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Our Movement

We know that the challenges facing Europe are difficult because we live in a complex and globalized world. It is time to build a real federal Europe, with a president, a government and a shared budget. Together we are strong enough to face global issues. Together we can be a real economic power. Socially and culturally, we become masters of our own collective destiny. It is time that the European citizen gets up to make his or her voice heard and to build the Europe of tomorrow. Modern Europe, efficient, clever, generous, working to the growth and well-being of its citizens. A democratic Europe that does not bend under the weight of technical procedures, administrative regulations or competing public powers. We should vector that tremendous waste of energy into something useful. A federal Europe should be a place of debate, reflection, and innovation, a school of learning from each other rather than a fragmented space dominated by the reluctance exploited by populism of all forms. A Europe organized, ambitious, sharing a common goal, whose combined skills offer the best possible safeguards to deal with the effects of the current crises and the challenges that await us tomorrow, before which each member state weighs heavy enough itself.

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OUR PROPOSALS
FOR A BETTER EUROPE

We believe in our future in Europe. As Europeans, we see our Plurality, Culture and the History of Democracy as unique Privileges and as a solid Basis for our Common Future. This is the time for full and direct participation of the European Citizens in shaping the future of a united, just and democratic Europe.
Our movement, Stand Up for Europe, has been established to unite European movements and citizens to strive for a new European Social Contract within a true, transparent and fair European Federation.

Because Europe Matters! And so does our voice!

The European Federation should have one President elected directly by the European citizens through universal suffrage and heading a European Government that will replace the European Commission.
A reformed European Parliament, with real legislative powers, should consist of a House of Deputies representing the citizens and elected through transnational lists, and a Senate representing the states and regions, in order to harmonize the collective interests of the federation with those of its constituent units.
We ask for a European Constitution, which would finally allow to go beyond the existing set of treaties among countries and establish a real European Federation allowing to tackle key challenges on the basis of the subsidiarity principle.

We propose the introduction of new tools for direct citizens’ participation (including a European Referendum) for all European citizens irrespective of country of origin to be able to pronounce themselves directly on policy issues to be referred to them by the reformed European Parliament or the Executive, or following a request of a minimum number of citizens from across Europe. Any tool of direct participation will be accompanied by thorough pan-European debate.

A more integrated Europe will allow us to build on our strengths and skills and improve the functioning and productivity of our economy. This will in turn create more job opportunities, in particular for young people. Increased integration will also help us ensure full mobility of the workforce within the Federation and to preserve the European social model (see also below).

The European Federation should be competent on issues such as foreign and defence policy. It should have one single army with a single central command, one single diplomatic corps, and a single seat at the United Nations Security Council, representing a common European foreign policy.
The Europe Union should be a progressive force in the world, at the forefront of initiatives to advance respect for human rights, the reduction of inequalities, the peaceful resolution of disputes and the sustainable functioning of the global economy without short-term speculation.

