Welcome to UEF INSIDER, UEF’s internal newsletter!
Learn more about the network’s latest news and activities related to building a federal Europe!
Dear federalist friends,
Last week, EU Member States gave their political agreement for a package of sanctions against Russia, after Putin’s decision to recognise the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and send troops to these areas. This decision violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is not respecting its international obligations, and it is violating core principles of international law.
UEF welcomes the EU’s package of sanctions. We stand with Ukraine and its citizens and reaffirm unequivocal support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Ukraine is a free and sovereign country and the EU must continue to stand by its side.
This is not only an attack on Ukraine, but also on the security of Europe, the international order, peace and democracy. Therefore, we must act on a triple track:
- Firstly, firmness towards Russia, full economic response must be declared. The new package of sanctions already under discussion should be massive and unprecedented. If the EU pursues and increases the sanctions, a compensation mechanism must be created in favour of the affected EU firms;
- Secondly, solidarity with Ukraine, we must provide political, financial and material support;
- Thirdly, unity in Europe, we must continue to show solidarity. This has been the case since the beginning of the crisis, within and between all European institutions. We must step up our fight against disinformation in all our Member States. And work even harder to build a sovereign and powerful Europe in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) with military and energetic autonomy, a federal EU whose foreign policy was not subject to individual veto threats.
It is really impressive to see how you, dear federalists friends, have expressed your solidarity in so many ways and with the various actions – from press releases, manifestations to video-statements, etc.. I take this opportunity to thank you for all your initiatives so far and propose to coordinate our actions and to launch a Europe-wide action to achieve an even greater effectiveness and visibility.
Let’s deliver together, with one European voice.
2. UEF NEWS
2.1 Federalist proposals achieve a good resonance on CoFoE’s multilingual digital platform
The CoFoE has entered its hot political phase. Being present in a structured and effective way, as well as being recognisable on its Platform with federalists proposals, became a necessary condition both for conveying its political message and for enhancing meetings on the ground at all levels.
During this past year, there has been an enormous growth in the support and visibility of federalist ideas, especially those aimed at strengthening European Democracy. The federalists have been integral to the important advances they have made, particularly promoting a stronger pan-European democracy — real European political parties and movements and proper campaigns for European elections, based on the creation of a pan-European constituency and transnational electoral lists headed by the candidates for President of the European Commission. Moreover, the federalists have also called for the need for a political and fiscal Union that can tackle the great transnational challenges of our time, acting decisively on a wide range of policy areas, from climate change, growing social inequalities, health and migration to foreign affairs and defense.
“Our collective efforts together with JEF and the Spinelli Group, yielded a great outcome for the federalist ideas in the Platform”, wrote the President of UEF in his letter to the Sections. “This was only possible through your commitment of time and effort, which was especially notable during this final rush campaigning together for a more sovereign, democratic and federal Europe.”
Read here the Letter by UEF President Sandro GOZI to the Sections
2.2 UEF in the 3rd Plenary in January 2022
The Union of European Federalists (UEF) was represented in the Plenary of the CoFoE with its President and MEP Sandro GOZI, its Vice-President and MEP Domènec RUIZ DEVESA and its UEF Secretary General Anna ECHTERHOFF as part of the EMI Delegation to the CoFoE.
In the European Democracy Working Group (WG) organised in the framework of the 3rd Plenary in late January, Sandro GOZI and Domènec RUIZ DEVESA emphasised the fact that citizens are reopening the debate for a future European Constitution. Citizens requested to build a stronger link between them and the European democracy, and the federalist MEPs explained to them different ways to achieve that goal – by electing directly the president of the European Commission, voting for transnational lists with European parties, giving full powers to the European Parliament and with annual citizens assemblies.
