JEF-Europe
Page Border Section
User Login

Password
Page Border Section
Transparent
Institute for Microfinance Research International Microfinance Mission Global Microlending Initiative
Transparent
Transparent
JEF-Europe >About JEF >JEF Policies >
Transparent

FC Helsinki, 24-26 March 2006


The Federal Committee of the Young European Federalists (JEF) met in Helsinki, in Finland on March 24-26, 2006 and adopted the following resolutions:

 

The Resolutions in Word document format can be downloaded below:

 


- EP01_On European Comunication policy and Plan D [PDF]

- EP02_True freedom of movement for all EU citizens [PDF]

- EP04_Transparency in the Council of Ministers [PDF]

- EP05_Petition for a European Civilian Service [PDF]

- EP06_Period of Reflection and Citizens Conventions [PDF]

- EP07_EU BUDGET [PDF]

- EP08_Situation in Belarus [PDF]

- EP 09  Financing the European added value [PDF]


Resolutions re-adopted from Stockholm Congress 10/2003:


EP_01_Working_towards_federal_Europe_final.doc
EP_02_Political_Platform_final.doc
EP03_EPelections_final.doc

EP01 On the European Communication Policy and Plan D


JEF Europe is:

- Welcoming the kick-off of Plan D campaign,

- Aware of the White Paper on a European Communication Policy, issued by the European Commission on the 1 February 2006.

 

JEF Europe is however concerned about:

- The over-estimated feeling of success, which will not be fulfilled without a serious dedication of the governments to improve their communication with the citizens;

- The overall possibility of achieving the aims of the new communication policy without serious distribution of means for these purposes;

- The fact that all these efforts might have little effect if there is no serious reform of the institutional framework of the Union, which would allow more transparency and democracy in decision-making processes.

 

JEF Europe therefore:

- Calls upon the Council, the Commission and the Parliament to dedicate more means to establish a qualitative dialogue with the citizens, including youth, education and participation, ensuring that civil society is given the tools to make it a bottom-up rather than a top-down dialogue;

- Calls upon the Commission to promote proper, visible and more direct input channels in order to prevent the process from being a one-way communication;

- Reiterates that the main the responsibility for impulsing the plan D lies with the member states as much as with the EU institutions, and therefore they should support it in a common effort;

- Calls upon the Commission to allocate means to all member states rather than just a selection of them in order to involve all countries in the debate (added) passed

- Calls upon the Executive Bureau and the Federal Committee to seize this chance and present a JEF Europe stance to the Commission by the end of June 2006 in accordance to the open period of feedback and contributions to the White Paper.


EP02: True freedom of movement for all EU citizens


JEF-Europe sees free movement of people, including workers, as one of the fundaments of the European Union and an important part of the concept of European citizenship.

 

Recalling its resolution "On the restrictions on the free movement of people after the 1st of May 2004", adopted at the Federal Committee Meeting in Barcelona, March 2004, JEF-Europe: 

· Is deeply disturbed by the recent announcements on behalf of several Member States to extend the labour mobility restrictions in place for the 8 member states of Central and Eastern Europe,

· Regrets that such decisions have been taken at the dawn of the European Year of Workers’ Mobility,

· Reiterates that such decisions go against the basic principles of the European Union and should therefore be immediately abandoned,

· Strongly condemns such acts that implicitly divide EU citizens into first and second class, and are therefore working against equality of all as well as sending a wrong message to the citizens of the latest enlargement countries.

 

JEF-Europe highlights that the free movement, as one of the fundamental principles of the European Union, is primarily a question of human rights and personal freedom rather than of economics. At the same time, the economical effects do not offer any argument in favour of the transition arrangements, as documented in the Commission’s Report on the Functioning of the Transitional Arrangements, which according to the Accession Treaty should be used as a basis for the Council’s review of the functioning of the transition arrangements. The report clearly shows that:

· The migration from the new to the old Member States has remained at large unchanged after the enlargement, including in those countries not using transition arrangements.

· The labour flows have shown positive economic effects with no evidence of crowding out national labour markets.

· The transition arrangements have had no evident effect on labour inflows from the new member states.

 

JEF-Europe therefore:

· Calls upon Member States to immediately abolish any restrictions of labour mobility within the EU.


EP04 Transparency in the Council of Ministers: Enough with the sham!


1. Article 8 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure (OJUE L 106 of 15.4.2004, p.22) provides for the publicity of its deliberations on acts it adopts in accordance with the codecision procedure.

 

2. Namely, "the presentation by the Commission of its most important legislative proposals and the ensuing debate in the Council shall be open to the public". Then, "the vote on legislative acts shall be open to the public, as well as the final Council deliberations leading to that vote and the explanations of voting accompanying it.

In such cases, Council deliberations shall be open to the public through transmission of the Council meeting by audiovisual means, notably in an overflow room. The outcome of voting shall be indicated by visual means."

 

3. According to the current rules, the General Affairs Council (which gathers national Foreign Affairs Ministers) "shall hold a public policy debate every year on the Council's annual operational programme and, if appropriate, on the Commission's annual work programme."and, as far as non-"legislative" decisions are concerned, it is up to the Council to decide whether debates shall be public or not.

 

4. On 21st December 2005, the Council adopted some Conclusions entitled "Improving Openness and Transparency in the Council". It commits to hold more public debates, including for acts excluded from the codecision procedure. It intends to group public debates and deliberations on the agenda: until now, "public" points were scattered around in the agenda, which made any prospect of real publicity an illusion, and merely meant that the session’s chairman noted that the debate was public just before voting and moving on to the next issue. The Council also commits itself to communicate better on the publicity of its debates and to make them available online on the Internet.

 

5. However, this improvement is but halfway up the hill, and cannot hide the permanence of the system’s inner vices:

 

a. The Council of Ministers may well sit in public but, at the end of the day, this is a travesty of transparency, since most of the work takes place well before, at the meetings of Council working parties and of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper). Most of the time, the Council votes without debate, the agreement having been reached beforehand behind closed doors. It is therefore the Council’s very structure which has to be overhauled, by merging the Coreper and the Council’s various subject-matter configurations into a single Assembly: sectoral configurations (where Member States or legislative Regions would be represented) would be permanent and would always be working in public.

 

b. The Council’s operation still bears more the hallmark of diplomatic conferences than that of parliamentary procedures. The snag is that the "tour de table" which were still manageable at 6, 9, 12 or 15 and allowed for discussion, are now, with 25 members, a plain series of monologues without real discussion, where each State wants to air its position. But without any real debate, is transparency worth anything?

 

c. The Council intends to broadcast more widely its debates by using audiovisual channels. But in a genuine democracy, the public should be allowed to attend physically plenary meetings, like he does at the European Parliament.

 

THEREFORE:

 

1. JEF welcomes the Council’s commitment to openness and the decision to broadcast live some of its debates. This will certainly bring more accountability of national politicians towards the general public and the national parliaments, when making decisions in the Council.

 

2. JEF demands that these broadcast are made available to the largest public, for example over Internet and/or public service convention with Euronews. Furthermore, special solutions must be developed to enhance the media’s access to the Council’s debates (as for example the use of the ebs service...).

 

3. JEF however urges the Council not to stop these improvements and urges the Finnish presidency to take further measures of improving transparency, along the lines of this resolution.

 

6. Among others, JEF demands that the Council amend its Rules of Procedure so as to

 

a. extend the principle of publicity to all its legislative debates, including preparatory meetings in Coreper and working parties.

 

b. give up its intergovernmental mode of operating and adopts the methods and habits of modern Houses of Parliament.

 

7. JEF states anew its commitment for a federal European Constitution where the Council would be the single Upper House of the legislative power, sitting permanently and in public.

 

8. The EB shall submit to the Council JEF’s contribution to the evaluation of the current system, which is to be conducted in 2006.


