D» and the Austrian presidency’s promise to engage themselves into a dialogue with the citizens risk to be nothing more than a cover-song of Mozart’s requiem.”
"Government leaders’ attitudes are arrogant and dangerous as they underestimate the citizens’ abilities and interest towards European issues. It is an insult to ask the public to ‘discuss’ without actually trying to translate the public interest into concrete policy outcomes”, remarked Jan Seifert about the current situation.
Key issues like the EU’s funding, enlargement, the global role of the European Union as well as its social and economic model must also be seriously discussed within the national context but with a European dimension. JEF welcomes the active role of the European Parliament in calling national parliaments and other EU institutions to take part in a series of «Parliamentary Forums» to be launched this spring as envisaged by the Duff-Voggenhuber report.
JEF deeply regrets the attitude shown by Speakers of the Finnish, Austrian and German parliaments in rejecting the «call into dialogue» by EP. "I doubt whether this stance represents the majority of the parliamentarians" commented Jan Seifert. "This is a disappointingly unconstructive position from important member states. They flag for power struggle and national pride, overlooking the citizens who the EP aims to serve in the end.“
“The «Parliamentary Forums» are the place where political conclusions should be formed and then submitted to the European Council scheduled for June. This way, the Heads of States won’t have an excuse to stay deaf any longer.”
Please, visit the picture gallery on the JEF-Europe website to see pictures from the action.