JEF Political Platform

As adopted by the XXIV European Congress in Malta

Read the pdf version

1 Introduction – It’s high time for a federal Europe

1.1. A free and united Europe, governed according to the principles of democracy and the rule of law, striving to ensure peace and prosperity, security and justice in Europe and in the world, has been the objective of European Federalists ever since their establishment.

1.2 European federalism was born out of the necessity to halt the scourge of was that plagued the continent over many centuries. The deciding event was the second world war, which caused the death of millions and made it necessary to ensure that armed conflict between European countries would be impossible. This fostered the idea of increased European integration and economic cooperation. Europeans decided that their conflicts should be solved by law, not by war. This ushered in decades of peaceful cooperation and economic prosperity on the European continent.

1.3 But the European Union as it exists now is neither perfect nor complete. It does not adequately respond to the challenges of European citizens: Protection of the environment, combatting climate change, ensuring economic prosperity, managing the problems associated with immigration and ensuring human rights for all. Furthermore, the institutions as they are, ensure cooperation and peace, but the citizens do not have enough power to influence decision making at the European level and national governments wield too much power on the European level. In essence, European decision making suffers from a democratic deficit.
It was a positive step that the directly elected parliament was created, but it still has too little power. Instead, the parliament should be able to elect a federal European
government. Furthermore, decision making in the European Council is controlled by single member state interests and intergovernmental bargaining. To resolve these shortcomings, the council should be replaced by a senate, wherein each member state has two representatives who are elected in accordance to a procedure determined by each member state.
The commissioners are little known by the people of Europe, as they are principally accountable to the member states. They should instead be elected by the governing
parties in the Federal European Parliament.
A federal structure is the only way to face Europe’s challenges and resolve the democratic deficit that the Union currently suffers from.
At a time when multiple crises are ravaging our societies and tearing apart European countries, a stronger integration towards an economic and monetary Union as well as a Union of security and defence is in sight but needs to be accompanied by deeper political union and democratic legitimization.
Without stronger integration, the achievements of the last 60 years will vanish, the Union will break apart and its member states and, most of all, citizens will not be safeguarded anymore by the unity and solidarity that the European Union provides.

1.4. In the face of these manifold challenges it is now, more than ever, up to the European Federalists to reach out to citizens, politicians and civil society, and campaign for our vision of federal Europe.

1.5. Through this Political Platform, JEF formulates its key convictions and messages that provide inspiration to move away from the current political constellation in Europe and enable progress towards a true Federation.

2 A Constitution for a federal Europe

2.1 Federalist principles

2.1.1. The goal of European Federalists is the creation of a democratic European Federation.

2.1.2. European Federalism aims at creating a democratic federal government provided with adequate competences limited by the principle of subsidiarity. Thus Federalism encourages mutual respect and cooperation among member states at a supranational level but rejects the idea of a centralized European super-state. European Federalism does not seek to replace distinct identities but aims to cultivate a vivid exchange of diverse mind-sets and cultures.

2.1.3. Being always independent from any political colour or party ideology but supporting the progression of the federalist idea within the maximum of political parties, European Federalists do have in common their desire for a ‘stronger Europe’ as opposed to a ‘weaker Europe’. They see Federalism as a strategy towards increasing political integration in various sectors of society, as a common tool for effective and democratic decision-making, as ever more transnational solidarity, coordination and harmonization and involving shifting competences towards a supranational level when necessary, as long as it respects the principle of subsidiary. They are convinced that cooperation at a higher level is in the enlightened self-interest of any federated unit because it avoids duplication of resources.

2.1.4. The federal process should be inclusive, transparent and accountable to citizens. European Federalism can be communicated as a message of European brotherhood that rest on the following five pillars: (1) democracy, participation, and transparency; (2) subsidiarity; (3) autonomy and division of competences; (4) peace, Rule of Law and Human Rights; (5) united in diversity.

(1) Democracy, and participation, and transparency

(1).1. Every law should result from the will of the people, expressed either through elected representatives or directly. All citizens and member states must have the right to participate in the decision-making process at the federal level.
In addition, democracy in the Union should be strengthened by, for instance, transnational lists for parliamentary elections, direct elections of European decision-makers and means of direct participation. A high level of transparency in the decision-making process, as well as in the functioning of the European institutions, should be ensured as a guardian of democracy and the Rule of Law. Transparency should help fostering direct participation of Citizens and public scrutiny in the European decision-making process.