EP 05 – Petition for a European Civilian Service


Considering that

- the European Union suffers from a democratic deficit

- the constitutional process is not sufficient to create a democracy, which does not amount to mere institutional and elective procedures

- it is necessary that the national and European authorities work out policies, which are directed towards a reinforcement of the formation and expression of a European civilian society

- the FC of JEF Europe adopted in March 2005 a resolution supporting the right to a popular initiative, as it was provided for in article 47.4 of the European Constitution, where it proclaimed its determination to use this procedure and to collect one million signatures about a subject, which impacts the European citizens

 

JEF Europe condemns the short sighted decision taken by national governments to cut sharply the funds, which are destinated to Erasmus and other youth programmes.

 

JEF Europe calls for

- the creation of a European Civilian Service so as to make tangible the European Citizenship, by complementing existing university and professional exchanges.

 

JEF Europe wishes that

- this European civilian service allow every young European – on a voluntary basis - to be engaged in a project of solidarity (cultural actions and protection of cultural heritage, actions to protect the environment, humanitarian actions in regions of crisis in case of natural or industrial catastrophes, actions of civil protection, actions with social character…) in other countries than his/her own.

- this service offer to every young person, student or job-seeker, the opportunity to live a genuine European experience, from six to twelve months, engaged in a collective action inside the European Union amongst teams of young volunteers of different origins and skills.

 

JEF Europe demands that

- this "Erasmus of Solidarity" be supported and recognized by the national public authorities as a qualifying professional experience, co-financed by the European Union and the member states and officially provided with a certificate recognized throughout the European Union.

 

JEF Europe reaffirms

- its wish that every young European should have the concrete and real opportunity to engage in an experience in another European country.

 

JEF Europe calls upon all sections to discuss the idea and the content of a petition for the instauration of this European Civilian Service to see if there is a general consensus on launching it. Sections willing to start building up coalitions to support this initiative are welcome to do so. The next FC, to be held in October 2006 in Athens, will then evaluate the opportunity to collect one million signatures and start a European wide citizens’ initiative as provided for by the European Constitution.


EP06 The Period of Reflection and Citizens Conventions


Considering that:

- The Period of Reflection has turned out to be a period of non action with little debate being created on the Future of the European Constitution and on the Future of Europe;

- The requests made by the Duff – Voggenhuber report to encourage and create dialogue between the European Institutions and Civil Society have not effectively materialised;

- The Reflection Period is the opportunity to bring together Civil Society, NGOs, Representatives of National and European Institutions and organisations to create a European wide debate on the Future of Europe;

- National Governments are continuing to ignore the Constitutional issue, and doing very little to create national debate;

- Many European citizens are becoming further disillusioned with National and European politics, due to the inability of National and European Representatives and elites to engage with Civil Society;

 

JEF Europe therefore:

Believes that it should be a priority issue for all JEF sections to create debate on the above issues, through the organisation of various events and by supporting and attending Citizens Conventions;

 

The Conventions should:

· Create wide political debate and be representative: In order to create an extensive debate on the Future of Europe, the Conventions should be open to all political views with representatives from all European political party groups. A Convention with purely pro European or Federalist views is not representative of Civil Society and does not create an effective discussion about the direction of the EU.

· Be influenced by JEF: JEF should be one of the many NGOs or organisations taking part in the event and should aim to influence the Convention by attending, speaking, demonstrating and expressing the views of the organisation

· Ensure that the Citizens are at the centre of discussions: Civil Society should be encouraged to participate in discussions and working groups. They should draft a document based on the discussions and conclusions drawn, and should circulate the document to European and National Institutions.

 

Asks that the next Citizens Convention in Vienna takes on board the above requirements;

 

Asks the JEF Executive Bureau and the Federal Committee to lobby National and European Representatives and Institutions and to organise European wide events to raise awareness and to create debate;

 

Asks National sections of JEF to lobby their national governments asking them to engage with citizens on European issues and to work to introduce an element of trust between civil society and political Representatives which is urgently needed.

 

JEF sections should also get actively involved in debating with other civil society actors in their respective countries and regions


EP07 EU BUDGET


Over the recent months we could witness how the outdated way of financing was leading the Union into serious crisis. National egoism and narrow mindedness prevented the creation of a European budget focusing on added value. Instead December’s Council compromise has reduced the EU budget to 25 national spending programmes. Moreover, these are structurally conservative by maintaining the subsidies of the past. Rather, the EU needs to concentrate its efforts in reviving the continent for the global future. This cannot be done over night, but there is no time to lose. The globalisation will not wait for us.

 

With regards to the currently ongoing inter-institutional negotiations for a financial perspective 2007-2013 JEF

-          reminds the governments and the Commission to live up to their own policies lined out in the Lisbon and Gothenburg agenda

-          recalls the inability of the European Council to come up with a budget in time, i.e. until summer 2005

-          supports the budgetary proposal by the European Parliament as adopted in June 2005. This provides enhanced funding for the ever more necessary programmes in education, youth, and culture as well as foreign and neighbourhood policy

-          refutes the Council proposal with spending in youth and culture at unacceptable levels

-          therefore welcomes the EP’s refusal of the Council compromise. Now it is time for constructive negotiations between the institutions

-          demands a serious investment in the future, i.e. in education and youth

-          points at the need to further support the development of the European demos through culture and European citizenship

-          emphasises the increasing necessity to back-up Europe’s global responsibilities and ambitions with financial commitments and the necessary flexibility instruments to be able to react in a moment of crisis

-          points out to the option of returning to an annual budgetary procedure according to article 272 if the outcome of the negotiations does not live up to the Union’s own priorities and providing for a sufficient funding of future-oriented programmes instead of subsidising the past

-          demands the inclusion of a review-clause into the inter-institutional agreement (IIA) enabling the newly-elected EP to deliberate over and pass a reformed budget in 2009

-          recalls the conclusions of the European Council in December 2005 and asks the Commission to prepare for the suggested mid-term review of 2009 with the publication of a whitebook in 2008 lining out reform proposals for the expenditure side as well as proposing new ways of a sustainable and transparent financing of the Union

-          demands a serious reform of the revenue structures so as to prevent the current shortcomings by giving the EU a serious access to own resources.


EP08: Resolution on the situation in Belarus


Since Alexander Lukashenko took power in 1994, Belarus has turned away from the road to democracy and freedom. Instead Belarus today is Europe’s last dictatorship. Even though in geographical terms situated in the middle of Europe, the country is internationally isolated with an increasingly authoritarian Russia among the only alias of the regime in Minsk.

 

The EU has ignored the situation in Belarus for years, however the presidential elections on March the 19th 2006 must be a major turning point in the current EU policy towards Belarus. Lukashenko demonstrated that he is not interested in the democratisation of Belarus, by not having free and fair elections. The opposition has been systematically harassed, threatened and denied access to the state controlled media. Several opposition activists have been arrested; among them even a presidential candidate. Furthermore, students have been expelled from the universities for participating in meetings organised by the opposition.

 

Therefore JEF-Europe demands from Lukashenko to loosen his hold of the country, enable free and fair elections, put an end to harassment, to release political prisoners and stop the repression of NGOs and civil society in Belarus.

 

At the same time, JEF-Europe urges the European Union and its Member States to revise their policy towards Belarus. Instead of the passiveness we have witnessed so far, the EU should put pressure on the current Belarusian government to respect human rights and basic freedoms of its people. Simultaneously, the EU should support all democratic forces in Belarus which represent a clear political alternative to dictatorship.

 

JEF-Europe urges the EU to send a clear message to Russia and pressure the President of Russia to put an end to any support of the non-democratic Belarusian regime.

