Archivo de la categoría: Federalismo Europeo

Towards a real European Federal Union: some handicaps

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“Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity.” This could be one of the most relevant core ideas of the European construction. Pronounced by Robert Schuman, 1st President of the European Parliamentary Assembly and considered one of the Founding Fathers, we should take into consideration the reach of this sentence.

Nowadays, the European project has been generally reduced to numbers, data, budget and technical aspects, which are necessary but not represent the purpose of the Europeanism initiated with the said Schuman’s Declaration. In fact, it started as an European Community for cooperating and promoting cooperation at the coal and steel industry and trade sectors. Peace and development thought Economy and Welfare, a good value that has been forgotten by the heads of the European institutions.

21st Century target for EU: a stronger Europe in a Federal Union. We have achieved several improvements: multilingualism, a real Parliament whose deputies are elected democratically, common policies, a quasi-common currency, educational and researching initiatives or social and agrifood investments, among others. But, the key is about the basement of the Union, the roots of this project. There are some essential elements that have been rejected, forgotten or omitted and these aspects are indispensable for a real European Federal Union. Here I comment some of them:

A powerful Parliament. The European Parliament was democratically elected for the very first time in 1979. After that, every five years the Europeans citizens are called to the ballot polls for electing our representatives. It is true that there is not a common circumscription or election system at the EU level, but it is the unique supranational elected assembly and the biggest one in the world. However, our common Parliament is weak in many aspects, it needs more powers for the guarantee of our interests at the EU, because this is the only EU organ elected directly by people. Powers for presenting veto in case the Council of the Commission could propose initiatives against the common interest.

A real Senate. The European Council is a really super powerful senate, met four times per year for debating and establishing the guidelines of the EU, it is the great power of the EU. Because of this organ, we can say that the national governments properly rule the EU policy. They say what will be do and will not be. If we want a Federal Union, this organ could exist or not but just for representing the territories or Members States integrated in the Federation, not for the assumption of the Executive and Legislative functions. This mixed organ shares spectrum with the Commission and Parliament, in conclusion is a privileged organ, conservative and opposed to lose national power.

A unique Foreign Policy. Yes, the EU disposes of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), headed by “Lady Ashton” and previously by Mr. Solana. During the 90′s the CFSP was an excellent way for European diplomacy but we need more. Mrs. Ashton has failed, she is not a leader and is not capable of coordinating the 27 Foreign national departments. Europe needs a single voice for South America, for Middle East, for Israel, China and the USA, for the South-East Asia and for Russia. We need a common and block action, which should be more powerful than the current one. Maybe Mrs. Ashton is not a good European diplomat, maybe there are many different interest that cannot be represent, but if we have a Common Market, why not a Foreign policy?

A common Army. We tried to have it: Western European Union. It was an international organization tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels (1954), an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels. In 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon took over the WEU’s mutual defence clause. There was much discussion about what to do with the WEU following the introduction of Lisbon. On 30 June 2011 the WEU officially ceased to exist and finally the NATO breathed deeply. No possibility of European common or coordinated army assures USA interests. To sum up, the EU cannot defends its owned interests and objectives.

An effective economic union. There are some phases or steps in any kind of economic integration. The degree of this phases can be categorized into seven stages: Preferential trading area and Free trade area (ex. ECSC); Customs union and Common market (ex. EEC); Monetary union and Economic union (ex. EU?) and Fiscal, Political and complete economic integration (ex. towards an European Federal Union). We have a quasi monetary union (the Euro is the official currency of 20 European countries) but is not official for every State in the Union. How is it possible a currency without a common economy? without a real European Central Bank? If the ECB cannot intervene, control and regulate this currency and there is no economic governance at EU level (always over controlled by the Big Ones : Germany or UK, for example) what are we playing at? If we aspires to a Federal Union we need a strong and powerful ECB that does not serve to national governments but European Union. After that, we could continue the European construction at the political and fiscal level.

An European Education, Social Policy and Civil Rights. We are European citizens, we trust on Human Rights and Res publica values, Democracy, Liberty, Equality and Pluralism. But, if we have advanced at economic and trade levels, we should do the same with the social one. There is no any European common subject at schools, we can say the unique educational experience is reduced to exchanges programs (Comenius, Eramus, Da Vinci…). It is not just the experience but the knowledge and study of our Union. On the other hand, we need the same rights and civil chances: gender equality, LGTB rights, disability and universal accessibility, and many social not well considered at the European Councils. If we want a common conscience as European citizens we need a progressive and integrative common Education, Social values (no nationalities, just Europeanism) and Civil Rights as the real guarantees for free Women and Men in Europe.