(2) Subsidiarity

(2).1. The Federal level must have the authority to carry out satisfactorily the functions it has been assigned to. However, power should never be exercised at a level higher than necessary. According to the principle of subsidiarity, decisions always have to be taken as close as possible to the Citizen, so that the federal level should only act if and in so far as aims cannot sufficiently be achieved at the national, regional or local level.

(3)Autonomy and division of competences

(3).1. Federal laws have primacy and are directly applicable. The spheres of action of local, regional, national or European bodies should be clearly outlined. A clear division of competences between the different levels of decision-making can avoid the concentration of too much power at one level or with one body. The distribution of powers over different decision-making levels and accountability towards all the member states guarantees peace within the federation and this in turn leads to peaceful behaviour towards each other.

(3).2. The principle of the separation of powers, both horizontally (between the legislative, executive and judicial branches) and vertically (between the federated and federal levels), should strictly apply to guarantee sufficient checks and balances. Thereby it must be clearly visible, transparent and understandable for the European citizens which level has which competences.

(3).3. In addition to the functional division between legislative, executive and judicial powers, the European federation will be provided with a division of powers between the several levels of government which will be simultaneously independent and coordinated.
The distribution of the competences between all levels of sovereignty will follow the principle of subsidiarity.

(3).4. Thanks to a political framework that will assure both unity of the political community and the independence of its parts, the European federation will be able to bring together the advantages of small size, which enables individuals and organisations to participate directly in the process of forming political decisions, with the advantages of large size, which is needed for security and economic development. Especially the small units are important in order to include and not alienate the citizens and guarantee a open democratic process. The European federation will possess only the minimum number of competencies and powers necessary to guarantee the political and economic unity, while the other levels will possess full capacity for self-government in all other fields. In its own sphere no government level must be subordinate to the level above.

(4). Peace, the Rule of Law and Human Rights

(4).1. The aim of federalism is to ensure peace. Peace is not just the absence of war; it is the situation in which war is completely impossible as a mean to solve any conflict. The recognition and protection of Human Rights, as enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU and ECHR are vital for securing democracy, peace and justice. That’s why no opt-out from the Charter of Fundamental Rights is acceptable.

(4).2. Every person should be treated equally before the law. Legal duties and rights should be the same for all the European citizens and their states.

(4).3. The Rule of Law is contrary to the rule of the strongest and ensures fundamental rights of the citizens.

(4).4. These principles of Peace, Rule of Law and Human Rights need to be enshrined in a Federal Constitution.

(5). United in Diversity

(5).1. This motto conveys the idea that Europeans are united in working together for peace and prosperity, and that the many different cultures, traditions and languages in Europe are a positive asset for the continent. Europe can thus act as a global role model for intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, solidarity and mutual respect for each other.

(5).2. Federalism implies the idea of multi-layered identities, where citizens may identify themselves with the local, regional, national or European level. The different identities do not necessarily exclude but can supplement each other.

2.2 Federal institutions

2.2.1. The Federation’s constitutional balance of power will be reflected by the division of power between the federal institutions named thereafter. Legislative power will be exercised by the two chambers of the Federal European Parliament, 1) the Chamber of European Citizens representing the people of the federation proportionally to the number of voters in a transnational or trans-regional election procedure, and 2) the Senate representing the Member States. In order to pass, laws will need the support of the majority of both Chambers.

2.2.2. The current European Parliament will be transformed to represent the citizens of the federation in the first chamber, the Chamber of European Citizens, of the Federal European Parliament.
European parties will present their candidates and their political programme to the electorate before the elections for the Chamber of European Citizens. Members of the Chamber of European Citizens will be elected on Europe-wide lists. The Chamber of European Citizens enjoys full legislative powers, legislating on equal footing with the second chamber of the Federal European Parliament, the Senate.

2.2.3. The Council will be transformed into a purely legislative second chamber, named Senate, on equal footing with the Chamber of European Citizens, representing the interests of member states. In the legislative procedure, if the Chamber of European Citizens and the Senate do not reach an agreement, voting by simple majority in each chamber, then the Chamber of European Citizens should decide on the legislative proposal, voting by qualified majority. In order to pursue a better democratic accountability the members of this second chamber should be directly or indirectly elected by the citizens of every constituency as they think it might fit best.

2.2.4. The Commission will become the executive of the Federation, the European Government, accountable to the Federal European Parliament and entrusted with full executive powers. The Parliament will be entrusted with the power to express confidence in the executive and to withdraw it. The European Government will report to each parliamentary plenary session. The composition of the European Government will be determined through political competition according to the results of the Federal European Parliament elections.

2.2.5 The President of the European executive, the European Government, will be elected by the people on an EU-wide constituency, either indirectly, on the occasion of the Federal European Parliament election, with the European political parties making very clear during the campaign who will be their candidate for the Presidency or directly elected through a direct presidential election.