 

 

Additionally, JEF-Europe recognises that the people of Europe must play an active role in supporting the Belarusian people in the fight towards democracy and freedom through actions and projects promoting and ensuring democracy in Belarus.

 

Moreover, the EU should advise its energy companies to reconsider their involvement in Russian energy suppliers which provide the central source of revenue for Lukashenko by selling him oil and gas below market prices.

 

Meanwhile, the EU must offer support for the remaining part of the Belarusian civil society and provide the inhabitants of Belarus with free and independent media broadcasted from abroad.

 

Furthermore, the EU should introduce a more liberal visa regulation towards Belarus, for instance by providing young people participating in youth exchanges etc. with free and easy obtainable visas. In this respect, it is essential that the various EU funds and programmes, such as the Youth programme, put Belarus among their priorities, so they can stimulate cooperation between the NGO sector in Europe and Belarus.

 

Belarus belongs to the European family of states and the responsibility for the development in Belarus now lays in the hands of the EU, therefore its time to start acting now.

 

JEF-Europe cannot and will not tolerate a dictatorship at EU’s doorstep. We on our part have actively taken part in supporting our young friends in Belarus with a pan-European action with the message "Give the people of Belarus a voice" with which we hoped to have motivated the democratic forces in Belarus to continue their struggle for a European, open and free Belarus.

 

 

JEF-Europe will continue to take an active part in the democratisation process of Belarus.


EP 09 : Financing the European added value


One of the European Union’s success stories is its ability to create added value for its member states and citizens. This added value goes far beyond the initial goal – the maintenance of peace. With the highest density of states over the world’s smallest continent no single European state is able to meet the challenges of globalisation as efficiently as can be done by applying economies of scale for the provision of public goods. Such public goods can be efficiently created by the EU through political co-operation, standardisation, regulation or indeed through joint financial undertakings. Only the use of its whole range of instruments can ensure the best possible results for its members and actions should therefore always be measured against the principle of subsidiarity, i.e. who is suited best to create added value for the citizens. There is no doubt that there are indeed such measures for which direct European funding is necessary. For these the EU needs to be sufficiently financed.

 

The financing of the EU budget should be therefore based on the following principles:

Subsidiarity, the EU should only finance what it can finance more effectively;

Democracy, the European Parliament as the citizens’ representation should have a responsibility for managing tax payers’ money;

Solidarity, every citizen and every member state shall provide resources according to their abilities whereas sources should be spent in a way, so as to ensure that all citizens get their fair share of opportunities in Europe;

Sustainability, the EU should aim at maintaining a balanced budget in order not to create burdensome debts for future generations;

Accountability, the EP needs to be the primary responsible actor for the budgetary decision-making, so that the members are held to account at EP elections;

Transparency, to retain the confidence of the citizens and the tax payers, every citizen should have the right to know who received how much money out of the EU’s pockets. In addition, the structure of the budget should be as simple as possible.

 

The current budgetary system of the EU is marked by several shortcomings and serious democratic deficits:

1. the division between compulsory and non-compulsory expenditure

2. the dependency on national contributions on the revenue side

3. the budgetary system is not comprehensible and fair

4. the outdated distribution of spending

5. European funds shall be available and transparent to all

 

1. Overcoming the division of compulsory and non-compulsory expenditure

The budget consists of around half and half compulsory (derived from treaty obligations, such as the CAP) and non-compulsory expenditure (e.g. youth, education, foreign policy). The EP does not have any scrutiny over the compulsory expenditure.

Several expenditure items such as the European development fund, future administration pension claims or the flexibility instruments are taken out of the normal budgetary procedure, so that democratic scrutiny and transparency are not ensured.

 

2. A new system of own resources

On the revenue side the Union is becoming ever more dependent on contributions from the member states’ budgets. This creates the false impression of the EU as a cost for the member states. Moreover, it is part of the explanation why the budgetary discussion in Europe is being reduced to nationalist wrangling over member states’ contributions

Currently the EU is gaining about 75% of its revenue directly out of the member states’ budgets (as part of the GNI-factor). About 14% originate as part of the VAT contributions and around 13% stem from traditional own resources, i.e. customs and levies. Again of their customs revenue member states keep 25% for "administrative purposes". This unequally affects richer member states with ports. Over the past years the revenue structure has changed dramatically. While in 1992 still around 62% of revenue came from VAT, now by far the biggest part comes anonymously out of the national budgets. At the same time the volume of the annual EU budget has risen from around 60 billion Euros (then around 1,09% of GNI) to 104 billion Euro (around 1,02% in 2004). In comparison to its member states, the EU budget is still relatively small. Germany alone has a budget of around 254 billion Euros in 2005. However, it has to be accomplished that the size of a budget depends primarily on the tasks the respective level of government has been assigned to.

The transfer of competences in certain areas of taxation and budget to the higher level is a characteristic of a federal fiscal order. The reasoning behind this goes beyond the fact that some forms of taxes, i.e. tax on aircraft fuel, are most effectively carried out at EU level. A system where a direct percentage of national taxes, possibly VAT, goes to the EU would also contribute to discussions about the effect of EU-policies and general European interests, rather than the current horse trading about net contributions.

It is, however, important that the introduction of a EU tax-percentage is not seen as an additional source of income for the public budgets. A direct EU-tax should be dedicated only to the objective to replace the national contributions and to establish a direct link between the citizens and the EU.

 

Therefore, JEF demands

- an EU competence in some taxation matters, to be decided by qualified majority

- the replacement of the current system of national contributions by a direct tax-percentage for the EU

 

3. Moving towards a fair and comprehensible budget

The current budgetary system is neither fair, nor comprehensible. The British - and now other - rebates are only examples of exceptions that make the budget incomprehensible for the citizens. The unacceptable fact that the new member states contribute to the financing of the British rebate just adds to the inexplicable system.

Funds like the European Globalisation adjustment Fund and the European Development Fund are being kept outside the normal budget, consequently making the budgetary system even more complex and taking it beyond parliamentary scrutiny.

In particular within the structural funds but also in the Trans-European Networks, a number of projects have already been ear-marked by governments. This procedure violates the principle of parliamentary influence.

 

Therefore, JEF demands

- that the EU budget illustrates the real revenues and expenditures of the Union as a whole

- the abolishment of all rebates and exceptions

- that all extra funds are included in the normal budget

- no ear-markings

- in case there are Financial Perspectives they should be set for 5 years in order to ensure that each EP has a possibility to vote on the Financial Perspectives in its mandate.

 

4. Overcoming structural conservatism

The 2006 EU budget has the following spending structure:

Heading

expenditure

in billion Euros

expenditure

as % of whole budget

CAP

51,0

45,6

Structural and Cohesion

35,6

31,8

Internal Policies

8,9

7,9

External Policies

5,4

4,8

Administration

6,7

5,9

Reserves

0,4

0,4

Pre-Accession Strategy

2,9

2,6

Compensations

1,1

1,0

 

112,0

100

The Common Agricultural Policy, which is in exclusive EU competence remains as the single biggest item of the expenditure side accounting for almost half of the budget. CAP is also the only "spending programme" with a 100% financement. In all other subsidies including the structural policy a maximum of 75% financial support is offered. Co-funding has to be provided by lower levels of government or partly through private means.

The European Parliament is possibly the only legislature which is not allowed to decide on its very own seat due to Treaty obligations. The monthly moves between Brussels and Strasbourg cost more than 200 million Euros of tax-payers money - not accounting for productivity losses and environmental damages. Moreover, a significant number of staff is allocated to the EP' seat in Luxemburg, so that it is possibly the only parliament in the world with three seats.

At present the Union operates with 21 languages before further enlargement. This is reflecting Europe's diversity of languages and cultures. A Europe that is close to its citizens needs to provide necessary information to all its citizens. The current language regime has however grown out of proportion, one of the examples for this being that every institution maintains its own translation services. Moreover, today's civil servants in the Council and Commission should be expected to be equipped with the necessary language skills.

