PRESS RELEASE: UEF celebrates its 75th anniversary

Brussels, 15 December 2021

UEF celebrates its 75th anniversary

UEF-President Sandro GOZI: “We must show the same courage and the same determination of our founders and push for a new European democratic transformation.”

These days, the Union of European Federalists (UEF) celebrates its 75th anniversary! It marks 75 years of bringing together generations of passionate European federalists who, since the end of World War II, have been campaigning for a united and federal Europe.

The organisation was founded in Paris on 15 and 16 December 1946 based on the conviction that peace for future generations could only be secured by the formation of a European federation. The driving idea “unity in diversity” was the basis on which European federalists thought the division of the European continent, that had caused the suffering and destruction of the two World Wars, could be overcome.

The European federalists are still convinced today that only a common effort made by citizens working towards this goal could and can create a peaceful and democratic Europe that guarantees freedom and human rights. At the Congress of Europe in The Hague in 1948, the federalists had an opportunity to reshape the Europe of their time. Back then, federalists fought to put over their vision on the future of Europe, and important federalist elements were also agreed – such as the decision to draw up a binding Charter of Fundamental Human Rights and to establish a supranational Human Rights Court.

The UEF became a leading voice in the European unification process and from the outset advocated for the strengthening of the European Communities, later the European Union. The main goals of the European federalists included the abolition of borders between European States, the introduction of a European currency, direct elections as well as the institutional strengthening of the European Parliament, the introduction of majority decisions in the Council of Ministers, the adoption of European fundamental and human rights and the reinforcement of European foreign and security policy. All these goals have been at least partially achieved in recent years.

On top of the ideas mentioned above, the realisation of a constitution that would lead to a European federal state is the European federalists’ key call. However, this has not been still achieved. The process of constitutionalising the European Union was essentially set in motion by Altiero Spinelli in 1984 with the so-called “Spinelli Treaty”. This led to a revision of the Treaties and served as a basis for the European Community and the Constitutional Treaty later on.

Today, the UEF’s work for a further deepening of the European Union and its transformation into a true European federation continues through the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE). The Conference provides all citizens, and especially the younger generations, with the unique opportunity to make their voice heard and to advocate for the Europe they want by shaping it with their ideas. As European federalists, we must be the leading voice calling for a united and federal Europe.

The CoFoE is particularly special for UEF. For the first time in its 75 years of existence, the UEF has taken a seat at the conference table and can directly feed the political decision- making process with its positions. UEF is part of the delegation of the European Movement International (EMI) in the organised civil society group. It is represented by its Secretary General Anna Echterhoff. With President and MEP Sandro GOZI and Vice-President and MEP Domènec RUIZ DEVESA in the group of MEPs, the UEF is represented with three voices in total.

“Federalism means respect of national and regional identities, promotion of political pluralism, efficiency of the public action, transnational politics and it is a multiplier of rights and opportunities for all. 75 years after, we must show the same courage and the same determination of our founders and push for a new European democratic transformation: we will never give up on this”, underlines President and MEP Sandro GOZI.

Thus, the UEF has the historic opportunity to lead the debate on the reform of the Union towards a democratic, federal entity that is close to citizens and can ensure the protection and promotion of our values. Recent developments show that a stronger pro-European sentiment is emerging in several Member States, which politically strengthens the work of the Conference itself. The UEF will continue to be the driving force for change by communicating its ideas and proposals and fueling the discussions with solutions to strengthen the European Union. For 75 years, UEF has put itself to the service of the European unification and it will continue to do so.

UEF 75th anniversary with UEF President Sandro Gozi

Anna Echterhoff
Secretary General