2.2.6. The European Council as well as its permanent presidency will be abolished with the ratification of the European Constitution.

2.2.7. Decisions of both chambers of the Federal European Parliament will be taken by simple majority in all matters except those on constitutional reforms, the relation between the federation and the other level of sovereignty and the direct intervention of the electorate through recourse to referendum and citizens’ initiative.

2.2.8. The Citizens, the Chamber of European Citizens, the Senate and the European Government should have the right to initiate legislation.

2.2.9. Without cross dialogue and cooperation between the bodies of the Federation democratic participation and transparency cannot be ensured.

2.3 European democracy and citizens

2.3.1. The establishment of a political union will only be sustainable if the European citizens realise their common European identity. As federalists, we strongly believe that a common identity cannot be imposed, but rather must be the outcome of grass roots support. European civil society has the energy to enthuse a new institutional order with a new idea of the common good, as it has shown over the centuries. What is needed in Europe, therefore, is a new European public opinion, which has its roots in decades of cooperation and a growing capacity to bring collective causes to the European level.

2.3.2. The European federation will nurture an inclusive concept of citizenship defined in the constitution. This citizenship should encompass the fundamental rights and freedoms granted equally to all citizens of the federation. The European federation will derive its legitimacy from a united will to form such a union and overcome conflict and socioeconomic inequalities and preserve the various identities in Europe. Such a union will reflect the values implicit to federalism: the rule of law, respect for human rights, democracy, subsidiarity and solidarity.

2.3.3. One of the ways to generate greater legitimacy for a European Federation is to develop the European political life and thus a Europe-wide constituency. This is why JEF believes the development of a real European political party system, true European elections and participatory tools are of essential importance.

2.3.4. A European political party system should go beyond simple grouping of national political families. Such political parties should follow ideological, social and political lines rather than territorial ones. This way, they will be crucial for the creation of a European public sphere. The introduction of real party democracy in Europe (including Europe-wide political programmes and candidates standing for election as representatives of politica parties) will make the European political life more open and inclusive, as well as it being scrutinized by greater transparency and public scrutiny. Such European political parties should run in European elections, presenting their visions and proposals on European issues and putting forward their candidates for the Presidency of the future European Government.

2.3.5. The goal should be to elect the members of the Chamber of European citizens on transnational list, as well as in constituencies. As a first step towards this goal, an additional EU-wide constituency from which some MEPs would be elected from transnational lists should be established. Each elector will thus have two votes – one for his/her normal constituency and a second one for the new transnational list. This reform would be a big step towards the perception of a real common European interest among voters.

2.3.6. In order to promote European citizenship and the citizen participation, every European should have the opportunity to engage in an experience in another European country. The EU should thus promote and further develop more inclusive exchange programmes, not only for students and pupils, but also older people, workers etc. Furthermore, a European Civilian Service should be created to make the European citizenship tangible, by complementing existing academic and professional exchanges, and in the framework of the Erasmus+ Programme, special attention should be paid to youth initiatives in order to provide active citizenship.

2.3.7. Special emphasis should be given to develop a European legal framework for associations. Thus, it should be made easier for citizens to register for a European association; the European government should be in charge of promoting these possibilities and handling the registration.

2.3.8. Furthermore a stronger involvement of the civil society needs to be established, as it is the closest link between the political decision-makers and the citizens. Instead of tokenistic consultations, systematic public consultation procedures should be integrated in the decision making procedures.

3 Federal policies

3.1 European resources

3.1.1. In order to guarantee that no governing level is subordinate to its superior level in the sphere of its own competences, it is necessary that each level of the European federation has sufficient resources available to carry out the functions assigned to it by the constitution. All government levels must therefore have the power to levy taxes individually in order to finance their own services and policies.

3.1.2. The constitution will define the ways and means by which fiscal activity among the various levels of the federation will be coordinated. The federal level should be financed from its own resources in order to avoid the member states interest to maximise the net return on their own contribution. That’s why the EU budget should be restructured in a federal sense by establishing new EU-owned financial resources and according to the following principles:

3.1.3. − Subsidiarity: the federation should only finance or tax what it can finance or tax more effectively than other levels of government.

3.1.4. – Democracy and Accountability: The Budget is proposed by the Government and needs to be approved as a law by the two chambers of the Federal Parliament.

3.1.5. − Solidarity: citizens should contribute according to their capability, and subsidies should be spent in a way that ensures that all citizens get equal opportunities and access in Europe, investing in a stronger harmonization within the union, instead of subsidies being linked to taxation pay in.