 

Therefore, JEF demands

- a spending structure that reflects the self-proclaimed goals of the Union, in particular with regards to the Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies

- national or regional co-funding of at least 25% of any EU-spending in CAP, structural and cohesion funds, so as to raise the ownership

- a single seat of the European Parliament to be based in Brussels

- a common translation service for all institutions

- national contributions for financing translation services of the institutions

 

5. European funds shall be available and transparent to all

The hand-out of European funds is regulated by the so-called Financial Regulations. These are currently under review and supposed to be revised for the coming three years or more. The financial regulations shall on the one hand ensure fair treatment of applicants and on the other hand provide for a transparent use of the resources. Currently, both goals are only partly achieved. There are still major obstacles towards a transparent and accountable system, which are mainly due to money spent and controlled on national level. Consequently, the Court of Auditors has suggested against discharge for several years now. At the same time the financial regulations have in many cases become administrative monsters. Applications have become so complicated to that small applicants, who might sometimes be the most needy or indeed the most effective, find it extremely hard to apply for funds.

At times of pressured budgets the administrators of EU funds should also strive for improving the trust in tax-payers money spent. Major parts of the budget and the subsidies paid out are not transparent enough because national administrations refuse to provide information about recipients.

 

Therefore, JEF demands

- a serious streamlining of the financial regulations, so that they are simple enough to offer even smaller applicants a fair access

- making all recipients of EU subsidies public with how much funds they have received under which programme or project

- removing all obstacles towards a transparent and accountable budget as suggested by the Court of Auditors


Resolutions re-adopted from Stockholm Congress 10/2003



EP01 Working towards a federal Europe


The Congress of JEF, meeting in Stockholm (Sweden) on 31 October - 2 November 2003,

 

Welcomes the work of the Convention,

 

which can be seen as an important step forward towards a European Federal Constitution. Comprising members from the European Parliament, the European Commission, national Parliaments, national governments and a broad involvement of civil society, the Constitutional Convention managed to contribute to a more democratic, efficient and transparent Europe. The draft Constitution as proposed by the Convention offers:

 

- an easier, shorter and more understandable legal framework for the Union;

- introduction of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, legally binding;

- a simplified policy framework with the formal abandonment of the three pillars;

- a clear legal status for the EU by introducing the single legal personality for the Union;

- more understandable procedures, by simplifying legislation and renaming legislative and executive instruments, e.g. introducing the terms law and framework law;

- - a clearer division of competences which allows Union citizens to understand which political level in the Union is responsible for the different fields of politics;

- welcomes the proposal to link the election of the Commission President to the outcome of the European Parliament elections as a way to enhance the accountability of the Commision

- the introduction of structured cooperation in the field of defence, which will allow the willing States to create the bulk of an effective European defence, without which Europe will never be able to develop an autonomous foreign and defence policy;

- the integration of a popular initiative procedure, as laid out in art. 46;

 

 

appreciates

 

the Convention’s contribution to more democracy in Europe which is advocated by extending the European Parliament’s powers, the only Union organ which directly represents the interests of the Union’s citizens. Thanks to the draft Constitution, the number of fields of politics in which the European Parliament will have the power to codecide will double. Extending the budgetary powers of the European Parliament will strengthen its role in the institutional balance of the Union.

 

Acknowledges

 

the Convention’s contribution to the emergence of European political parties by strengthening their constitutional role in the future Union. During the Convention process, European political parties were already forced to come to common positions. This development will continue since the new right of the European Parliament to elect the President of the European Commission (albeit after the Council’s initial choice) will encourage European parties to propose a common candidate and a common political programme.

 

Highlights

 

the abandonment of the veto in many fields of politics which will lead to a more efficient Council of Ministers. Introducing a simplified qualified majority in a wide range of fields will stop single governments blocking crucial decisions for the development of the Union.

 

 

Sees

 

the introduction of transparency in the legislative process as an important step towards bringing the Union closer to its citizens. Opening debates and decisions on legislative acts in the Council to the public will make this organ more accountable to Europe’s citizens.

 

Underlines

 

that the Constitutional Convention had no mandate from the Union’s citizens to draft a European Constitution. Nevertheless the Convention represented the most important political levels in the Union and managed to involve civil society in the process. Furthermore it fostered a debate on the Future of the EU right across Europe. It must be acknowledged that the Convention managed to find a consensus among widely diverging positions while avoiding minimalist compromises.

 

 

Therefore, JEF-Europe:

 

Calls on the IGC not to touch the Convention’s Constitution!

 

The Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) is an inefficient and illegitimate institution, lacking in transparency, unlike the Convention. Conclusions of the IGC are based on horse trading and secretive deal making. Thanks to the unanimity rule and the absence of any publicity, IGCs benefit individual governments rather than the Union as a whole. Governments that were against the federal elements of the Constitution will use their veto to reintroduce more unanimity decisions, to weaken the European Parliament, to reduce the competences of the Union and to strengthen the role of the national governments in the institutional setting of the Union. Therefore JEF calls on the IGC to accept the compromise achieved in the Convention. However the IGC should recommend that in the future revision of the constitution should not be based anymore on unanimity of member states.

 

 

 

Further

 

Asks all Member States to ratify the Constitution!

 

All progress achieved by the Convention will be worthless if the Constitution will not be ratified. Therefore JEF calls on all member states and on all citizens of those states having a referendum on the Constitution, not to prolong the ratification process and to accept the IGC result, which should be the same as the text produced by the Convention. (If there is a clear majority of member states accepting the Constitution, it should enter into force. In case a small number of Member States do not ratify the result, the Constitution should enter into force in all those member states accepting the Constitution.

 

Member states which do not ratify the Constitution should enter a second phase of ratification, and will have to decide between accepting the Constitution or leaving the Union.)

In order to involve the Union’s citizens as much in the ratification process as possible, all national governments, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the political parties in Europe and civil society must communicate the Convention result to the citizens. Information activities in schools, universities, companies, shopping centres, and public debates, have to be arranged for all citizens and should be paid for from the Union and the member states’ budgets. Every citizen should be able to get a copy of the Constitution, including all four parts.

 

 

Urges all politicians and lawyers in Europe to implement

and interpret the Constitution in a federal way

 

JEF is aware that parts of the Constitution remain vague and contradictory. Whereas the first Part of the Constitution lays down broadly federal rules for the political processes in the EU, the Third Part lists intergovernmental exceptions to this rule, especially concerning qualified majority voting and legislative procedures. When implementing and interpreting the Constitution, especially concerning cases where the Constitution fails to give a clear picture, JEF calls for the broadly federal outline of the Constitution to be respected. JEF encourages member states to take part in structured cooperations, if there is no other solution within all the member states.