The UEF had been asked by the Chair of the WG, Manfred WEBER (MEP, Chair of EPP Group), to introduce the discussion of the agenda item “Citizens’ participation and youth” with a report. The top priority of the recommendations for reform would need to be the strengthening of European democracy. To achieve this objective, a real step towards a political union is needed. “This will require treaty change, which is already supported by some member states. And in line with the citizens’ recommendations No. 35 agreed in Florence, we should aim at a European Constitution, necessary to adopt some of the reform proposals discussed in our Conference. It is also the chance to simplify the EU’s institutional structure – a request expressed by many citizens. And a new constitutional process is a chance to engage more citizens in European politics”, said the UEF Secretary General, Anna ECHTERHOFF in the WG. She also stressed the importance of giving the European Parliament more powers in shaping EU policy (foreign policy, budget, taxation, …) and overcoming the frequent blockade in the Council.
In the Spinelli Group Caucus meeting, MEPs launched a new push for an EU Constitution, arguing that EU leaders should heed the recommendations of the first citizens’ panel in the Conference on the Future of Europe. “We want a stronger Europe, more democratic, more reflective of daily needs of people, more ready to act and this requires changes to the current treaties,” says their declaration. The MEPs argue that following the French presidential election, there will be “a window of opportunity” for such ambitious reforms.
During the Conference Plenary, our representatives had the opportunity to discuss with the citizens’ on their proposals:
The main goal of this conference is to give voice to European democracy and experience it more directly, explained UEF President and MEP Sandro GOZI. In his speech, encouraged his colleagues to build a real European political public space, directly voting for European political parties. Citizens would like to elect at least half of the members of the European Parliament through transnational lists, and we must follow up on their petition, added him in regards with the citizens recommendation.
“We should ensure politics serve citizens, this is the greatest contribution we can make for a better Europe. A follow up on their demands is the best way to pay homage to a great European and a friend, David Sassoli.”, concluded Sandro GOZI during the Plenary.
“Citizens are asking for transnational political parties with representatives from different member states. In the EP we are working on reforming the European electoral law, guaranteeing geographical and population balance when drawing up the lists.”, mentioned Domènec RUIZ DEVESA.
On 18 February an additional online meeting of the European Democracy WG took place. The debate focused on how to improve the executive power and the subsidiary mechanism of the EU.
During the meeting our Vice-President Domènec RUIZ DEVESA, updated the members of the WG on the status of the electoral law proposal in the AFCO Committee of the European Parliament, trying to find a balance between the different parties’ suggestions. On rule of law, he also strengthened the importance of getting rid of the veto vote in the Council, as it can be used as a tool to hijack dossiers. RUIZ DEVESA explained that treaty changes might be needed to satisfy these demands, but our priority should be focusing on defining the content of the reforms, reaching agreements and following the subsidiarity principle.
UEF President Sandro GOZI, invited members to explore all the possibilities that the treaties currently give, and consider its limitations to change it especially when it comes to the veto vote in the Council, to decide on taxation, or to go beyond the conditionality mechanism on rule of law, and use the budget in a larger way to sanction law violations by Member States.
UEF Secretary General Anna ECHTERHOFF, referred to the meaning of the principle of subsidiarity in a broader not so technical sense as it had been discussed in the group so far. The principle of subsidiarity states that a task of the State should be carried out as far as possible by the lower level. This means: the local level. If a task can not be carried out there, it is brought to the next higher level. If one applies this principle as a template to all policy areas and issues, one comes to the conclusion that not everything can be answered at local, regional or member state level. We will see as a result that the European level is the right level for many policy fields we discuss today. The question that then arises is how the EU institutions need to be equipped so that they can offer solutions and implement their task in these policy fields. Closely linked to this is the question of sovereignty.
2.3 Civil Society Days 2022 – UEF organises the Workshop “A green social market economy for the Future of Europe”: Registration to the online event open!
This year, UEF organises together with Social Economy Europe (SEE) and in cooperation with the EESC section for Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO) and the Consultative Committee on Industrial Change (CCMI) the workshop nº6 “A green social market economy for the Future of Europe” of the Civil Society Days. We are delighted to announce that Dubravka SUICA, European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, will join together with our President, MEP Sandro GOZI and Vice-President, MEP Markus Ferber, our event among many other high-level speakers. The Chair of PC4, Luca Lionello will be the moderator of the Workshop.