3.1.6. – Sustainability: Maintaining a balanced budget in the long term should be a pillar of the fiscal union in order to avoid creating burdensome debt for future generations. Therefore, the constitution shall contain a debt brake mechanism for federal spending. However, avoidance of debts should be understood in a broader sense, also taking into account other costs, e.g. environmental costs.

3.1.7. – Transparency: The Federal budget should be comprehensive, including all funds, transparently structured and contain clear provisions regarding the origins of all revenues and the assignment of all expenses.

3.2 Economy and currency

3.2.1. JEF believes the establishment of the European Federation would erase the persisting contradiction of a single currency without a government.

3.2.2. Only a true European executive is able to ensure coherent economic governance with the creation of a European Ministry of Economic and Financial affairs. Its minister, being part of the government, will be accountable to the Federal Parliament. With a European ministry, the European Federation will have a single voice in the IMF, WTO, World Bank and all the financial fora.

3.2.3. A common economic policy should lay on a larger European budget based on a federal budget raised through own fiscal revenues, such as a proposed European financial transaction tax for instance, and lead to a common economic plan for sustainable development and social welfare in Europe.

3.2.4. A common EU economic policy should include solidarity tools, such as Eurobonds for the mutualisation of debt to redistribute the effective cost of borrowing, helping weaker Member States to resume growth and reducing the risk of a liquidity crisis or an insurance fund covering bank deposits. The European federation should establish criteria to be followed by Member States in order to help decreasing their sovereign debts and make sure such rules are correctly implemented.

3.2.5. The European federation should also be entitled to issue debt securities tied to investment projects at European level and thus attract much needed foreign and domestic capital to match the investment it needs.

3.2.6. The common market needs to be completed. This includes – among other things – facilitating the free movement of people, creating the digital single market, completing the banking and capital markets union, harmonising national taxation to limit fiscal competition among member states and setting up common mechanisms to counter external economic shocks in the member states.

3.2.7. The economic strategy of the European Federation should rely both on big companies and on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This requires simplifying the legal environment of SME and reducing their administrative costs by offering them unified European regimes, be it on patents, on contract law or on the recognition of qualification. At the same time, the still ongoing integration of the European market needs to be accompanied with social and tax harmonization that ensures a level playing field in Europe.

3.2.8. The enforcement of fiscal policy and competitiveness policy should be set in theframework of binding EU law following the Community method, which implies a full delegation of the supervision and the enforcement of possible sanctions to the European Commission, submitted to the democratic control of the Federal European Parliament and the judicial control of the European Court of Justice.

3.2.9. Monetary policy should remain an exclusive competence of the Union, with a full independent European Central Bank responsible for the single currency. The remaining Member States should increase their efforts to join the Eurozone as soon as possible to overcome the different stages in the EU integration process.

3.3 Social policy

3.3.1. The reduction of social disparities between the EU Member States is vital for the development of a Europe, which is more socially fair and stable; it is of core essence to stabilize the European Union and foster European Citizenship. Economic and social aims need to be balanced both between the member states and also on the different levels of governance.

3.3.2. The EU is characterized by its rich variation of socio-historical backgrounds, economic activities and subsequently a variation of welfare state types. Specifically with regard to social security payments, there are strong differences among member states. European countries, however, face increasingly similar social welfare challenges on social security policies. The EU can thus bring added value in order to improve the well-being of European citizens by finding common solutions to these problems, while not preventing member states from providing more extensive social protection to their citizens. In line with the principle of subsidiarity, social policy should thus be subjected to the level of governance at which it is most effectively dealt with.

3.3.3. Nevertheless increased social security cooperation can provide real added value with regard to economies of scale, efficiency and allocation of resources. In this regard, the optimal protection of the well-being of European citizens is the main aim. Member states are to be supported by the EU institutions in their efforts to provide social protection, common minimal standards should be set at the EU-level to avoid social dumping, competition and European social convergence at the lowest common denominator. The European social policy should reflect common values and be based on democratic practices. Increased debate about the future of the European Social Model and social policy specifically, will advance the interest of citizens in EU-level politics.

3.3.4. Besides, the social-economic balance between the EU and other European countries should be seriously taken into account. An impact assessment on the way in which different types of EU welfare would affect the pan-European relations and the possible further enlargement process is advised.

3.4 Environment and energy

3.4.1. Europe needs to become the role model for the protection of the environment on a global level, by promoting clean energies, leading to a low carbon market and a reduction in greenhouse gases, and to unite behind a single negotiator during international conferences and promote a united approach towards climate change, overcoming single state interests and initiatives.