Nevertheless

 

Regrets major shortcomings of the Convention result:

 

- the method used by the Convention, to proceed by consensus and not by vote;

- the fact that the demands of the civil society and the Youth Convention were not sufficiently taken into account

- in particular, the two preambles, written in a not particularly inspiring style, should have been merged for the sake of clarity and take on the visionary wording of the ECSC Treaty. Such a preamble should not contain any reference to God or Christianity or any religious heritage;

- although the Constitution is easier to understand than the previous treaties, it is still an extremely complicated document, consisting of 2 Preambles, 4 completely different Parts, 455 articles and several Protocols and Annexes;

- although citizens have the right to claim if EU-institutions violate their fundamental rights, there is still no direct claim for violations done by the member states

- although the Convention simplified procedures, many of them, such as the budgetary procedure, are still too complicated for citizens to understand;

- Part I and Part III of the Constitution often contradict. Whereas Part I introduced many federal procedures, Part III lists many exceptions to these rules. Although the legislative procedure - including codecision for the EP and qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers - is the rule, there are almost more exceptions from this rule than cases where the rule applies;-

- many crucial policy areas, including for instance immigration quotas, , taxation, are still submitted to the veto rule, thus rendering the decision-making process inefficient and undemocratic particularly foreign and defence policy;

Particularly foreign and defence policy is still purely intergovernmental, which will prevent the Union from developing a Common Foreign Policy in the near future. The Constitution foresees the new position of a Foreign Minister of the Union, but since there is no clear separation of powers between this position and the President of the European Council, and since the position is not accountable to the European Parliament, the role and its democratic legitimacy will remain limited. JEF is worried that the step forward in structured cooperations might also be dealt with on an intergovernmental model;;

- the European Council, besides the Council of Ministers the second institution representing the interests of national governments, has been strengthened. Instead of an informal body of the Union, as in today’s treaties, this institution will be a regular organ of the Union. Contrary to all democratic institutions in the Union, the European Council is not accountable to the citizens or any other political organ and its decisions are not controlled by the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Therefore it is alarming that, despite the European Council officially having no legislative competence, it will have the power to influence legislative decisions by defining the priorities and goals of the Union;

- the President of the European Council, a new position created through the Convention, will be in constant competition with the President of the European Commission, as both bodies represent the Union’s executive and are responsible for implementing the Union’s legislation;

- although the European Parliament will have the right to elect the president of the European Commission, it does not have the right to propose a candidate for this post. This privilege is granted to the European Council, giving it an important role in influencing the election of the President of the Commission. Regarding this fact, the European Parliament should further have the right to dismiss the President of the European Commission;

- - future changes of the Constitution require unanimity of the member states. This allows a small minority of Union citizens to block crucial constitutional changes and thus risking bringing further integration of the Union to a halt. Major constitutional changes should be prepared and adopted by a Constitutional Convention, while minor changes should be prepared and adopted by the European Parliament with a two-thirds majority. Further into the future, all constitutional changes should be decided through a special majority in the European Parliament.

- While the constitution establishes new voting rules and a new composition of the European Parliament there is no need to maintain the rules of the Nice treaty until 2009

There is no need to maintain the institution of the European Council either.

 

 

 

Thus

 

Calls for future amendments to the Constitution,

 

which will contribute towards correcting these shortcomings of the present draft. This must be done by a second Constitutional Convention, with a clear mandate to transform the Constitution into a truly federal and democratic European Constitution and proceeding by qualified majority voting. Therefore, JEF shall campaign for the European Parliament, the European Commission, the political parties in Europe and the civil society (using in particular the popular initiative Procedure, art. 46) to urge all national governments to call a second Convention. . We demand that this second Constitutional Convention:

<DIR> <DIR>

- puts an end to vetoes on all political decision, including constitutional revisions;

- aims to achieve a two chamber parliament, including the European Parliament as the Chamber of the Citizens (lower house) and the Council of Ministers as a Chamber of the States, together responsible for all legislative decisions of the Union;

- develops the European Commission into a true government of the European Union.

 

 

 

Urges the European political parties

 

to put forward candidates for the position of President of the Commission, with authentic programs for governing Europe,supporting the idea of a new Constitutional Convention during the upcoming electoral campaign.

 


EP02 Political Platform


 

INTRODUCTION

1. FOR THE EUROPEAN FEDERATION

1.1. The meaning of federalism

1.1.1 Peace

1.1.2 The Rule of Law

1.1.3 Democracy

1.1.4 Separation of powers

1.1.5 Subsidiarity

1.1.6 Autonomy

1.1.7 Participation

1.1.8 A Federal Constitution

1.1.9 The Federation: Neither a Unitary State nor a Confederation

1.2. From the Treaty Nice to the European federation

1.2.1 Democratic Institutions

1.2.2 The Powers and Functioning of the Union

1.2.3 A European Single Foreign and Defence Policy (SFDP)

1.2.4 A new constitutional method

1.2.5 European Citizenship and Identity

1.2.6 Regions and Nation states

1.3. The European Federation as a model

1.3.1 Peace and security

1.3.2 World Federalism

 

 

 

 

 

 

NB: Part 2. FOR A NEW EUROPE has been forwarded by the Congress to the Federal Committee for amendments and adoption.

 

INTRODUCTION

Globalisation has transformed the world into a community of destiny. The nation states are more and more inadequate for the great global challenges of peace and security, international justice, economic development, protection of environment, and the other global issues. Both nationalism and simple intergovernmental co-operation are models of the past. Europe can offer a new model to the world, the model of federalism and international democracy.

The European Union was created to provide peace, security and prosperity for its citizens. It has achieved much, but its performance fall still far short of what its citizens are entitled to expect. Neither the European states alone, nor the European Union as it is today can any longer meet the challenges that confront them, first of all the management of the European economy after the birth of the Euro, the mass unemployment, the challenges of globalisation and of an ever increasing world disorder. It is more and more evident that we need a real democratic government of the European Union and a democratic and federal reform of all the Union’s institutions. It is necessary to transform the European Commission into a real European government, to give the European Parliament real legislative codecision powers on all matters, to make majority voting become the rule in the Council of Ministers, and to give the Union a single foreign, security and defence policy. In a word, it is time for a European Constitution to transform as soon as possible the European Union into a real European federation.

 

 

1. FOR THE EUROPEAN FEDERATION

 

1.1. The meaning of federalism

 

JEF is a federalist organisation, but federalism is often misconceived. Federalism is neither static nor monolithic. There is a huge variety of inceptions of federalism. The essence of federalism is its ever-changing nature, its attempts to strike a balance between presumably diverging interests. This makes it difficult to grasp and explain, but it also makes it more capable of addressing the problems of a world in motion.

Some see federalism as an ideology in itself, to which the value of Peace is what freedom is to liberalism and equality is to democracy. For others, it is but an institutional system capable of letting all democratic ideologies blossom. It can also be seen as a way of living and thinking for the whole society, from the family to the State, or simply as a means to organise the relations between nations/regions. Throughout the world, Federations take a wide variety of forms, from the very centralised to the almost confederal, with various ways to organise the democratic life within them.

All federalists, however, share the same basic principles. For JEF, federalism implies the following characteristics:

 

1.1.1 Peace

 

The main aim of federalism is Peace. Peace is not the absence of war; it is the situation in which war is not necessary to solve possible conflicts. This means that States should give up their exclusive right to go to war, and give it to the Federation. The separation of power guarantees peace within the federation and this in turn leads to peaceful behaviour towards other states.

 

1.1.2 The Rule of Law

 

This implies the rule of law, and the abandonment of power-politics. The relations between Member States of a federation must only be based on law.

 

1.1.3 Democracy

 

This law should result from the will of the people, expressed through elected representatives. This means, among other, that there should be a legitimate federal government to propose and execute laws, and a federal Parliament representing the people to pass those laws.

 

1.1.4 Separation of powers

 

Democracy should be based on the principle of a separation of powers. No organ or institution should be in charge of more than one power: legislative power, executive power or judicial power. Additionally, each organ and each institution should be subject to control of other Union organs.

 

1.1.5 Subsidiarity

 

Power should be exercised no higher than is necessary and as close to those it affects as possible. The federal government should have only the minimum number of competences and the necessary powers to guarantee the political and economic cohesion of the federation including the foreign and security policy. The other levels are to keep full capacity of self-government in all other spheres.

 

1.1.6 Autonomy

 

All the federated entities have the right to organise themselves in the way they see fit, provided it does not call into jeopardy the general interest and values of the federation. Each level must have the power to levy taxes in order to finance its own services and so have sufficient resources available to carry out the functions assigned to it by the Constitution.