A federal police (a sort of European FBI) and a European Intelligence Agency should be put in place to deal with federal crimes such as terrorism, organized crime, human traffic and federal tax evasion. The European Federation should be entitled to manage asylum policy and the control of external borders through an EU border police and guard corps.
The European Federation should have a European Treasury. This Treasury should manage a federal budget financed through federally attained resources (such as Eurobonds, European Transaction Tax or others). Its currency should be the Euro. At the federal level, a more effective taxation system should be put in place to finance federal expenditure. This system should avoid tax duplications and favour economies of scale, thus reducing the overall tax burden on the average European citizen.
A fiscal policy that gives the European government the financial resources to implement the key policies outlined in this statement and manage 20 to 25% of Europe’s wealth creation (a proportion similar to that of the United States of America) as opposed to the minuscule 1% that is managed at present. There should be some pooling of sovereign debt.
We support tax harmonisation to reduce social dumping and tax evasion from large corporations within the Federation.
The European Central Bank should be kept independent, but should get a double mandate of ensuring low inflation and economic growth together. The ECB should act as a lender of last resort.
The European Federation should protect the sustainability of the European social model and ensure that its citizens benefit from comparable civil, political, and economic rights and level of welfare, ensuring fair standards throughout the Federation.
Reinforce the European cohesion policy, focus on key Europe-wide infrastructure networks and set up some complementary European welfare (for instance through a European social relief fund) to improve territorial and social cohesion.
The role of the European Court of Justice should be reinforced as the heart of the federal judicial system. The second instance should remain in Luxembourg. The first instance should be strengthened by creating additional European federal courts of first instance at a local level, with at least one present in each member state.
The European Federation should support European businesses operating in Europe and abroad with an effective federal industrial policy aimed at boosting innovation, increasing harmonisation of industrial rules and conditions across Europe, improving market access, quality and productivity, and ensuring sustainable use of resources.
The European Federation needs an energy policy that is sustainable and that effectively secures energy access throughout Europe.
We believe that sustainable development is the basis for the future of European economic growth and consider environment as a public good. The European Federation needs a complete sustainability strategy, which connects environmental policy to the economy and society.
is a primary source of economic and social development, and should receive stronger support by the European Federation, with direct connection to the economy and society for large-scale implementation.
We support the highest level of education for Europe’s citizens, encourage innovation and research, and promote European identity and European mobility through initiatives such as the Erasmus exchange programme and sports exchange programmes. Moreover, we look forward to harmonised educational systems that facilitate the free movement of students and professionals across Europe.
European culture consists of a rich multitude of local expressions that must be preserved and promoted as a unique treasure and as the common ground of our shared identity.
English can be established as the vehicular language of the European Federation, to facilitate administrative and commercial transactions, without replacing our national and regional languages and cultures, which are precious elements of our collective richness.

We are conscious of the fact that our movement requires the support of a great number of people. For this reason, we urge all Europeans of goodwill, whatever their political orientation, all women and all men who share our vision, all private organisations, businesses, associations, and other stakeholders receptive to our message, to join us in building the Europe of tomorrow: A Europe with the ambition to reverse the decline which has mired it for too long and give new meaning to collective political action.

The Stand Up Team

Like you, we are ordinary citizens. Like you, we care about our own futures and those of our children. Like you, we belong to society and we are concerned with the changing trends and international events. That’s why we decided to take our responsibilities and to found Stand Up. From all political backgrounds, social and professional, we share a common realistic vision that is neither left nor right, refusing the easy-to-make promises and all forms of demagoguery. We are not trying to do work of political careerism, we are simply carrying citizens of a project likely to revitalize the economy, promote social justice and be more redistributive than the current financial situation that is no longer secure, and reconnect with the European vision. Students, employees, office workers, contractors, self-employed people, artists and teachers, the founding members of Stand Up are all these at once.

  • Richard Laub
    Richard Laub
    President
  • Pietro De Matteis
    Pietro De Matteis
    Vice president
  • Bàlint Gyévai
    Bàlint Gyévai
    General secretary
  • Jacques de Ridder
    Jacques de Ridder
    Treasurer
  • Katharina Kuckla
    Katharina Kuckla
  • Hubert Heine
    Hubert Heine
    Responsible - for the Nouvel Européen
  • Jules Bejot
    Jules Bejot
    Projects manager
  • Romain Gustot
    Romain Gustot
  • Lorenzo Sparviero
    Lorenzo Sparviero
  • Michel Caillouët
    Michel Caillouët
    Support Committee
  • Catherine Guibourg
    Catherine Guibourg
    Human Resources
  • Georgios Kostakos
    Georgios Kostakos
    Policy Development
  • Mauro Casarotto
    Mauro Casarotto
    Policy Development
  • Fernanda Neutel
    Fernanda Neutel
  • David Zühlke
    David Zühlke
    Social Media
  • Nicolas Hamon
    Nicolas Hamon
    Youth coordinator Student for Europe

  • David “Draco” Zühlke – Team Leader
  • Mauro Casarotto
  • Hector Niehues-Jeuffroy
  • Leandrit Ferizi
  • George Cioti
  • Francesco Paolo Sgarlata
  • Tobias Hassebrock
  • Kathariina Kuckla
  • Chryssi Tsirogianni
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OUR VOLUNTEERS TEAMS

OUR PROGRAM: IT’S YOUR EUROPE!

