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The 2024 European Parliament elections, an important step to the European federation?

The hope of lasting peace that raised by the implosion of the Soviet Union was short-lived. Putin's declaration of war on the West in Munich in 2007, the invasion of Georgia he ordered in 2008, followed by the invasion of Crimea and part of the Donbass in 2014, have shattered our illusions but were not enough to shake the Atlantic and European institutions as well as our Heads of State and Government out of their torpor. They are just as incapable of dealing with the threats of today as others were in the 1910s, 1930s and 1990s. They were unable to prevent the two World Wars or the implosion of the former Yugoslavia. Again, we are moving helplessly towards a new catastrophe.

Our governments tried in vain to improve the Common European Security Policy and the Common European Security and Defence Policy. Therefore, most European Union (EU hereafter) Member States rely for security and defence on NATO, it’s to say on the United States of America, who have little regard for our interests. This costs us dearly, economically, and politically. It is even more regrettable that NATO cannot guarantee our safety as it is handicapped by the need for unanimity in the Atlantic Council to act. Everyone is aware of the persistent failure of the Alliance to welcome Sweden.

One way to strengthen the Atlantic Alliance is to create a European pillar within it equivalent to the North American pillar. In any case since 2008, Europe has been unable to cope with the financial, monetary, migration, health, and security crises. Our ecosystems are in peril. War is raging in Ukraine and in Gaza partly because Europe, on the international stage, exists only as a trading power. The Rome treaty of 1957 on the European Economic Community has entrusted the competence in foreign trade to a specific European Commissioner. But in the geopolitical debate, the EU is not taken into consideration, because it is not a State, it is an association of States. It has no and cannot have military capabilities because States have the monopoly on armed forces.

There is no European politico-military command, it’s to say an acting head of State, or of government. The High Representative is not a real European minister of Foreign Affairs, let alone a real European minister of Defence. Therefore, the High Representative, the president of the European Council and the president of the European Commission often make 440 million Europeans look ridiculous on the world stage.

Europe generates collectively only a few percent of the American military capabilities, those of the Chinese or those of the Russians. This is not due to a lack of money, because the Europeans spend about half of the American defence budget, but to a lack of efficiency. In Europe we have about thirty Pentagons and not just one. Therefore, European armies must implement and maintain 154 types of weapon systems. They are only 27 in the United States of America. This prevents our armed forces from being inter-operable. This penalizes our defence industrial and technological base.

The high-intensity war waged by Russia on Ukraine since 24 January 2022 raised awareness, but action remained limited. Europe provided Ukraine with valuable help, but the donated equipment and munitions were too disparate and arrived too late. The Russians have had time to entrench themselves solidly. They revived their arms industry, while ours have made only marginal progress: in 2023, Europe has only been able to supply a third of the 155mm shells promised to Ukraine. They are sorely lacking on the front line.

If Putin wins in Ukraine, he could take over the Russian-speaking province of Narva in Estonia, or the Suwalki corridor in Lithuania. He could attack Finland, which accuses Moscow of orchestrating a migratory crisis in retaliation to the fact that Finland, worried about its security, joined NATO in April 2023 and closed its 1,340 kilometres long border with Russia from 15 December 2023 to 14 January 2024. Putin reacted to the closure by announcing the reinforcement of his military presence in the north-west of Russia. He will thus soon be able to go on the offensive. He knows that Europe has no federal military capabilities, and that those of the European States are not sufficient to ensure our security.

Neither integration within the EU nor cooperation within NATO has been able to guarantee us peace and security, but the recent legislative elections in Poland showed that if there is a popular will, there is a path to success. European governments got bogged down since 1950. In 73 years, they haven’t given birth to the European Federation announced on 9 May 1950 by Robert Schuman.

A democratic, federal European State requires a constitution, not a treaty, because a treaty is external to the State and multilateral, whereas a constitution is an internal, unilateral act of public law that aims to establish the fundamental rights of citizens, the principles on which the legitimacy of political power rests and the general architecture of institutions. A constitution is at the top of the hierarchy of State norms.