 

1.1.7 Participation

 

All Member States have a right to participate in the decision-making at the federal level. The balance between the Federation and the Member States is reflected in a bicameral legislative power: one branch of parliament representing the people of the federation as such, in measure proportional to the number of citizens, while the other is composed of representatives of the states. Laws must have the support of the majority of the representatives of both houses.

 

1.1.8 A Federal Constitution

 

Each federation should therefore be based on a genuinely federal Constitution, which does away with the sovereignty of the Member States. The balance of powers between supranational, national, regional and local government must be sanctioned by a written constitution, and protected by an autonomous judiciary power to guarantee the primacy of the Constitution by imposing respect for it on all organs of the Federation and annulling any provisions which are not conform to the Constitution, and to judge in the final instance when conflict over the allocation of powers among various levels of government arise. The Constitution must also exclude every drive for excessive centralisation and power abuse as well as bring clarity in the federation's structure. The constitution must base its legitimacy on the will of the people. It should be based on the core democratic values. The Constitution must further protect its citizens’ political and social fundamental rights.

 

1.1.9 The Federation: Neither a Unitary State nor a

Confederation

 

In federal systems, each level is supreme within its own policy-remit: in its own sphere no government level must be subordinate to the level above. Primacy of federal law over federated legislation only applies within the powers attributed to the federal level. Where the Federation has no power to intervene, sub-federal legislation enjoys primacy.

This makes the Federation different from unitary States, which can impose their sovereign will on their regions. It also makes it a lot more integrated than a confederation or a loose international organisation, where, ultimately, only member States have the last word.

 

1.2. From the Treaty Nice to the European federation

 

The European Union shaped by the Treaty of Nice is neither fully democratic nor capable of acting effectively. Europe’s citizens have not yet the full power to decide on the government and on the Union policies. The Union is also not able to cope with the great challenges the 21st century is putting in front of us. The "draft Constitution" as proposed by the European Convention, does not resemble a genuine federal Constitution. It does not succeed in addressing all challenges of democracy, enlargement and globalisation. With this political platform JEF formulates key principles, which should be followed to move from the current framework and make the necessary step towards a federal Europe..

 

1.2.1 Democratic Institutions

 

The European Parliament represents the citizens of the Union while the Council of ministers represents the interests of the Member States, and, where necessary, of the legislative regions. They both 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 should put forward their candidate for this post prior to European Parliament elections. At least ten percent of the members of the European Parliament should be elected on Europe-wide lists. The European Parliament, the European Council and the European Commission should have the right to initiate legislation.

The Council should act only as a legislature, passing on all current executive functions 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 in accordance with internal rules, of representatives of regional governments. 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. Qualified majority should apply only to the revisions of the Constitution and the level of own resources.

The European Commission should become the true executive of the European Union, including the area of foreign, security and defence policy. It 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, subject to the approval of the Council, should choose his/her commissioners on the basis of qualification regardless of their nationality. The entire Commission has to be ratified by the European Parliament. The Commission should be accountable to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

 

1.2.2 The Powers and Functioning of the Union

 

Many citizens do not know what is dealt with at EU level and what falls under national jurisdiction. This feeds the fear of a Brussels Super-state claiming all powers. This fear must be dealt with. The unclear allocation of powers has led to an increase of the EU’s democratic deficit and an unsatisfactory implementation of the principle of subsidiary as it is laid down in the Treaty.

According to the principle of subsidiarity, only questions of genuinely Europe-wide interest should be dealt with at EU level. We believe that a federal Constitution should enshrine the three categories of competences:

 

1. exclusively European

 

2. shared competences between the EU and Member States, whereby the EU is responsible for a certain framework regulation and the Member States are in charge of formulating the detailed regulations.

 

3. complementary competences, where EU institutions will limit themselves to supporting and supplementing national policies.

We welcome the work of the Convention in this respect, as well as the abolition of the pillar structure of the EU, for a single and clear institutional framework.

To ensure a better implementation of subsidiarity, the Convention has proposed a so-called "early warning system" for national parliaments. This procedure provides a good mean of surveillance on subsidiarity matters and involves them in the legislative process without creating new hurdles of efficiency. Together with the right of action for the national parliaments or their chambers, this system means a step forward. It will contribute to more intense debates on European issues on the national level and more sensitive handling with competence matters on the European level.

Simple Procedures must apply to European law-making: a bill should only become law if both Houses agree on the proposed text. All legislative procedures should be systematically open to public, including committees and working groups. Moreover, the number of legislative instruments must be reduced according to the proposals made by the European Convention:

 

1. Union law must be binding on all EU institutions, national institutions and European citizens, without any incorporation into national law;

 

2. Union framework law should be but a binding framework in which the Member States have a certain freedom to pass national laws;

 

3. Regulations are implementing rules for laws and framework laws. They should be addressed to Member States and Union citizens, and should be enacted under the sole responsibly of the European Commission;

To maintain the integrity of the European Union, provision must be made for member states wishing to pool sovereignty in areas where others may not wish to be involved. This enhanced cooperation would of necessity be ‘open’, in that any member state wishing to be involved in such a process be granted the automatic right to do so. JEF categorically rejects the notion of a ‘closed federal core’ or indeed any form of cooperation that would exclude member states wishing to take part. JEF believes that exclusive pooling of sovereignty outside the acquis would be divisive and contrary to the spirit of the European Union.

 

1.2.3 A European Single Foreign and Defence Policy (SFDP)

 

In the field of competences, special attention should be give to foreign policy. Up to now, facing numerous international challenges, the European Union has been showing division. The maintenance of peace and security, even on the European continent, has been delegated to the United States. Despite the fact that European Union countries collectively spend as much as two thirds of the American military expenses for their 15 national armies, they have a capacity of action far inferior than that of the United States. Europe remains shamefully unable to speak with one single voice on the international stage, unable to act and make its share in the building up of a new world order of peace and security.

The European Union must therefore be given full power in the field of foreign affairs, security and defence through the establishment of real single, and not just common, Foreign Security and Defence Policy of the Union. Such deep changes certainly requires more targeted investments, but they will be more than repaid by the elimination of waste due to the to the current multiplicity of 15 ineffective national armies, and at the same time they will allow a significant re-launch of the European research and development activity in leading-edge technologies, with a beneficial spill over on the research and development throughout Europe. Such a breakthrough will also mean that the Union should replace Britain and France as the sole representative of Europe in a reformed UN Security Council. All legislative decisions on European Single Foreign and Defence Policy have to be taken by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The use of the European Army must be subject to a two third majority within the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers; national opt outs must be allowed when the Army is used. All decisions concerning European Single Foreign and Defence Policy must be subject to control of the European Court of Justice.

The SFDP should be based on humanistic and democratic values of the Union. It should aim at promoting those values all over the world. Undemocratic regimes should not get support on sides of the EU. Furthermore the SFDP should strengthen the United Nations and their sub-organisations as well the international law. The SFDP should make use of the civilian means of conflict management and peacekeeping. All efforts should be made to resolve conflict by political instead of military means. Still, JEF is of the opinion that at least 1% of the EU’s GDP should be spent on aid to developing countries, and that the Lomé agreements should be developed into more effective tools, favouring the less developed countries. JEF is concerned about the gap between the rich and the poor people throughout the world, but especially in developing countries. Therefore, besides spending money, the EU together with organisations such as the UN, Worldbank and NGOs needs t develop concepts in order to find the starting point of a solution. These concepts should not be generalized and they need to respect differences. (e.g. an OPEC-country needs a different concept than one of the least developed states). As a first step, the EU should open up completely to imports from developing countries, since better market access is a condition for development.

