Artwork by Giulia Del Vecchio and Roberta Patella

We the European citizens, a summer to build our future

This summer is going to be crucial for our Europe! And that is why we will be active on three specific days during the next few weeks. Free to move, free to have a future, free to relaunch the utopia. Three moments, three steps until July 9 which will determine in what kind of Europe and society we will live tomorrow. 

There is no time to waste, there will be no summer recess: neither for federalists nor for decision-makers. Our future will not be a “one-shot”. 

  1. Sunday, June 14: Free to move – 35 years anniversary of the signature of the Schengen agreement, in a time in which most internal borders are or have recently been closed or where the mobility is compromised by controls and limitations;
  2. Friday, June 19: Free to have a future – Last day of plenary of the European Parliament (EP); European Council will meet to discuss the so-called ‘Next Generation EU’ plan for the first time, as well as the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021 – 2027. 
  3. Thursday, July 9: Free to relaunch the utopia – Anniversary of the “Crocodile Club foundation” and plenary of the EP. Later in (mid-)July: physical European Council on Next Generation EU and MFF. 

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Political Narrative

Free to move, free to have a future, free to relaunch the utopia. Three moments, three steps from now until July 9 which will determine in what kind of Europe and society we will live tomorrow. This seems like this is going to be a crucial summer for our Europe. And that is why we want to warmly invite you to get active on these three dates with easy-to-follow actions, on the streets, in your home and/or on social media, and join us, in a summer to build our future. :

  • June 14: 35 years of the Schengen agreement; 
  • June 19: last day of plenary of the European Parliament; European Council meets to discuss the Next Generation EU plan for the first time, as well as the MFF; 
  • July 9: anniversary of the Crocodile Club foundation and plenary of the European Parliament (and later in July a possible physical European Council meeting on Next Generation EU and the MFF 2021-2027).

Times of crisis

The Covid-19 crisis shows us how fragile we can be as societies and human beings. National governments all across Europe and the world are not equipped to face and cope with the transnational challenges impacting on our present and future. While the pandemic reveals the resilience of EU institutions that are supranational, it also exposes the profound need to relaunch the European integration process towards a genuine democratic political union. As federalists, we must exploit the Conference on the Future of Europe and transform it into (the beginning of) a constituent process. And we are not alone in this: many Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) repeated the same clearly also during the meeting of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs on 26 May. The Conference will not and cannot be a tokenistic moment. It needs to become the opportunity to change the Treaties and chart the way towards a European Constitution.

June 14: Schengen 35: The meaning of an anniversary

This year it is 35 years since the Schengen Agreement, which allowed for free movement, was signed. Nowadays, we cannot tell for sure what is allowed: Some borders will be reopened, some others will not. We have seen in recent weeks the repetition of a too often experienced worst case scenario: no coordination on the “temporary” closure of internal borders, violating basic rights of Europeans, particularly those of people living in cross-border regions, as well as disrupting businesses and a much needed economic recovery. We have learnt that the reasons behind the federalist campaigns protesting internal European borders going back to the 1950s in which our campaign “Don’t Touch My Schengen” is deeply rooted in, are sadly still valid. 

On this day, we want to remind as many Europeans as possible that – 35 years after signing the Agreement – it is crucial for those in power to embrace the spirit of Schengen and to think European. The virus does not know national borders. It is stopped by physical distancing between individuals, regardless where they reside or where they come from. Closing borders might feel like a safe decision, an act of determination when sitting in a capital city, but it in fact only shows that some have not understood how border regions have grown organically together when there is no border. Worse: it has revealed, and not for the first time, that a lack of coordination can cause severe damage to the European people.

Read our press release on the Schengen 35 anniversary.

June 19: Next generation: Our future will not be a “one-shot”

There are opportunities to initiate a new era. The proposal for an EU recovery plan – “Next Generation EU” – bears elements of true fiscal power handled at the European level. However, for it to be a truly “Hamiltonian moment”,  this embryo of common European debt needs to rest on EU fiscal revenue and full democratic accountability. The introduction of new own EU resources, along with the Parliament’s full power to MEPs decide on both the revenue and expenditure side of the EU budget, is all the more important in order to guarantee the sustainability of EU investments in our common future, to create a consistent, independent and autonomous EU budget, but – most importantly – for our voice as European citizens to matter. Our future will not be a “one-shot”, and whether physically or virtually, European leaders need to hear us when they meet on June 19 to discuss these issues. 

Read the Commission’s press release on their proposal

July 9: We are all crocodiles!

This year, on 9 July, is the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the so-called ‘Crocodile Club’. It consisted of early federalist MEPs working tirelessly towards a federal Europe, led by MEP Altiero Spinelli. This 9 July 2020 can be a decisive date for the future of Europe: recent months have shown a need for closer cooperation, as well as the importance of democratic control on that cooperation and have revealed how urgently the institutional structure needs to be revised in order for Europe to work in the European interest. A much promised Conference on the Future of Europe has not even been structured when it was originally scheduled to start May 9. Furthermore, European national leaders will meet for a second time to discuss the “Next Generation EU” recovery plan. There will be no time to waste, there will be no summer recess: not for federalists, not for decision-makers. We want decision-makers to take their responsibilities. We will be loud and visible, in support of MEPs, heads of governments and decision makers who took and will take a decisive stand for Europe. And we will clearly state what kind of future, society and Europe we want to live in. Our future will not be a “one-shot”. Time to relaunch the spirit of the Crocodile Club!