Joint press statement | The new German government has a clear message: Time for a European Federation!

Brussels, 30.11.2021

Key points:

  • The German government spells it out clearly: the Conference on the Future of Europe will be the occasion to finally reform the European Treaties.
  • JEF Europe and JEF Germany strongly welcome the commitment of the new German ruling coalition to developing a European federal state.
  • The Conference needs a stronger backing from Berlin and other national governments to ensure citizens are aware of it and their expectations are met.
  • The goal set by the German government is high. Now it’s up to the other governments to implement the reforms the European Union needs.

There is a new hope for the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), but also for the European Union: The German government of the SPD, Greens, and FDP has presented within its coalition agreement an ambitious plan to create a stronger and more democratic Europe. Using CoFoE as a stepping-stone to a Constitutional Convention, the coalition openly declares the creation of a “European Federal State” as the ultimate goal of the European integration process. 

“For the first time ever, the German government is saying explicitly that it wants to achieve a European Federation. There is a momentum building and now the question is if other national governments can follow it”, comments Antonio Argenziano, JEF Europe’s President. 

A meaningful Conference followed by a Convention to draft a European Federal Constitution has been one of the main political demands of JEF. Downgraded in scale and ambition by national governments, CoFoE needs a strong backing from Berlin to ensure that the expectations of European citizens articulated in the process are met. The Conference is a key opportunity for the EU to finally rise to the contemporary challenges and serve Europeans better. 

Apart from the clear goal of a federal European state, the traffic light coalition also proposes more intermediate political objectives reflected in JEF’s CoFoE proposals, including strengthening the European Parliament and granting it the right of legislative initiative, unifying the EU electoral law, introducing EU-wide transnational lists, and respecting the Spitzenkandidaten system. The Socialist-Green-Liberal coalition also underlines the need to invest in the EU’s social pillar and announces its will to strengthen EU Foreign Policy, e.g. by transforming the High Representative into a “real European Foreign Minister” and abolishing the principle of unanimity in EU decision-making in this area. Finally, it promises to defend the EU’s fundamental values with a greater resolve and lead the efforts to reform the EU’s asylum policy. 

“As federalists, we very much appreciate the clear pro-European message Germany is sending out by proposing these long overdue reforms. However, it is now time to move from words to action and to put the coalition agreement into practice”, says JEF Germany’s President Clara Föller. 

Indeed, many challenges for the new German government remain. At the European level, it will have to look for like-minded allies among other governments, many of them facing upcoming electoral battles with far-right Eurosceptics. While bringing all the European partners on board has been proven difficult in the past, the German government is now – if necessary – ready to move forward with the willing countries, as laid down in the coalition agreement, thereby opening the door to following a multi-speed model in reforming the EU. 

In doing so, Germany has changed its role, as it seems to take a stronger stance against Member States that just want to stop reforms and keep everyone stuck in the status quo.  Two days after announcing the German coalition deal, France and Italy signed a cooperation agreement with a view of strengthening Europe’s sovereignty. Paris also warmly welcomed the German coalition’s declaration, which raises hopes for a broader momentum to work for its implementation.

A new chapter has started and as federalists, we are excited to see whether the upcoming years will bring the change Europe urgently needs. From the Conference on the Future of Europe to a Constitutional Convention, from treaty changes to real reforms: JEF will be always there in Germany and all over Europe, making sure the EU seizes political opportunities for reform towards a European Federation we have been demanding for decades. Germany has sent a strong signal to Europe, now it’s time for other European leaders to shake off their illusions of grandeur and embrace the truth: we either unite or perish!

About JEF Europe
The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) is a political youth NGO advocating for the creation of a democratic European federation as a guarantee for peace, the rule of law and human rights. JEF Europe promotes true European citizenship, works for the widening and deepening of the European Union and strives for a more just and integrated society on the European continent. Established in 1972, the organisation has more than 10,000 activists organised in over 250 national, regional and local sections in 31 countries. The ideals and aims of JEF Europe are defined in the Manifesto of Ventotene, the Political Platform and resolutions adopted by its statutory bodies.

About JEF Germany
The Young European Federalists Germany (JEF Germany) is a non-partisan political youth association that has been advocating for a democratic, citizen-oriented, federal and peaceful Europe for 70 years. We see ourselves as advocates of the European idea and promote the spread of European awareness in society – especially among young people aged 14-35. Founded in 1949, JEF Germany comprises around 4,000 members in regional sections in every German Federal State and almost 100 local sections across Germany. The Manifesto of Ventotene, the Hertensteiner Program of Sept. 21, 1946 and the Political Program as well as a broad number of resolutions adopted by its statutory bodies constitute the basis of its political work.


Our positions on the state of European integration


Contact information
Antonio Argenziano, President
Young European Federalists
JEF Europe
Rue d’Arlon 53, 1040 Brussels

Clara Föller, President
Junge Europäische Föderalisten
JEF Deutschland e.V
Sophienstraße 28/29, D-10178 Berlin