 

1.2.4 A new constitutional method

 

The method by which treaties have so far been revised needs to be profoundly altered. The old model of secret diplomatic conferences with unanimous decisions by the European Council has rightly been acknowledged as ineffective and not acceptable any longer. We welcome the new Convention method as the most democratic and open one imagined up to now. The operation of the previous Convention, however, must be criticised in so far as it was based on consensus, which equates unanimity and its blocking nature. A Constitutional Convention deciding by majority voting should be convened for amendments to the Constitution which concern the principles of the European Union.

Major constitutional changes should be put to the people through a Europe-wide referendum, organised along the following lines: The format of this Europe-wide referendum would require a special majority of both states and the population of Europe as a whole to adopt the result. The referendum would be held on the same day across the EU, with the same question asked in the EU’s official languages. All the countries having accepted the Constitution should then proceed regardless of the reservation of those countries that have not yet ratified the constitution. Admittedly, JEF 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: we are concerned about the danger to the unity of the EU posed by a minority number of Member States taking initiatives in major policy areas. However, we would welcome the initiative of the countries, which showed their commitment to a federal integration of the whole of Europe. Only a genuinely pan-European referendum will be able to give popular legitimacy to such a move.

 

1.2.5 European Citizenship and Identity

 

Popular legitimacy indeed. A Constitution can only live, when it is fully carried by the European citizens. Therefore a feeling of a European identity is a necessary prerequisite. Since the Single European Act in the 1980ies, the EC and then the EU started to build this identity by common European symbols. One of the major steps towards a European identity is the single currency, the Euro. But this is not enough: even with the Euro most of the European citizens see themselves more as citizens of their nation (or region) than as Europeans. Only if we achieve more steps towards a stronger European identity, the people will see how important a European constitution is for them personally: the project of a federal constitution can only come true with the support of a big majority of the European citizens and not only a rather small group of federalists.

One of the ways to create a genuine European public opinion is to develop the European political life. In that respect, JEF 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. A European Party System will be able to integrate diverse ideological, social and political interests along functional, rather than territorial lines and in this manner will be crucial for polity-formation and the creation of European Awareness. 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. We believe that a combination of state AND private financing allocated in proportion to representation in the EP and stringent regulation of private finances are necessary to prevent problems of "soft money". Consequently, the development of a fully-functioning party-system (including Europe-wide political programmes and candidates standing for election as representatives of political parties) are crucial elements of the true European Government JEF is aiming to achieve.

 

1.2.6 Regions and Nation states

 

Europe is a continent with many differences which have to be respected by its political system. The existence of regions with distinctive traditions, capacities and needs is a reality in Europe. More and more European countries have regionalised in the recent past. Article 6 of the European Constitution takes into account, that the regional and local authorities are a constitutive level of the European Union. According to the principle of subsidiarity, each member state should be free in choosing its internal structure. A federal union has to respect only existing regional and local authorities and to give them appropriate possibilities to participate in European affairs. In a second chamber regions with legislative powers should have the possibility to send representatives according to national law. JEF acknowledges the importance of local and regional democracy for the European integration process. Cities have been the first pan-European network in the history. Today the various bilateral and multilateral contacts build one firm basis on mutual understanding of the citizens. Regions play as well an important role as intermediate structures between the European institutions and the citizens. The day-to-day reality of transborder cooperation shows the big potential in bringing the advantages of European integration close to the citizens. Interregional co-operation projects have created a Europe-wide network. Regional solutions are often better adapted to specific problems. The exchange and competition of those solutions contribute to welfare and innovation in the whole Europe.

"In this light decision-making should take place as close as possible to the citizens. According to the respect of autonomy of each member state, internal rules should be decisive in this respect. The European Union should concentrate itself on its core-issues and refrain from the any detail-regulation. The principle of mutual obligation (Unionstreue) govern the relations between the different levels. Decision-making on all levels should be democratic. For each power, decision-making, accountability and fund raising should take place at the same level

 

1.3. The European Federation as a model

 

A European federation will be the example on how to transform international relations based on the rule of strength into legal relations among equals, based on the rule of democratic law. The European federation will prove to the world that the Federation is the only system capable of combining unity and diversity, the advantages of small size independent member units, with the advantages of a common and united large size entity, which are needed for the Europeans and for the world as a whole to face the challenges of globalisation: unity brings strength.

The end of the cold war and the ever growing level of global interdependence have reduced the risk of aggression of one state to the other. But with the falling apart of the old bipolar world order, new major threats to world peace and security are posed by the ever growing fragmentation of existing states and resulting civil wars, the rising of ethnic nationalism and ensuing massive violation of human rights of whole populations, the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and bacteriologic weapons in the hands of rogue and nationalist states. The new world order has seen the birth of new international actors: NGOs, civil society, anti-globalisation movements, which all question and criticise the current international modus operandi. The European Union is in a unique and powerful position to influence the globalisation process and should not therefore be the target of vehement and violent protest, but instead should be viewed as a vehicle that can help enable world economic and political reform.

 

1.3.1 Peace and security

 

We believe that the best way of ensuring peace in Europe is through the enlargement and federalisation of the European Union. The Union has peace and it is unlikely that war would break out between EU Member States. We recognise that neither military forces nor NATO membership will prevent conflicts arising, (e.g. the Turkish-Kurdish issue). The Union should use preventive social, economic and political ways to help prevent or find solutions to conflicts, whether they would be ethnic, religious, economic or political in origin.

The EU must encourage peace in areas immediately outside its current and forthcoming European borders.Where preventive policies fail, force must be a last resort to stop conflicts, e.g, the deliberate invasion of one country by another or illegal acts such as Crimes Against Humanity. The EU should insist on diplomatic initiatives to halt such conflicts, but if those initiatives fail, EU and its allies should act within the framework of the international organisations. EU forces should be the primary actor to ensure the security and defence of the EU. Intervention within possible internal crises (within or outside EU-borders) should be limited and only accepted with the consent of the European Parliament.

We recognise that for conflicts outside the regions specified above, the EU should support UN initiatives and be ready to support local co-operative organisations, e.g. ASEAN, to encourage economical, social and political development to remove the possibility of conflict in those regions which could spread to become global conflict. The European Union should also act as a peace-initiating and peace-encouraging player in conflict areas around the world, as long as the involvement of the European Union is not more provocative than calming.

 

1.3.2 World Federalism

 

The creation of a regional level of government (like the European) is the indispensable vehicle to make the working of the UN and all international organisations more efficient, just and democratic. This process is under way to an unequal extent in the various regions. It has reached an advanced stage in the EU. The European Federation will open the way to the formation of a new world order, based on wide regional groupings of states and the reform of the Security Council. In the long term, a federal organisation of the world should respect the following principles:

 

Peace

Sustainable peace for all people is a goal that can only be achieved if no one sets their egoistic interest before that of other people and always strives to settle conflict in court and not by military means.

Ultimately, only a UN-peacecorps (consisting of units specialised in conflict prevention, humanitarian aid, (post-) conflict management, peace-keeping, policing, peace-making and the building-up of a democratic life and institutions) should be legitimate, so as to prevent States and Regional Federations to resort to the use force to solve possible conflicts. This means that NATO should eventually be merged into the World army. It had a justification in the old world order, to provide a framework of defence cooperation amongst democratic nations. Since the end of the bipolar world order, increasing unilateral action of the only remaining super-power, the United States, has called into question the relevance of the transatlantic alliance. JEF believes that all international conflicts should be dealt with first within the respective regional organisation and ultimately in a reformed Security Council. The UN-peacecorps is the only global policing force.

 

The Rule of Law

As opposed to war, law should be the only legitimate tool in case of disagreement. A World Court of Justice should be called on to adjudicate on the violations of international law and the international obligations of its components. Its decisions must be binding.

 

Subsidiarity

A World federation should only make decisions on the questions of World importance. It should have the power to make laws concerning the protection of the World environment, on International trade (it should replace the World Trade Organisation), on the international protection of human rights.