2.4 Make Europe Bloom: The Time is Now! – Survey Greece
As you already know, the MAKE EUROPE BLOOM: the Time is Now! project is contributing to raising awareness on the CoFoE and setting up the new European Bauhaus by mirroring citizens’ feelings on Europe through art. In order to meet our innovative approach, we count on renown urban artist Antonyo Marest. With your contributions we will be painting murals in different cities across Europe.
In our next stop in Piraeus, Greece, we will be painting a mural based on the idea of “Climate change and the environment”, one of the topics of the CoFoE.
We would like to ask you to answer this survey so that we can paint the future Europe together! #MakeEuropeBloom
Last month, EP President David SASSOLI passed away at age 65.
Born in Florence on 30 May 1956, SASSOLI studied political science before starting work as a newspaper and news agency journalist.
“UEF is deeply saddened by the terrible loss of a great European and an outstanding President of the European Parliament. He has been a member of the Movimiento Federalista Europeo in Rome, since Mr. SASSOLI was a convinced federalist, a champion of European democracy, values and integration. We commend his efforts to build a strong house of European democracy, and express our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. Riposa in pace.”, said UEF President and MEP Sandro GOZI.
3. PRESS RELEASES, ARTICLES AND EVENTS
2021 has been a year of transition and 2022 will be “a turning point” for Europe. The winds of change blowing from some member states are bringing the EU into a new era.
Germany has just turned the page on Angela MERKEL’s 16 years of leadership, France is bracing itself for an uncertain presidential election in the spring, and in Italy DRAGHI will continue as prime minister. MERKELl’s departure leaves a vacuum that MACRON, SCHOLZ and DRAGHI are trying to fill.
The stars are aligning for real EU reform, we believe that decisive steps will be taken in the federal logic as we understand that there is an agreement between the main political forces, especially between the virtuous triangle that would leave behind years of paralysis and hesitation.
In 1941, while imprisoned on Ventotene island just off the coast of Italy, the intellectuals Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni penned ‘For a Free and United Europe’, a founding text urging for the creation of a united Europe built on federalist principles. This document, also known as the Ventotene Manifesto, was distributed among the European resistance thanks to Ursula Hirschmann, a German anti-fascist activist who managed to smuggle it from the island. In January 1944, a mimeographed clandestine edition of the Manifesto appeared in Rome.
UEF President Sandro GOZI: “We must get inspired and revive the spirit of the Ventotene Manifesto to push for a new European democratic transformation.”
EU Member States gave their political agreement for a new package of sanctions against Russia, after Putin’s decision to recognise the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and sending troops to these areas. This decision violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is not respecting its international obligations, and it is violating core principles of international law. With this press release UEF welcomed the EU’s package of sanctions and supported Ukraine.
UEF condemned in the strongest possible terms the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, a free and sovereign country in the heart of Europe. This is not only an attack on Ukraine, but also on the security of Europe, the international order, peace and democracy.
3.5 The Spinelli Draft Treaty (14 February 1984 – 2022)
On 14 February, UEF, the Spinelli Group, JEF Europe and Movimento Europeo Italia organised an event to commemorate the Spinelli Draft Treaty’s approval by the European Parliament in 1984. We counted with current MEPs and renowned witnesses to explain the key features of the so-called Spinelli Project and how it can still inspire the future of Europe today.
4. UEF BACKSTAGE
4.1 New team member: Ilaria Caria joins the team
We are delighted to inform you that Ilaria Caria joined the Secretariat on 1 February 2021 as the new Policy and Administration Officer. She graduated in Law at the University of Cagliari and in International Law and Global Justice at the University of Sheffield. Her fields of interest are European external relations law, democracy and political rights. She is an active member of the Movimento Federalista Europeo Federal Committee. Welcome Ilaria!
Would you like to debate with policy makers, learn about European politics or meet countless enthusiastic Europeans? The UEF is looking for a Policy Officer and a Communications Officer to join the Secretariat in Brussels! Apply until 11 March.