Today, 20 January, the UEF and JEF sent joint letters to European civil society organisations as well as to local, regional and national parliaments and governments, to draw their attention to the innovations of the so-called Duff-Voggenhuber report. This report, drafted by the Co-rapporteurs of the European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Andrew Duff and Johannes Voggenhuber, proposes to organise parliamentary and citizens’ forums in order to ensure a broad public debate about the future of Europe, and the active participation of all stakeholders in the current “period of reflection”.
In their letters, the UEF and JEF Presidents ask NGOs as well as institutions, and authorities to support the report’s propositions. Parliamentarians along with governments were asked to participate actively in the “Parliamentary Forums” and “Citizens’ Forums” and to ensure that the EP’s “European Papers” summarising the debate could be of the best possible quality. Civil society was asked to pressure their parliamentarians and governments to realise these Forums. This would guarantee that European politics as well as the Constitution are truly brought to the people.
“It is of vital importance that the debate about the future of Europe now starts in national capitals, regions and local communities,” explains the President of UEF Mercedes Bresso.
These letters followed a JEF and UEF action organised in Strasbourg on the 18th, immediately preceding the plenary debate on the Duff-Voggenhuber report. MEPs, JEF and UEF members, posing as a “Europe United Courier Service”, moved boxes labeled “European Constitution” in front of the EP building. Passers-by and MEPs were asked to “post” the debate to their home countries.
Johannes Voggenhuber and Andrew Duff helped the Europe United Courier Service. “We are speaking for the Union of the people and not [member] states and bureaucracies… We want to open a European debate … to go further with the ratification, and, if it is not possible, to consider to revise the text and then go back to the people and hold a Europe-wide referendum”, Mr Voggenhuber said.
The UEF and JEF ask all parties in the continued constitutional process to take up their respective responsibilities. It now falls to MEPs, national MPs, regional and local governments and European civil society to act on the proposals outlined in the Duff-Voggenhuber report. UEF and JEF calls on the support of all those who wish to join us in this endeavour.