3.4.2. The EU should explore new initiatives to reach their goals determined in the Paris Agreement and aiming to commit more ambitious targets – not only on the level of the member states but also as the EU itself – towards the success of the global agreement. In the following years the EU should aim to be a frontrunner in the negotiation meetings around implementation plans of the Paris Agreement. The member states should aim for a more and more ambitious target as part of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in every five year term starting from 2018. The EU should aim at limiting the increase of temperature to 1,5 degrees.

3.4.3. The renewable sources need to constitute the core energy supply of Europe, a fact that will help it to reduce its fossil fuel dependence and the disadvantages of nuclear energy use.

3.4.4. Far from taking the subsidiarity principle for a synonym of passivity, the European Union should provide itself with a concrete common environment plan with measures on major cross-border environmental issues such as greenhouse-gas emissions nanoparticles, waste prevention and management, biodiversity and natural spaces, soil protection, or water protection. The common agricultural policy should ensure a sustainable food system become an ecological policy ensuring healthy food products, a minimal impact on the environment, and satisfactory economic conditions for farmers. The EU should also ensure that current environmental rules are applied, if necessary through more control and new enforcement rules. Conflicts of interest should finally be prevented in all regulatory bodies competent on environmental, food, and health matters; and actions are still needed to prevent harmful food additives or medicines from flooding the European markets.

3.4.5. Due to the importance of energy in our economy, the emergence of a single European energy policy is a necessity, therefore the EU also should introduce a renewable energy union among the Member States.

3.4.6. Major initiatives are still urgently needed in order to tackle climate change, such as improving the energy efficiency of products and buildings, transitioning the transportation and urban systems to a more sustainable system to evolving towards an environmental taxation, and even adapting cities, agriculture, and critical infrastructure to future climate hazards as well as encouraging the implementation of circular economy action plan.

3.4.7. The EU should prepare for the financial costs of climate change and to support the states’ capabilities towards adapting to climate change. Meanwhile, the EU should thrive for a progressive carbon and environmental taxation system to minimize the effects of climate change and to commit financial resources to implement the adaptation.

3.4.8. All policies must take climate change into account, not only research or energy policies, but also the economic, development, industrial and asylum policies. Indeed, climate change has social consequences through its impacts on human rights, immigration and integration. Moreover, since the predicted negative impact of the changing climate can turn areas uninhabitable, the EU should prepare for the increased flows of climate refugees from outside and inside the EU as well.

3.5 Foreign policy

3.5.1. A common European foreign policy and all external action must be based on the respect for universal human rights, promotion of peace and prosperity and combatting the advancement of climate change.

3.5.2. Taking into consideration the current and the visible challenges of the international community as well as the globalisation pressures, JEF firmly considers the establishment of a common Ministry of Foreign Affairs belonging to a Federal Government and accountable to the Federal Parliament.

3.5.3. This common stance in external affairs will ensure the security of the member states and at the same time will substantially help Europe in adapting into the constantly changing world balances. This will increase the political weight of Europe on a global level and result in its more active role in the international chessboard. In terms of international organisations and fora, Europe should be represented with one voice, expressing the economic and political interests of the federation.

3.5.4. The current office of the High Representative of the Union and the External Action Service need to be transformed into institutional entities of a European Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is part of a large operation to change the European Commission into the Government of the European Union.

3.5.5. Committees on foreign affairs should be created within the two chambers of the Federal Parliament to ensure maximum accountability and expertise on External policies.

3.5.6. The European Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs should develop independent intelligence services and a capacity to establish political strategies and priorities.

3.5.7. The European Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs should proceed with the development of strong and integrated crisis management and peace building and keeping structures that ensure effective civilian-military cooperation and establish a comprehensive EU approach.

3.5.8. In doing so, they should follow the principle of multilateralism and continue to support regional integration in other parts of the world in order to secure peace and stability.

3.5.9. Also, the EU should keep investing in development cooperation and continue in trying to coordinate the different national development policies. In this way, both coherence by the EU and experience (in specific development fields and countries) by the Member States are ensured.

3.5.10. The EU should be represented by a single permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

3.5.11. It should contribute to the democratic transition in the EU’s neighbourhood and support democratic forces fighting against all breaches of human rights.

3.5.12. In line with the common foreign policy JEF also proposes the establishment of a common defence system. That leads to the creation of European armed forces unifying national armies ready for intervention in case of a) threat or use of force against a state of the federation, b) peacekeeping, humanitarian and reconstruction assistance outside the federation. In case of tensions or conflicts, diplomatic negotiations and all preventative means must be attempted first, and the European armed forces should only be used as a last resort, after all peaceful resolution possibilities have failed and needs to be linked to are construction measure.

