EU reform: the time for compromise is over, let us move forward with ambition

JEF-Europe sends 6-point strong open demand letter to Merkel and European leaders

, by JEF Europe

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français]

EU reform: the time for compromise is over, let us move forward with ambition

Young people expect more from Europe! Today the Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) are sending a demand letter to Chancellor Merkel, all European governments, the Commission President, the European Parliament President and the sherpas (those known) to ask them not to castrate the European Constitution. On 16 June, their demands will be backed up by a pan-European action in support of a European referendum.

JEF Europe’s president, Jan Seifert, firmly rejected the idea of a mini-compromise. “If anything in the Constitution must be changed, then it is that we need supplementary articles creating closer integration to solve pressing challenges like immigration, energy security and climate change.”

The JEF President continued: “Young people in Europe are tired of governments sacrificing the Constitution in domestic political games. After decades of patchwork, we finally got a Constitution that provides more democratic and efficient institutions, codified fundamental rights and a framework understandable to the citizens. Why boil the balanced compromise from the Convention down to nothing?” Seifert asked the governments.

“The Convention-method was the right step to involve the citizens and parliamentarians in amending the current constitutional texts of the European Union – the Treaties. This basic democratic right to participate in such an important matter may not be sacrificed for old-style “behind-closed-doors” negotiations, neither by sherpas nor in an IGC. We do not need another IGC to result in a minimum compromise as it happened with the Nice Treaty,” explained Seifert.

JEF is living up to its words. On 16 June, JEF’s network of 35 000 activists will spread across the streets of European cities to collect signatures supporting a referendum on the Constitution. This pan-European action is part of the “Let the European People Decide" campaign, which demands a pan-European consultative ballot on a European Constitution on the same day as the European elections in June 2009 (www.europeanreferendum.eu).

The demand letter is available as PDF at www.jef.eu, but here you can see the 6 main demands for saving the European Constitution.

1. 50 years of patchwork is enough! The EU needs a fundamental makeover, not a mere make-up exercise. Thus the Constitutional Treaty must be the only starting point for an ambitious institutional reform and the outcome should be a single and comprehensible document that we can present and discuss with any high school class.
2. No IGC behind closed doors! How do you expect anyone to engage in communicating your reforms if they have not been a part of the process? - Reforming the EU without involving the citizens and parliaments should remain a thing of the past. Do not give up the achievements of the Convention method and open both the meetings and the documents for the public and European parliaments!
3. Involve the citizens when changing the rule of the game! Put the text to a consultative referendum to be held in all European countries on the same day as the European Parliament elections in 2009. Only a truly pan-European debate can help us to avoid the mistakes of the past ratification.
4. Give us the tools we need to tackle the challenges of tomorrow! Only a targeted transfer of powers to the European level can give us the mechanisms needed to face up to climate change, new modes of energy supply and safety as well as pursuing a human migration policy.
5. Give us a strong voice in the world! For us to influence the issues that will determine our future and in order to make a difference in the world we live in, Europe needs to speak with one single strong voice. Call it what you like, but the institution of the foreign minister is key to our role – or non-role – in the world.
6. Protect our rights! The Charter of Fundamental Rights is a bold commitment to the citizens of Europe and a strong element of our common identity – make it legally enforceable for all EU citizens.

Image:

- A commemorative Italian euro coin depicting Europa holding a pen over the text of the Constitution was issued on the first anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. The image above depicts a unit of currency issued by the European Central Bank (ECB). This design is copyrighted by the ECB, and its use is permitted by ECB; source: Wikimedia Commons

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