The European Union has been “at a critical junction” time and again since its inception. Calls for a renewed commitment to the European project have taken almost a life of their own. Back in 2014, after the Parliament had managed to elect him at the helm of the European Commission by establishing no less than a constitutional precedent, President Juncker declared his would be “the Commission of the last chance”: if it did not deliver, citizens would lose their trust in the EU. After the dismal outcome of the Brexit referendum, EU leaders convened in Bratislava to agree on a supposedly ambitious roadmap “to make a success of the EU with 27 Member States”. Three years on – Leaders’ summit after Leaders’ summit – Brexit still hasn’t happened (thankfully!) and resources, time and energy have been wasted on European Heads of State and Government unable to unite around anything more than generic commitments to the EU.
That there would even be a need to reaffirm European unity is proof that the time of national leaders is far gone. We need European solutions urgently, not least to stop more far-right and illiberal forces from rising to power. The alarms bells have been ringing for years now, but these leaders are too comfortable sitting in their own echo chamber to hear them.
EU national leaders have failed us. European integration by intergovernmental cooperation has the EU stuck in a status quo that could well be its downfall. But the history of the European Union is not only one of disappointing meetings of European leaders. The history of Europe is also one of citizens gathering, demonstrating and protesting; citizens calling on elected leaders for more decisive steps towards the political unity of the European people.
In 1975, thousands gathered for a demonstration in Rome calling for the direct elections of the European Parliament, which then took place in 1979. On the occasion of the first ever plenary sitting of the directly elected European Parliament, on 17 July 1979, thousands of young people demonstrated in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg to ask for a European government, a European currency, and a European budget. On 25 March 2017, while EU national leaders where gathered to celebrate the 60thanniversary of the EU Treaties, thousands took the streets in Rome to call for further European integration – for a European Federation!
Today, simply celebrating the EU and its achievements is not enough anymore. Our continent is in dire need of common solutions underpinned by genuine European democracy. This July 1-2 in Strasbourg, at the opening plenary session of the European Parliament, we will again call on our elected representatives to choose Europe, wholeheartedly and without reservations. This July, we must take up the challenge of creating a genuine, European democracy – or risk having no democracy at all.
The programme of the Citizens’ gathering for the new European Parliament in Strasbourg includes :
Monday 1st of July
- 14:00 – 18:00: We are Europe – Citizens’ Agora: at the European Youth Centre, debates and workshops on civil society expectations from the new European Parliament for European relaunch
- 19:00 – 21:00: « A new Parliament for new Europe »: Meet new MEPs – at the Strasbourg city-hall, activists from civil society organisations and Strasbourg citizens discuss with the most federalist-minded of the newly elected MEPs on citizens priorities for the new term of the European Parliament. Followed by a reception.
Tuesday 2nd of July
- 08:00 – 10:00: Rally in front of the European Parliament: Citizens gathering for the new European Parliament
Please find full programme here.
The event is open to civil society activists officially residents in an EU member state, an EU-candidate country, a country being part of the European Economic Area.
If you would like to organise a bus or group travel from your country, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can provide some financial support and make available accommodation at favorable rates. As availability is limited, we will support groups on a first-come first-served basis, so please contact us as soon as possible.
For individual participants who attend all three events, we can offer accommodation at a discounted rate: 25€ fee for one night(between Monday and Tuesday) or 60€ for two nights (from Sunday to Tuesday).
Accommodation is in double rooms or in triple rooms, with other participants. The fee gives access to the three events, including coffee breaks and the reception on Monday evening.
Transport from Brussels and Luxembourg will be provided with a bus. More information here.
As availability is limited, you should register as soon as possible. Participants are accepted on a first-come first-served basis. No travel reimbursement is available.
The fee must be transferred in advance – see bank details here:
Union of European Federalists
BNP Paribas Fortis
Agence Quartier Léopold
Place du Luxembourg 14B – 1050 Ixelles
IBAN: BE69 2100 3760 9578
SWIFT CODE: GEBABEBB
« Join the opening of the new EP »: *First Name* *Last Name* »
Monday 1st of July:
« A New Parliament for new Europe » 19:00 – 21:00 at Strasbourg City Hall, 1 Parc de l’Etoile, 67076 Strasbourg
Tuesday 2nd of July:
Rally in front of the European Parliament
The registration for the event is compulsory by 20th of June but please register as soon as possible by filling the registration form. Those travelling from Brussels and Luxembourg who wish to take the organised bus can fill in this registration form.