We Europeans are facing new challenges. High unemployment, the rise of nationalist movements, the dismantling of our social protection systems, the economic crisis, climate change, an increasingly unstable neighborhood and the emergence of world powers on a continental scale , to name only these examples. It is becoming increasingly clear that our countries, each on its own, are not capable of responding to problems of this century. Simultaneously, the European debt crisis has shown that the present European Union is not well equipped to address these challenges. In other words, we are losing control over our future. That is why we Europe must integrate further. We can no longer afford to waste our resources on the duplication of national competencies, such as defense, diplomacy, and energy. These many expensive redundancies amount to hundreds of billions of euros. Contrary to popular belief, it is not European integration but the lack of European integration which costs Europeans a lot. Redundant competencies represent exorbitant expenses that could be easily prevented by pooling some part of our competencies, resources and public debt. However, this will only be possible if “we”, the European citizens, share that vision, the vision of a European democracy that is transparent and accountable to its citizens.

We Europeans must solve the fundamental question of what we share and what we want to achieve together. This requires a pan-European political debate involving all citizens. Only a truly participative approach can nurture a genuine sense of belonging to the European project and strengthen the democratic legitimacy of decisions taken at the European level.

We Europeans want to ensure that our quality of life and that of future generations take again a central place in the political debate. Employers and employees, pensioners and students, are all closely interdependent. Together, we can overcome our present difficulties and pave the way for a “new European Renaissance”.

In order to refine our thinking with regard to the challenges faced by tomorrow’s Europe, we have written, with the support of experts, a series of thematic documents. They will allow you to better know our vision of a federal Europe. Nonetheless, it is important to note that these documents don’t necessarily reflect the opinion of all the members of Stand Up For Europe.

