Federalist Letter to the European Constitutional Convention
Issue number 1, 28 February 2002
Dear Members of the Convention,
For the first time in European history elected parliamentarians and not national diplomats have been asked to prepare the reform of the European Union. For the first time, this preparation will take place in public. You have a great responsibility to make this political innovation a tool to advance the unity of Europe and not to preserve European division.
In the next months many will appeal to your “realism”, your “pragmatism”, your “caution”. We want to call upon your vision and your courage. If the “Convention on the future of Europe” wants to make a difference, it must be brave and ambitious.
This is desperately needed, as Europe is currently unable to deal with the challenges it faces. The Union is about to be extended to 27 member states. The euro brings new responsibilities. 11 September and the ongoing turmoil in Middle East are the latest examples of the increasing world disorder and the lack of European influence on the world stage. America is pushed to unilateralism because Europe is unable to be an effective partner. Globalisation is shaking the balance of European economic and social model. All of this requires a radical and fundamental change in the nature of the Union. The European Union needs to become a genuine European federation.
The Convention could easily end up as nothing more than warm speeches and fuzzy rhetoric. Or it could agree only on some minimal reforms. This would be tragedy for democracy and would cast serious doubts over whether European integration still has a future. If the Convention wants to fulfil its task, it should try to tackle the root of the problem. The Convention should act as a true “Constituent Convention” and prepare a Constitution to establish a European Federation, without being afraid of how difficult this task might appear today.
In the next months you will all be confronted with the stubborn resistance of those who oppose the concept of a European Federation and who flatter themselves with the illusion that Europe can survive weak, divided and undemocratic as it is today. You must resist being held hostage by those representatives that oppose the concept of federalism. You should proceed to elaborate and approve a draft Constitution even if this is supported only by a broad majority of the Convention members. This could then be submitted to the heads of state and government with a proposal for a democratic procedure for its ratification. Those countries which for the moment are not yet willing to join a federation should not be allowed to prevent the others from doing so.
With this Federalist Letter, the Union of European Federalists will follow your work. We will provide inputs for your discussions and decisions. We will inform the citizens and members of national parliaments, and will organise grassroots activities. We will encourage the brave and criticise the lukewarm.
If you, or at least a majority of you, are courageous, you will command the respect of the European citizens. If you turn out to be weak, you will be remembered – if you are remembered at all – only for abandoning your responsibilities and turning your back on the people of Europe.
This “Federalist Letter” is issued by the Union of European Federalists as part of the “Campaign for a European Federal Constitution”. For further information and support:
UEF – Chaussée de Wavre 214 d B-1050 Brussels, Tel: + 32-2-508.30.30 – Fax : +32-2-626.95.01, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: www.federaleurope.org With the financial support, but not representing the opinions, of the European Commission