An European President. In case we consider the European Commission President as the de facto EU President (yes, we can Van Rompuy too), he or she should be elected democratically or as an eligible candidate at the European Parliament, previously the Elections. We should know the candidates of each European party of parlamentary group. He or she will be the Head of the Union and must have a wider legitimacy for that. This is a controversial question that can be debated at the European Parliament chapter.

But, it was advertised byt our great Robert Schuman on 9th May 1950: not all at once, but through concrete achievements and a de facto solidarity. We must follow this way, we must continue together for a better and federal European Union.

José María Castellano-Martínez es vocal de la Gestora de JEF-Andalucía

Artículo publicado en Dadefinspeaking

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Tras la crisis económica, la oportunidad para ser más Europa

En tiempos de crisis todo es objeto de cuestionamiento, crítica o reflexión. La Unión Europea, en tanto que concepto, proyecto e institución, no iba a ser menos. El refortalecimiento del anquilosado eje franco-alemán (más germano que francés), la crisis social y económica que ha asolado el mundo occidental, por ende Europa -con más saña a Grecia, Irlanda y Portugal; algo más lejos, a España e Italia-, además de debates polémicos como la modificación del acuerdo de Schengen o la falta de cohesión de la Eurozona han puesto de manifiesto que los Veintisiete se encuentran a las puertas de una nueva etapa para eso que venimos llamando la «construcción europea».

En estos momentos, son muchos los que se suman al oportunismo del euroescepticismo por la conveniencia circunstancial -ya sabemos que es preferible vender lo malo a lo bueno-. Es ahora, cuando los que siempre hemos creído en el proyecto europeo, que tenemos que hacernos escuchar y comprender. No sólo vale el que nos oigan y lean: tenemos que hacernos más visibles. Llego a la conclusión de que nos encontramos ante la primera gran oportunidad del siglo XXI. Esta crisis social y económica ha evidenciado las deficiencias y las debilidades de nuestra UE. Sin ella difícilmente se habrían tratado asuntos como la posibilidad de crear una unión fiscal y económica -que no sólo monetaria- o la necesidad de una mayor política que haga frente a la gobernanza intergubernamental de 27 Estados miembros, entre otros. En este sentido, no podemos dejar de contemplar el eco social e informativo que en este tiempo ha causado la situación, del que se deduce que en realidad, el problema en la sociedad europea no reside en que se sienta «menos europea» o más «antiUE», sino que sigue sin entenderse qué quiere y a qué aspira la Unión, ya que que los jefes de Estado/gobierno de los Veintisiete han hecho de la Unión Europea un medio, olvidando que ante todo es un fin «comunitario».

Hace más de cincuenta años, el ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Francia, Robert Schuman, promulgó como si de una premonición se tratase: L’Europe ne se fera pas d’un coup, ni dans une construction d’ensemble : elle se fera par des réalisations concrètes créant d’abord des solidarités de fait. A veces olvidamos las deliberaciones de los padres fundadores y en ello encontramos la explicación a esta realidad. Esta crisis multidisciplinar no es otra cosa que la oportunidad para seguir construyendo una Europa coronada de estrellas, es el siguiente paso, el momento de una mayor unión en la Unión ¿acaso hemos dejado de estar unidos en la diversidad?

Queda demostrado que la competencia fiscal y económica no puede ser propia de la cuestionable «soberanía» nacional cuando ésta puede comprometer a otras veintiséis. No nos engañemos, no se trata de egoísmo soberanista, sino de lógica económica y política, pues la economía no entiende de fronteras, sino de productores y consumidores, sólo un verdadero bloque político y económico haría posible que esta situación fuera sólo un «mareo común» momentáneo y no varias «lipotimias simultáneas».

Son varios los asuntos que podríamos tratar aunque todo podría resumirse en pocas palabras: más Europa y menos nacionalismo. Bruselas, corazón institucional de la Unión Europea, debe retomar el brío y el brillo otorgado antaño, erigirse como faro de luz que enfoque directamente a los Veintisiete, por igual, con la misma fuerza e intensidad, para deslumbrar a aquellos que consideran que su interés nacional está por delante del interés comunitario, el común, el europeo. Bonita metáfora la de Europa, pues, del carbón y del acero -mineral y metal- hemos pasado a los derechos, deberes y garantías, a la moneda, y ahora debemos hacerlo con la fiscalidad, la economía y la política. Nosotros, los europeos, queremos.

(Publicado el 3 de agosto de 2011 en Los Euros)

José María Castellano-Martínez es Vicepresidente de la Junta Directiva de JEF-Andalucía

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