The European project has delivered peace and prosperity in Europe over the last 60 years. But in this process, citizen participation has been too often overlooked. We believe that European citizens must be holders of the decisions taken in Europe, and there should be a closer link between the decisions taken at European level and citizens. Our main goal is to create a transparent and accountable European democracy to citizens with a bicameral parliament and a president of the executive elected by the citizens. A democracy capable of restoring citizens' right to decide their future. A democracy that protects and provides new opportunities for future generations while respecting the diversity of our individual cultures and identities and in which the division of powers between local, regional, national and EU should be based on the principle of subsidiarity.
Many companies have become less profitable or even collapsed due to the crisis. While many people in Europe have lost their jobs, some countries are struggling to fill vacancies. We therefore propose to facilitate worker mobility by promoting the recognition of professional qualifications, the transfer of social rights and pension rights for citizens living and working in different parts of Europe and the creation of new forms of intergenerational cooperation. The development of a European agency work can help á achieve these goals. At the same time we must facilitate investment and especially the activities of small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to credit and encouraging the development of cooperation between European companies in order to achieve the critical mass necessary to invest in research and development and ensure their competitiveness in global markets. It goes without saying that the European public interest and the companies do not always coincide. Europe should have a clear vision of strategic importance for our economy and our future, and if necessary, it should support their development through an ambitious industrial policy (eg, energy, aerospace and transportation) preparing a new industrial revolution to improve our well-being.
Everyone aspires to start a business or to be employed to ensure a decent income for oneself and family. We advocate the creation of a supplementary European social security system to the national social security systems. Streamlining at European level would reduce management costs and increase social justice while reducing discrimination and the leveling down of social standards. Certain minimum social standards such as the "European minimum income" pegged to the cost of living locally, and "decent working conditions" should be guaranteed across Europe. Compared to other parts of the world, European social protection systems have been effective enough to ensure a fair redistribution of resources and means, while allowing everyone to achieve. But the impact of the crisis deprives many people, especially younger people, a decent job by driving them into poverty. In addition, growing inequalities within each Member State on the one hand, and between them, on the other. These are areas where Europe should act.
Restore economic growth and social stability for our citizens is closely linked to the overall improvement of the quality of life of all Europeans, which should be the ultimate goal of a sustainable society. To achieve this, we must provide every European the best possible education, regardless of their socioeconomic background. This includes the massive multiplication of exchange programs and a much closer cooperation in educational materials, sports and culture.Investments in new technology, research, and greater attention to the environment, energy and supply to social cohesion are also crucial points. These changes require the active support of the citizens, while policies can act as facilitators of citizen action.
It can not be a stable and prosperous Europe in a heavy regional and global context of tension and marked by significant uncertainties. The last few years have clearly demonstrated the loss of European influence on the world stage, because of our inability to speak with one voice. We have conflicts on our doorstep. We compete with China, India and other emerging powers while many challenges ahead, such as climate change, financial crisis, tax evasion and regulation of financial markets. These problems are concerns shared by many Europeans. European policy on foreign affairs and defense should be based on the principles of non-aggression, integrity and transparency, supporting laws and international agreements. The responsibility of the Foreign policy, security and defense should go primarily to Europe with the creation of a fully integrated diplomatic corps built from the current European Service for External Action. Europe is a major trading power and is the world's largest market. We believe that respect for intellectual property rights, compliance with safety standards and proper working conditions should be guaranteed. To this end, through our trade agreements with third countries, we should ensure the compatibility of our policies with our commitment to respect for human rights and social justice. In doing so, we could also limit job losses in our domestic market due to unfair competition.
Political tensions in neighboring third countries such as demographic and economic challenges prompt us to rethink our immigration and asylum policy. Currently the host countries of these populations are mainly those bordering the Mediterranean. We believe that this responsibility should be extended to the whole of Europe. We also believe that migration policy should not only be passive. It must be articulated in a stabilization policy and support the development of neighboring countries, especially in the regions of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, should improve living standards and ensure the development of democratic institutions in those countries.
The causes of the crisis are many and go beyond the mere accumulation of excessive public debt. The decline in purchasing power, private debts, deregulation of financial markets, the proliferation of toxic financial products, the lack of influence of European governments on the overall economy and the lack of competitiveness fueled the recession that we are currently facing. In five years of crisis, the unemployment figures are at record levels and the recession continues. It is clear that leaders and national and European institutions have failed and that a new approach, based on a decision of democratically accountable and effective decision is necessary. The European federal government would be able to implement a set of measures that will stimulate economic growth and ensure a prosperous and stable Europe to its citizens. These measures include the development of the internal market, support schemes for small and medium enterprises, the creation of Eurobonds, the creation of a banking union and separation of investment banking of savings banks, an extension of mandate of the European Central Bank, the establishment of common social standards preventing social dumping and boosting consumption, the creation of a European budget based on its own resources (representing 15 to 20% of the collective GDP instead of the 1% current), and, of course, the transfer of powers from national to federal level without increasing the tax burden on the citizens (eg VAT and / or taxes on large companies instead of several national / local taxes).
Europe is a patchwork of different individual identities, different cultures, different languages that interact continuously. This is the wealth of Europe and this is one reason for our success throughout history. However, we believe that Europeans also form a community with shared values, interests and goals. European democracy can only work if there is a public sphere where people are informed and able to communicate with each other. Therefore, while support the teaching of European languages within the Member States, we also believe that English should be used as the language. So we want to strengthen the sense of belonging to the same community and fully integrate the organizations representing civil society in the policy development process. We also defend the right to vote and stand in elections to all the Member States, the creation of a simplified procedure for registration of pan-European political parties and to present their candidates for European elections on transnational lists. Live together also requires a functioning judicial system. Criminal organizations do not stop at Europe's borders and can move freely in Europe. The result is that increased cooperation between our national police forces is necessary.This includes a more effective exchange of information and better training. A federal police should be in place for federal crimes (terrorism, organized crime, human beings trafficking and tax evasion) framed by a European Public Prosecutor may order investigative measures respecting each national law. We also propose the creation of a European criminal court to prosecute those implicated, a branch devoted exclusively to justice and of course, a minister of the European Justice, responsible for ensuring the proper application European law.