3.5.13. The European armed forces will also participate in the UN humanitarian forces, providing peacekeeping assistance and humanitarian aid whenever the Security Council of the UN decides. The European armed forces should be deployed only with the consent mandate of the Federal European Parliament.

3.6 Trade policy

3.6.1. Since the treaties of Rome, the common European trade policy has successfully established the EU as a global trading power.

3.6.2. The primary aim the common EU trade policy should strive for, is to further Europe’s commercial ties with other parts of the world and continue to increase the wealth and prosperity of all EU citizens.

3.6.3. Peace and stability are prerequisites for successful trade in order to create the foundations for its own commercial success and to expand its role as a normative power in world politics, the European Federation should further democracy, human rights, social and environmental standards through trade.

3.7 Education, research and innovation

3.7.1. Investment in education, research and development were central to the EU’s strategy to make Europe the most competitive and knowledge-based economy in the world and continue to be central in Europe’s current challenge. The EU must not withhold its R&D investments through the ‘Horizon 2020’ framework, and should keep striving to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world to enable sustainable economic growth.

3.7.2. The EU should improve exchange programs for secondary school pupils, trainees, students in both higher education and vocational training, researchers and teaching staff from all over Europe alike and avoid financial obstacles, the pay-out needs to be increased, especially for students from countries which do not offer any additional student funding for an exchange stay abroad.

3.7.3. In support of free movement of school pupils, in both higher education and vocational training as well as career entrants, the acknowledgment and mutual recognition of educational and professional qualifications needs to be strengthened.

3.7.4. There is also a stronger need to better include young people out of education in lifelong learning programs.

3.7.5. Education on every level should be accessible to all European citizens regardless of their socio-economic background.

3.7.6. Cultural diversity in Europe is very present in the language variety, therefore language competency and general inter-cultural communication skills need to be fostered through educational programmes. Studying at least two foreign European languages during school years should be strongly encouraged.

3.7.7. Furthermore, in order to raise awareness about the common “European” elements within different European cultures and promote inter-cultural understanding, an educational approach with a stronger focus on pan-European ties and heritage needs to be introduced in historical, civic and cultural education subjects. These are key elements regarding the emergence of a genuine public sphere.

3.7.8. Further national Research and Development programs should be merged in favour of a pooled European effort, to avoid costly duplication and lead to more comprehensive scientific knowledge.

3.8 Immigration and visa

3.8.1. The European Federation needs a Single Immigration Policy implemented by the Federal Government and responsible in front of the Federal European Parliament.

3.8.2. A Single Immigration Policy should be based on a comprehensive approach to the management of migratory flows to overcome imbalances between member states, especially in terms of asylum seekers, while respecting all relevant international Human Rights clauses pertaining to immigration. Considering migration not a problem but on the contrary a fundamental resource vis-à-vis the aging rate of the European population, a single monitoring system needs to be put in place as soon as possible.

3.9 Freedom of movement

3.9.1. JEF believes the abolishment of borders within the European Union and the establishment of the Schengen Agreement constitute one of the major achievements of the European integration process. In accordance with the spirit of a federation, as proposed by JEF, no reintroduction of borders checks will be accepted and this will be controlled strictly by the European Commission. In long term this should be set forth in a European Constitution so that the free circulation of people, the absence of borders and the territorial unity of the Federal State is guaranteed as a European citizens’ fundamental right.

4 Road map for a federal Europe

4.1 The necessity for decisive and qualitative steps towards a real federal union

4.1.1. The European Union continuously strives to ensure freedom, peace, security and prosperity for its citizens. While its achievements so far are impressive, the Union has hit the limits of its current structure’s capacity to tackle the societal challenges it needs to confront.

4.1.2. Both individual European states and the European Union in its current form are inadequate guides through the turbulences of globalisation, which continuously challenge the monetary system, employment, the sustainability of the welfare state, and traditional geopolitical and socio-economic power distributions.

4.1.3. Answers suggested by nationalists and intergovernmentalists respond to these challenges suggest a return to the past or a continued adherence to the status quo. Their solutions fall short of what European citizens are entitled to expect from their leaders and are grounded in expectations of a stable world. Only the transformation of the European Union into a real European Federation can establish the necessary balance between decision-making power and democratic legitimacy that will enable our society to face the unpredictable challenges that will arise in the 21st century.

