Open letter to Valéry Giscard D’Estaing

Valéry Giscard D'Estaing

Mr Valéry Giscard D’Estaing
President of the Convention

Brussels, 20 December 2001

A duty to listen: the right to be heard

The Bureau of the U.E.F. (Union of European Federalists), meeting in Brussels on 15-16 December 2001, welcomes the decision of the Laeken European Council to establish a Convention on the future of Europe, and congratulates you on your appointment as Chairman of the Convention.

For the first time in European history, the European system of government can be shaped by its citizens.  Our common history in Europe is full of summits and congresses to draft treaties between governments.  Utrecht, Berlin and Versailles will forever be remembered for their treaties.  So will Rome, Maastricht and Amsterdam.

The Convention provides an opportunity for a new kind of debate about a new kind of Europe.  A Europe of the citizens, by the citizens, for the citizens.

But the U.E.F. sounds a warning.

It would be very easy for the Convention to end up as nothing more than a talking shop for the same few people on the same few issues.  If this were to happen, an historic opportunity would be lost.

So, the U.E.F. calls on you to ensure that this does not happen.  The Convention must seize its chance to reshape the future of Europe, to prepare the text of a Federal Constitution which can ensure peace, liberty and prosperity for all Europeans.  Perhaps some people are still uncertain about this step.  Their uncertainty should not deter those who understand the importance of uniting Europe by democracy, to the benefit of Europe and the rest of the world alike.

The European Council has taken a bold step in creating the Convention.  But it is still only a step.  The journey ahead is longer.

Under your leadership, the Convention can provide a means of reconnecting the peoples of Europe with the debate about its future.  The governments of Europe have a duty to listen.  The citizens of Europe have the right to be heard.

Jo LEINEN
President of the U.E.F.
Member of European Parliament

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