Thematic Documents

Confronted with a complex and fragile world order, the EU appears incredibly weak and shy in its relations with the world.
Regarding the major role it could play on the global scene, how can the EU reinforce its credibility and visibility

  • In the field of diplomatic relations and defence?
  • When it comes to trade and cooperation with the emerging powers?
  • In relation to development aid?
  • In the matters concerning cooperation and strategic partnerships with international organisations?

In this context, what are the proposals and the means Stand up for Europe can put in place so that the EU can actually claim and achieve a real global stature in its foreign relations and speak with one voice in a multipolar world?

1. State of play:

The relations of the EU with the rest of the world are many and varied but they don’t represent the global stature the EU could claim in its will to unite a whole continent.

The most recent Treaty of Lisbon lead to a major evolution in the field of external action with the creation of the role of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the put in place of the diplomatic branch of the EU, namely the European External Action Service (EEAS).

The High Representative (currently Ms. Federica Mogherini) is entitled to the functions in the field of foreign affairs previously exercised by the rotating presidency, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (Javier Solana) and the European Commissioner in charge of external relations.

The EEAS assists the High Representative in ensuring the coordination and the coherence of the external action of the Union.

It also assists the President of the European Council (Donald Tusk) and assures a close cooperation with the Member States.

2. Weaknesses:

  • Lack of unity, vision and concerted direction of the common foreign and security policies due in particular to the dysfunctions of the institutional project and to the absence of a political union for the EU.
  • Lack of consistency between the external action of the Union represented by the EEAS and each Member State individual embassies around the world.
  • Second-tier player in the consolidation of the peace processes following the world larger conflicts.
  • Lack of consistency in the EU development aid, as it cannot profit from its status of largest donor due to the plurality of its Member States bilateral aid provided under their respective sovereignties.
  • Lack of a common defence policy and very limited means to contribute to the world security.
  • The absence of specific EU representations to large international institutions, multilateral organisations and international and regional investors, particularly the IMF,  the World Bank Group, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the African Development Bank. In all of these international fora, Europe does not speak with one voice.
  • Frequent application of restrictions and distortions to trade exchange at the expense of Europe 

3. Proposals for improvement:

In the absence of a political union, highly symbolical initiatives should be concretely put in place in order to build momentum; in this context, the title of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy should be changed into the more daring qualification of EU Minister of Foreign Affairs, with real decision-making and organizational prerogatives.

Accordingly, the delegates of the EEAS should be qualified once and for all as EU ambassadors and entitled to concrete decision-making and organisational prerogatives.

Finally, the Commissioners in charge of common policies exclusively entitled to the EU and linked to the external world ( such as Trade, Competition, Monetary Affairs, Environment, R&D), should be boldly defined “Ministers of the EU”.

Free-trade wishful thinking should stop and deliberate and baseless trade restrictions should be sanctioned by antidumping duties (e.g. imposing taxes on Chinese solar panels); in our trade exchanges we must present ourselves as a united power and play the major role we are supposed to play in global trade. Consequently, we must go after all protectionist moves taken by some large third countries and when necessary dare to adopt retaliatory measures proper of our position of world’s largest trade bloc.

In a more comfortable field such as development aid, it seems urgent to aggregate and mutualise the contributions of each Member State through voluntary actions, coordinated and centralised by the EU. By doing so, a common development aid policy eventually depending on the EU would be within reach.

For the records, the amount of development aid coming from the EU and its Member States equals to about 60 bln euros per year, making the EU the world’s main donor.

A European mutualisation of the ODA (Official Development Assistance) would allow a better optimisation in the resource allocation and it would model itself on the example set by the EU in humanitarian aid. The EU humanitarian aid (ECHO) is indeed paradigmatic and it makes it easier to react in an effective and coordinated way to every international urgency.

It is evident that the EU should speak with one voice within large international organizations such as the IMF, the WB, the EBRD, the IDB, the ADB, …; As a matter of fact, every Member State is represented, creating an onerous mismanagement that should once and for all disappear, giving way to a single specific representation of the EU to the international institutions and regional development Banks alike.

