Introduction to JEF
The Young European Federalists is a supranational, political movement active in most European countries. It is an autonomous youth organisation which has no party political affiliations or commitments. It participates in the exchange of opinions and experiences with other political movements, but will not identify with any of them. JEF's interlocutors are political parties, European, national and local institutions and associations, as well as the general public. In this sense JEF is a political movement, but not a party.
JEF is not interested in the direct management of political power: it concentrates its action on the achievement of international democracy through the establishment of federal systems in Europe and in the world. The aims of JEF are to work for the creation of a European Federation, first step towards peace and World Federation, and for a freer, more just and more democratic federal society.
JEF works for increased international democracy, primarily, but not exclusively, within the European continent. It seeks to implement the principles of federalism, the origins of which can be found in the writings of Proudhon, Kant, Marx, Spinelli and others.
Federalism proposes a decentralised, self-managed society, in which all persons affected by a decision may participate in making it. All decisions must be reached by democratic institutions at the most appropriate level.
Democracy at all levels
In today's world, traditional government based on the concept of the sovereign nation-state is not able to deal with the many problems which arise from increasing interdependence. JEF believes that the challenges and opportunities posed by increased interdependence can only be addressed through the adoption of democratic solutions at all levels of government: from the supranational down to the subnational level.
National states as we have known them in the past have become increasingly centralised, whilst at the same time their inability to deal on their own with the issues facing their citizens has contributed to a growing sense of alienation. Increasingly, citizens are beginning to feel that the national political arena is irrelevant for many of the real issues which concern them, as more and more areas of politics acquire a significant international dimension. Up until now, the efforts of nation states to solve such problems by means of traditional intergovernmental cooperation have proved inadequate.
At the same time, the growing centralisation in national capitals has contributed towards a perception that decision-making lacks transparency and popular participation. Many problems which can only be adequately dealt with at a local level are not being solved. Furthermore, regional differences and cultural diversity are being stifled.
In order to deal with these it is necessary to elaborate common policies to be democratically established and efficiently implemented through integrated, supranational institutions. In this sense, a reshaping of the sharing of powers and competences among national and European institutions is urgently needed. The European Union represents the most advanced example of European integration, but its decision-making system remains overly complex and lacking in transparency. Without accountable institutions and a truly democratic decision-making process, operating according to the rule of law, the European Union will remain inefficient and unable to meet the real demands of its citizens. JEF campaigns for a new European Union, one which is both effective and democratic, and one which is able to deal with the challenges and rise to the opportunities provided by our new interdependent world.