4.1.4. The restoration of the authority of democratically legitimized politics over the dynamics of the globalized markets is only possible by creating a full Federal Economic, Fiscal and Political Union.

4.1.5. The re-launch of the constitutional process in Europe is thus a necessity by means of a elected constituent assembly which ought to appoint a true constitutional committee with representatives from the citizens of all origins, ages, sexes and social status, associations and other actors of the civil society.

4.2 A constitutional constituent assembly

4.2.1. A written Federal Constitution shall be at the heart of the future European Union, the European Federation. A constitutional convention shall be convened by majority decision of the Council to write the Federal Constitution.

4.2.2. This constituent assembly should mark a milestone to remedy the experienced democratic deficit of the EU.

4.2.3. The constitutional process needs to be fully open, public and transparent, and allow citizens to provide their inputs. Significant investments of the Commission and member states into digital and traditional platforms for citizens to do so are paramount for the legitimacy of this process, as well as investments in a complete coverage of the process.

4.2.4. European-wide media coverage of the process is crucial to transmit the developments in the constituent assembly to the citizens and involve them in the process.

4.2.5. The draft federal constitution will be put to a majority vote in the constituent assembly. The approved text will then be voted by citizens through a pan-Europeanreferendum.

4.2.6. All actors are called upon to do everything in order to achieve a fair, broad and European wide debate of a historically unique kind before the referendum in order to make sure that all citizens are aware of the historical opportunity the Federal constitution brings to safeguard their future and that of their prosperity, and elude the danger of popular dismissal on the basis of vague fears and unrelated issues inspired by nationalist populism. The agenda of the constituent assembly must be broad, but shaped by a coherent political strategy based on the refoundation and renewal of the European Union around the Euro zone. Its job will be to draft a Federal Constitution or new fundamental law which provides a durable settlement of the system of governance of the Union, along with a clearer sense of things to come.

4.3 A united vision but a pragmatic approach

4.3.1. European integration is a common project of all member states and European states. This has to be the aim at all steps of the integration process.

4.3.2. However, Member States cannot be forced against their will to take the federal steps we here propose. At the same time, such states cannot be allowed an open-ended possibility to prevent the voluntary states to go towards a deeper integration or pick and choose what they want from the EU. That’s why new Fundamental Law carried by Convention should give equal dignity to member states, while allowing a different grade of integration if necessary.

4.3.3. The next steps in the integration process should in particular develop the Economic and Monetary Union by strengthening its democratic governance and introducing a federal budget to finance growth policies.

4.3.4. Should it prove impossible for all member states to agree, upon the consolidation and democratisation of the Eurozone, this process should be put forward by a vanguard of member states. No member state shall use a veto right to prevent such a process.

5 Federalism and Europe in the world

5.1. Federalism does not only provide a new form of government but also establish a new international order, the only one which is fully capable of realising peace, because it removes from the states the power to make a war, by transforming international relations of force into relations based on rule of law. By allowing citizens to participate democratically in forming the power which regulates relations between states, federal institutions realise international democracy.
Only by achieving federal institutions at all levels, international conflicts will be brought to an end by transforming international relations into legal relations among equals; raison d’Etat will be abolished and politics will no longer be at the service of the power of the states, but at the service of the common good of the human being.

5.2. The world federation represents for sure a long term objective; however it is the only perspective in which it is conceivable to provide a positive and democratic response to growing global interdependence.

5.3. This explains why in all areas of the world integration processes are under way. The European federation will represent the first example in history of the postnational politics, and constitutes a possible unification model for all other regions of the world. On the basis of great continental federal unions it will one day be possible radically to reform the UN, and to create a true democratic world government.

5.4. The UN Member States should strive for amending the UN Charter in such a way that the Security Council can permanently accommodate regional seats, among others, a single EU seat.

5.5. A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly should also be established as a consultative body within the United Nations system as a voice of the citizens. A United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA) for the first time would give citizen representatives, not only states, a direct and influential role in global policy. The assembly would not replace existing UN bodies but would be an additional means to integrate
parliamentarians more effectively into the shaping of globalization. As a transitional step until direct elections become practical, the UN Parliamentary Assembly could consist of delegates from national and possibly regional parliaments, reflecting their political diversity. The UNPA would therefore include members of minority parties whose opinions are often not represented in the United Nations.

5.6. Regional integration is a two way process: to overcome the national predisposition, sovereignty needs to be passed on not only to a higher level in a federation with other states but also, within, to smaller entities, in order to fully realize the principle of subsidiarity. Whilst national states are traditionalist, historically grown, social constructs, they are not final solutions to power distribution, especially within modern fields of governance that came up longer after the creation of the nation states, such as environmental policy or the safeguarding of minority rights.