Notwithstanding the above, Europe’s external relations strategy should first and foremost take into account the adoption of a common defence policy. This substantive matter is about Europe as a “power” in the new polycentric world that surrounds us and can no longer wait. 1914 is long gone, the world is now multipolar and it is about time to provide Europe with the classic attribute of a power, namely the common defence now completely lacking. A common defence policy should both incorporate an autonomous military capability operating under the European flag and sustain a European defence industry (e.g. the realisation of the multi-national military transport aircraft AM400). Currently, the European contribution to global security and stability mainly consists of formation and support whereas a real deploy of military means should be put on the agenda. For this purpose, a systematic coordination of the Member States’ military capabilities and investments is more important than ever and should be framed by a European strategy; a particular effort should be made in the field of cooperation between the defence industries and military R&Ds. Let us remind ourselves that the EDC (European Defense Community) treaty of 1952, imagined by the visionary Jean Monnet, was signed by 6 States but rejected by France on August 30th, 1954. Times have changed, as well as the stakeholders and the international geopolitical environment and there are new urgent decisions to make.

In addition to the above, the European identity on the global scene should finally cover other strategic priorities, in particular:

  • Macroeconomic regulation
  • The fight against international terrorism
  • The modernization of social protection
  • Energy issues
  • Technological innovation

4. Specific assets:

The deployment of a European strategy at the world level can also build on and take advantage of certain assets and strong points inherent to the European Union, in particular:

The EU is historically attached to human rights and it watches over their universal respect. For this reason, the EU places human rights at the heart of its external relations, being it the enlargement process to new members, political dialogues with third countries or its development aid policy.

The reaction mechanism for catastrophes and humanitarian aid is an example of cooperation of the EU.

The EU can claim to be spearheading the negotiation process on climatic change towards an international binding agreement. For this reason, the EU represent a major player on the global scene in the fight for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Notwithstanding certain apparent weaknesses, the EU constitute the world’s largest trading bloc; trade is a common policy and when it comes to trade, the EU has the capability (even though it sometimes lacks the will) to speak with one voice during the negotiations with its international partners.

Conclusions:

As a result of the foregoing, it is clear that the mutualisation of the military expenditures, the diplomatic services, the development aid, the humanitarian aid and the representations of the Member States within the international fora must be considered an urgency and a priority. Such measures would would be the consequence of a triple logic: politically, the Union would be able to realise its ambitions on the global scene; operatively, it would be given the means to be active on the ground; economically, it would be able to guarantee employments and stimulate innovation in a period of austerity.

Above all, this would be undoubtedly accomplished accordingly to the rationale of the citizen, in full respectance, despite the tough times, of the European citizens.

Thanks to Alessandro Zerbini for the voluntarily translating this document.

 

  1. The current situation of the European political institutions

The European political institutions have undoubtedly managed, since their creations and throughout the multiple transformations that followed, to get the different European States considerably closer. Thanks to a subtle balance between a centralized organisation and the institution representing member states, they have succeeded in moving the European cause forward.

On the spur of great architects, Europe has been able to invent an original structure and organisation of which you have to appreciate the continuous attempts to adapt. Especially in a period of crisis and in a globalised world.

  •        Political Institutions: a supranational structure upholding the collective interest (the Commission), a Council gathering Heads of State or Government (the European Council), a Council gathering Ministers with the same functions of the European States (the Council of the European Union) and a single chamber Parliament are today the institutions that strongly contribute to the European cohesion. Moved by the will to connect the European and the National levels, the Union has five Presidencies: the Presidency of the Commission, held by a political figure for 5 years and in charge of European interests; the two Presidencies of the 2 Councils (one of which on a permanent basis, held by a political figure for 2 years and a half and the other held by a Member State for 6 months); the Presidency of the Parliament, chaired by a political delegate for a 5 years long legislature and the Presidency of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who chairs the Foreign Affairs Council and is appointed for 5 years.
  •        Political Functioning: the simplified ordinary legislative procedure performs as follows: and the Commission only presents a simultaneous proposal to both the European Parliament and the Council. Often this happens at the European Council’s request. A negotiation process…  between the delegates of the 3 institutions follows the proposal, in order to find a compromise on the text. If the procedure succeeds, the final draft is subject to the vote of the Parliament, met in plenary session and if adopted, the draft will be ratified by the Council (subject to minor amendments if needed).
  1. The inadequacies of the present Institutional frame