 

Autonomy

Members of the World federation would ideally consist on regional federations such as the European Union. However, European solutions should not be imposed on other regions of the world even if the European Union acts and will act as stimulating example for a successful integration. The European federation must be a beacon for the World, not an imperialist force. Provided that the States genuinely respect the principles of the United Nations (prohibition of war) and that they agree to be represented en bloc at the World level by their regional organisation, the latter should be entitled to organise themselves as they see fit.

 

Participation

More than the directly elected representatives of humanity, international federal law would necessarily stem from States and regional organisations. World regional groupings would intervene within a reformed Security Council. Consequently, the unjust discrimination between permanent and non-permanent members will lose its motivation. Thus the permanent member's right of veto will be replaced by a system of majority voting. Individual States could continue to be individually represented within the General Assembly, which could progressively evolve into a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA).

 

Constitution

The Charter of the United Nations should be turned into a genuine Constitution, which would put an end to the veto right of the permanent members of the Security Council. This Constitution should state what are the powers of the UN and of the States/Regional groupings that are its members. As it is already the case, the constitutional Charter of the UN must have primacy over any other international agreement or regional or national law. This primacy needs to be enforced through efficient and obligatory judicial channels. The International Court of Justice should therefore have a compulsory jurisdiction over all the members of the World federation. It should replace all existing criminal courts (ICC and ad hoc tribunals) as well as organs for settlement of controversies (such as the WTO organ).

 

The Security Council

There are two ways to face the problem of the enlargement of the Security Council, which now is on the agenda. The first is to open the doors of the Security Council to the strongest states and entrust them with the task of representing the interests of the smaller neighbouring states. The second is the transformation of the Security Council into the Council of the great regions of the world. That is a step on the way of the democratisation of the UN. In fact, in this way, all the peoples (and not only the strongest, as now happens) will be represented at world level through their regional grouping.

 

Other organisations

As the achievement of providing the UN with the means to ensure the world peace lies far ahead, the role of regional organisations is still crucial.

The OSCE still keeps its importance because of the number of states it brings together. The role of OSCE in development of the international law should be stressed and strengthened. It should also take an active role in civil society development especially in the countries where it is still a new and fragile concept (technical and educational help to NGOs, elections monitoring, advisory role to governments.)

The Council of Europe has through the years played an important and complementary role to the European Union in its work for democracy, human rights and preservation of the cultural heritage. As for the OSCE, the number of countries participating gives it a different and important approach in European work from that of the European Union.


EP03 on the European Parliament Elections


JEF-Europe affirms

 

- Its commitment to the vision of a federal structure of the institutions of the European Union with the European Parliament becoming a true ‘lower house’, the democratically elected primary legislature of the EU of the future.

 

- Its determination to see the European Parliament continue to expand its legislative role, hope for which can be found in the preliminary draft for a European Constitution produced by the Convention, thanks in part to the decisive role played by MEPs in the Convention.

 

- Its demand that the European Parliament shall make the most of its present opportunities to hold the European Commission to account and that the link of accountability between these institutions should be strengthened in the future by introducing a system by which the European Parliament elects the President of the European Commission.

 

- Its opinion that the European Parliament will only become a truly effective legislature when elections are fought by European political parties, each with a coherent Europe-wide policy platform.

 

JEF Europe welcomes

 

- the recent adoption of the agreement on subsidies and finance regulation of European parties, coming after a long time of debate. Nevertheless a more far-reaching statute of parties is required, which also needs to define the function of parties.

 

JEF-Europe regrets

 

- The low turnout at the European Parliament elections in 1999, and an overall perception that voting in European Parliament elections ‘doesn’t change anything’.

 

- The tendency in many member states to send their second rate candidates to the European Parliament, while high flyers remain in the national parliaments.

 

- The lack of political direction and leadership shown within the European Parliament between 1999 and 2004, and the lack of willingness to challenge the status quo.

 

JEF Europe asks for the European elections:

 

1. The citizens of the Union need to be aware of the election rules and need to accept them. The rules have to be transparent as well as fair and have to be legally binding in all of the member states.

 

2. A minimum of ten per cent of the members to be elected via European lists. Those list have to be set up by European parties. Parties that receive more than five per cent of the vote through the lists will be represented in the EP.

 

3. The remaining members will be elected via European electoral districts, which can be transnational, under a single European electoral procedure. Each member state should be allocated three MEP seats. Additional seats are allocated proportional to population.

 

4. This system shall be designed to prevent an increase in the total of delegates due to excess mandates (Überhangmandate) as it is possible for instance in the FRG.

 

5. The number of more than 736 seats, which is foreseen in the draft Constitution, is not an option in the long run. Until 2009, or at the latest until 2014, the number of seats should be a maximum of 700.

 

6. The European parties should designate their candidates for the post of President of the Commission before the European elections. Everything has to be done for the establishment of a European awareness - as pursued by article 45 of the draft Constitution.

 

JEF-Europe affirms

 

- Its commitment to the vision of a federal structure of the institutions of the European Union with the European Parliament becoming a true ‘lower house’, the democratically elected primary legislature of the EU of the future.

 

- Its determination to see the European Parliament continue to expand its legislative role, hope for which can be found in the preliminary draft for a European Constitution produced by the Convention, thanks in part to the decisive role played by MEPs in the Convention.

 

- Its demand that the European Parliament shall make the most of its present opportunities to hold the European Commission to account and that the link of accountability between these institutions should be strengthened in the future by introducing a system by which the European Parliament elects the President of the European Commission.

 

- Its opinion that the European Parliament will only become a truly effective legislature when elections are fought by European political parties, each with a coherent Europe-wide policy platform.

 

JEF Europe welcomes

 

- the recent adoption of the agreement on subsidies and finance regulation of European parties, coming after a long time of debate. Nevertheless a more far-reaching statute of parties is required, which also needs to define the function of parties.

 

JEF-Europe regrets

 

- The low turnout at the European Parliament elections in 1999, and an overall perception that voting in European Parliament elections ‘doesn’t change anything’.

 

- The tendency in many member states to send their second rate candidates to the European Parliament, while high flyers remain in the national parliaments.

 

- The lack of political direction and leadership shown within the European Parliament between 1999 and 2004, and the lack of willingness to challenge the status quo.

 

JEF Europe asks for the European elections:

 

1. The citizens of the Union need to be aware of the election rules and need to accept them. The rules have to be transparent as well as fair and have to be legally binding in all of the member states.

 

2. A minimum of ten per cent of the members to be elected via European lists. Those list have to be set up by European parties. Parties that receive more than five per cent of the vote through the lists will be represented in the EP.

 

3. The remaining members will be elected via European electoral districts, which can be transnational, under a single European electoral procedure. Each member state should be allocated three MEP seats. Additional seats are allocated proportional to population.

 

4. This system shall be designed to prevent an increase in the total of delegates due to excess mandates (Überhangmandate) as it is possible for instance in the FRG.

 

5. The number of more than 736 seats, which is foreseen in the draft Constitution, is not an option in the long run. Until 2009, or at the latest until 2014, the number of seats should be a maximum of 700.

 

6. The European parties should designate their candidates for the post of President of the Commission before the European elections. Everything has to be done for the establishment of a European awareness - as pursued by article 45 of the draft Constitution.

 


Transparent
Transparent
Transparent
Transparent
Transparent


Join the JEF Discussion Forums!

 

 


Transparent
Transparent
Transparent
Transparent
Transparent
Transparent
Transparent
Page Border Section Website content and design © 2004-2017 JEF-Europe - Disclaimer
JEF-Europe Secretariat, Chausse de Wavre 214d, 1050 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 5120053, Fax: +32 (0)2 6269501, E-mail:
Transparent Europe Flag JEF-Europe receives financial support from the European Commission and the Council of Europe Page Border Section
JEF-Europe Homepage