Rome March 25, 2017: Time to act for Europe!

, by Roberto Castaldi

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Rome March 25, 2017: Time to act for Europe!
At Palazzo dei Conservatori 1957 the Treaty of Rome was signed © Jaime Pérez (CC BY-NC 2.0) flickr

Europe is facing an existential crisis. With the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome ahead, we are facing a decisive moment in history. It is time for European institutions and for national governments to wake up. And last but not least, it is time for the European civil society, me and you, everybody to act! - A vital appeal

The Bratislava Summit conclusions announced the approval of a road map to re-launch the EU on the occasion of the European Council in Rome on March 25, 2017 following the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, that established the European Economic Community and Euratom.

However, this is no time for celebration but for action! The EU faces an existential crisis, arising from the accumulation of specific crises, which cannot be solved by any Member state, but which also the EU in its current form lacks the competences and powers to address properly, answering its citizens’ needs.

The economic, financial and social crisis is essentially linked to the unfinished nature of the monetary union. The 2012 Four Presidents and the 2015 Five Presidents Reports recognise the need for more integration to complete and reach a proper Economic and Monetary Union. The geopolitical crises all around Europe are a structural cause also of the refugees and migrants fluxes, and foster the terrorist threat. All of these threats require the EU to integrate more and set up a single foreign and defence policy, a European internal security, intelligence, and asylum policies. Brexit was made possible by the failure of the EU to cope with these challenges. And it may turn out to be the start of the disintegration of the EU.

These crises have allowed the rise of nationalist forces in populist clothes in many European countries. The same dynamics which in the 1930s brought authoritarian regimes to power in many parts of Europe, are at work today. Liberal democracy and European civilization are at great risk. The EU is the main enemy of the nationalist populists, because it is the guarantor of liberal democracy, the architrave of our civilization, the main instrument to try to address the main problems – and nationalists can win only through riding fear, and the failure of current governments and the EU to provide effective solutions.

It is time to act for all

  • European institutions must act. They are trying to push the process forward. The past 2 years the Commission provided flexibility, the Juncker Investment Plan, re-launched the debate on the completion of the EMU, a new foreign policy strategy, used to push forward the need for defence integration. The European Parliament is set to approve the Bresso-Brok, the Verhofstadt, and the Beres-Boge Reports, with proposals for further integration within the Treaties, with suggestions for Treaty change, and with the idea of an additional Eurozone budget. They shall push even more, exploiting all their powers in this regards, including drafting and tabling a comprehensive Treaty reform.
  • National governments must act. But so far they have specialized in kicking the can down the road, always postponing crucial and forward-looking decisions, and unable to raise to the challenges of the time.
  • European civil society and citizens must act. In Rome there will be a number of institutional events celebrating Europe: they look a bit like the orchestra playing during the Titanic’s sinking. But there will also be a civil society political event to challenge the EU to change, to renew itself, to further its integration, to finally create the political union, the “European federation”, that was the final goal indicated in the Schuman Declaration of the 9th of May 1950, which Europe’s Day celebrates.

Join us in Rome and take a stand!

In the evening of Friday March 24th there will be a torchlight march, and in the morning of Saturday 25th a European Convention and a march for Europe ( #MarchForEurope2017 ). These are the occasions for the civil society and the citizens of Europe to finally mobilize themselves to save their Union and to push the European political leadership to finally take the necessary decisions.

If you believe it is time for Europe to act, you yourself should be the first to do it. Come to Rome and help us to make a difference!

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