6 The role of JEF in the integration process

6.1. JEF makes concrete contributions to achieving its vision of Europe by fighting against nationalism and isolationism, standing for more European integration and democracy as well as by proposing institutional and policy changes.

6.2. As a youth organisation, JEF gets in touch with young Europeans wherever and whenever possible and works as bridge-builders between the Citizens and European decision-makers through various ways. That Europe is still perceived to be too far away from the Citizens is a serious issue that needs to be tackled, if further integration steps are going to be successful.

6.3. JEF is on the front lines when it comes to educating and informing the public. As members of a civil society movement, JEFers are on the streets to shape public opinion and combat Euro-skepticism. With its progressive ideas and strong network, JEF is very much involved in agenda setting processes and monitoring, putting federalism on the agenda, even in times when it’s not en vogue with the institutions.

6.4. Through active networking and partner structures, JEF’s ideas reach a broad public and are better heard by mandate holders and responsible, making JEF a true voice of the pro-European youth. JEF facilitates a dialogue between young European citizens and political decision makers on every level, by connecting its members and promoting its ideas and pan-European network towards these decision makers.

6.5. JEF makes young Europeans familiar with EU institutions and policies through seminars, discussions with EU politicians, study trips, simulations etc. Presenting and discussing its vision of a federal Europe is always part of this approach. JEF makes citizens aware of the many concrete advantages that Europe provides, especially to young people, and reminds at the same time the improvements that a stronger integration will provide. And JEF encourages young Europeans to shape their own opinions and visions of Europe.

6.6. JEF encourages debate on European affairs and EU policies while fostering youth mobility and exchanges throughout the continent. JEF thus advocates for a culture of active youth participation and volunteering in Europe and draws on methods of intercultural learning and understanding. Working towards bridging the democratic deficit in the EU, the organisation seeks to involve European Citizens, in particular young people, from all across the continent in the process of European integration.

6.7. Federalism and subsidiarity are principles that inspire the way JEF works as an organisation. Its activities are always as close to young Europeans as possible; the local level plays a key role, and every level supports the others to make the organisation more efficient.
Within the organisation JEF strives for unity while acknowledging and accommodating diversity.

6.8. In order for its political messages to be heard, JEF strives towards growing as an organisation. As a bottom-up citizens’ movement, JEF seeks to spread its activities and policies throughout the continent and get in touch with more and more young Europeans and involve into its actions a wide networks of partners.

6.9. In order to spread its ideas, JEF has to be based on a diverse and large enough membership base and use the following means:

6.9.1. – Campaigns to lobby over a longer period of time for federalist cause;

6.9.2. – Street actions mobilising the entire network to raise awareness of burning European issues among the general public;

6.9.3. – International events such as seminars and trainings on a wide range of topics in different EU and non-EU countries;

6.9.4. – A multilingual, interactive webzine where youth can voice its opinion in articles on current European affairs and which informs about recent European developments and thus helps to create a European public sphere;

6.9.5. – Projects that implement a specific goal and for which specific funding was received;

6.9.6. – Press releases for the advocacy of our objectives towards both public and private organisations;

6.9.7. – Structural dialogue with other youth organisations, the European Youth Forum and the party-political youth organisations.

6.10. JEF as a European organisation promoting the ideas of federalism carries the values of cross- cultural cooperation among all its members. According to this principle, JEF Europe and its section organize international projects and activities to strengthen the sense of multiculturalism of young Europeans.

7 Conclusion

Federalists understand that the complex international challenges of tomorrow cannot be tackled by the simplistic national means of today. Federalists are bridge-builders who want to close the gaps in democracy, transparency and efficiency in the current European constellation and equip it with the necessary institutions and policies to prepare for the future.

At the same time, they are bridge-builders between the citizens and the European decision-makers by striving to reconnect them. In their effort to bring Europe closer to its citizens and by acting on their deep-rooted philosophy and principles, Federalists should thus insist on various institutional improvements and concentrate on policies precisely because this approach will arouse citizens’ interest. This is why Federalists, first and foremost JEF members, have to actively reach out to the citizens via presentations in schools, debates in universities, international seminars, public events, street actions, panEuropean campaigns, on-line articles and various local, regional, national and European media, aiming to reverse European and political apathy and fight nationalism. Through their commitment to a supranational European destiny, Federalists thus breathe life into the concept of European Citizenship and add to the strengthening of the European consciousness and even the development of the European identity. In doing their job, they eventually contribute to the emergence of – paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln’s words – a European government of the people, by the people and for the people!