The method for founding a federal, sovereign, and democratic State, united in diversity, has been known since 7 September 1787. History shows that confederations either turn into federations or dissolve. In Philadelphia, the delegates of the American States replaced their confederation by the very first federation. They adopted a federal constitution. It begins with the words "We, the people". It separates the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The legislative branch is bicameral. The lower house is directly elected, with the citizens of each State represented in proportion to their number. In the Senate the States are equal. Europe can draw inspiration from these principles to keep us in peace and security, to guarantee our fundamental rights and freedoms, and to regain its rightful place on the international scene in view of its economic power and European civilisation!

To turn at last Europe into a power, deterrent but peaceful, European governments should, in 2024, establish a federal governance in Europe and take the following appropriate measures.

The first step to is to form a nucleus, a vanguard of States that want to federate. This is how the European Union was built: the Benelux was the forerunner of the Six, who were 28 and are still 27. The Benelux initiated the Schengen zone, today with 23 Member and 4 Associated States. The Eurozone had 9 Member States when the Maastricht Treaty was signed and now have 20.

Members of the European Parliament will be elected in June 2024. Those from the new core group should be tasked to declare themselves a Constituent Assembly, to draft and adopt a federal constitution. The Constituent Assembly will choose the name of the federation. It doesn’t matter if it is named the United States of Europe, the European Federation, or the Federal Republic of Europe. It must be a democratic State, legitimized by universal suffrage.

The Constituent Assembly will define the areas of competence, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity, to maintain the sovereignty of the people and the balance between the federal, national, and regional powers. The European federal government would therefore take over part of our international relations, security, and defence. This should make it possible to constitute, as in America, federal forces to complement the armies of the States, which would correspond to the American National Guards. A federal Europe would establish a politico-military unity of command, which would allow for the economies of scale and the gains in productivity and efficiency. This would make the rearmament of Europe and the constitution of a credible European pillar within the Alliance financially sustainable.

Finally, the constituent institutions must be put in place. Therefore, the European Federation should have its own resources, based on an innovative, egalitarian tax system. Multinationals, especially those in the digital sector, should no longer escape taxation. This would make it possible to finance the above-mentioned policies and to conduct a budgetary policy that could support the monetary policy successfully carried out by the European Central Bank.

To restore peace in Europe, to turn it into a sovereign, autonomous, independent, peaceful but respected power, we must act, urgently. The elections to the European Parliament in 2024 are an opportunity for European citizens to demand that candidates commit to making the next European Parliament the constituent assembly that Europe needs.

Heinrich Kümmerle hat auf diesen Beitrag reagiert.
Heinrich Kümmerle

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  • Ergänzung: Die Inflation ist stärker als vor dem Euro?

    Nein. Seit 25 Jahren gibt es den Euro. Das Eurosystem (EZB + Nationale Zentralbanken) haben das Inflationsziel zwischen 1999 und 2020 im Durschnitt deutlich besser erreicht als es davor der Fall war. Die Phase der jetzigen Inflation in Folge der Corona-Krise und der Lieferengpässe und der Energiekrise hat die Preise weltweit 2021, 2022 getrieben. Die Inflation sinkt seit Ende 2022 kontinuierlich und nähert sich wieder den 2 % an.
    Darüber hinaus hat die gemeinsame Währung Europa Stabilität in diversen Krisen gegeben.
    Die gemeinsame Währung stützt den Binnenmarkt und hat Deutschland geholfen, starke Exportleistungen zu erzielen.

  • Zum Protokoll des Gesprächskreises „Europa jetzt!“ würde ich gerne hinzufügen, dass wir Teilnehmer auch darüber debattiert haben, wie „selbstverständlich“ Europa gerade für uns jüngeren geworden ist. Viele von uns kennen es gar nicht anders. Reisen ohne Grenzen, zahlen in Euro, keine Zollgebühren beim Onlineshopping, anders kennen wir es fast nicht. Es gilt, diese Freiheiten aufzuzeigen um das Interesse an Europa zu wecken.
    Ebenso war sich der Großteil der Gruppe einig, dass wir keine Angst haben, sondern Bedenken und Unsicherheit empfinden, wenn wir die aktuellen Entwicklungen beobachten.

    • Wie wir feststellen durften ist die Halbwertszeit solcher Runden nicht ausreichend, um ein Forum nur annähernd zu füllen. Wo die Unverbindlichkeit zum Prinzip erhoben wurde, muss man tatsächlich über ganz neue Kommunikationskanäle nachdenken.