The Treaty of Lisbon created a balance of power between Member States and the Commission by extending the Parliament’s powers. One needs to positively accept this desire for democratization in which making a decision is not always easy, due to the fact that we come from multiple political traditions that the Commission wants to respect.

However, this search for balance between national politics and supranational bodies has resulted in a series of political incoherences. Nevertheless. these could be appreciated thanks to the steps forward that made the complex European project possible, but have become now an obstacle to the progress of the European construction. The compromises reached as a result of intergovernmental negotiations have generated contradictions that collide with the reality of the contemporary world, which requires rapid, coordinated and efficient responses.

The incoherences of Institutions:

  1.      Conflict of interest and confusions of competencies: when the political organisation of modern States rests on a distribution of policies clearly defined by competencies and territoriality, Europe has a rather confusing institutional framework: the European Commission, representing the European public interest has at the same time both, executive and legislative functions. Certainly, to the extent that national governments have the ability to deposit draft legislation to their respective parliaments, you might be tempted to make an analogy with the Commission, but there are two major differences. The Commission has the monopoly over the legislative proposal, while national Parliaments have full and complete legislative function. The expansion of Parliament’s powers is thus limited because it does not enjoy the same rights of national parliaments even though it is the only European institution composed of directly elected members and with a mandate to deal with European Affairs. On the other hand, Government is the real political driving force of the state. It is the one who sets the main guidelines and puts into practice its political vision. Conversely, this function of giving momentum isn’t embodied by the Commission, which is involved in the formalization of the proposition, but rather by the European Council, that is by the national entities that compose Europe. It’s a bit as if the Belgian Federal Entities (Communities and Regions) defined the Belgian Federal Government Program. Moreover, the European Parliament, composed of elected deputies representing the collective interest of Europe, equally shares the legislative power with the EU Council, a body composed of representatives of national executives, which is also appointed.

 

  1. Loss of Democratic representation: Even though the Heads of State or Government are elected, the Commissioners and 4 Presidents out of 5 are appointed. Naturally, the appointment of the President of the Commission and Commissioners must be confirmed by Parliament and history has proved that it can actually exercise this right. But the appointment proposal is not in any case tied to the election ballot. The result is that 4 out of the 5 current Presidents are not vested with any direct popular legitimacy, unlike the President of the Parliament, himself elected European deputy, appointed by his equals to chair the institution.

 

  1. Lack of clarity and univocal political leadership: There are several presidents of the executive organs, and not only. None of them disposes of true political powers capable of embodying a long term European vision for the simple reason that their appointment depends exclusively or essentially on the most influential States or Government Leaders in the case of the Commission or the European Council. As to the Presidency of the EU Council, which only lasts six months, it does not allow to develop major projects. The reality of the political exercise of power mainly lies still today in the hands of the States. Recall for example that the Treaties, and particularly the Lisbon’s one, are the product of intergovernmental negotiations. That seems evident, but other options are actually possible. Nothing prevents from imagining that the institutional reforms are drafted by the European Parliament first, and then submitted for ratification to the States which need the approval of ¾ of them, so that the reforms are definitely adopted.

 

The inconsistencies of the political modus operandi

Although the European institutions are called to defend the European interest, the current modus operandi doesn’t allow to obtain a proper democratic, collective and responsive autonomy:

* The European Parliament has no right of initiative

* The Parliamentary control over the executive is real but limited

* A large number of decisions on political orientations have started at the European Council level, moving the national interests to the European level at the expense of the Commission, guardian of the collective interest. Also, the tripartite negotiations during the simplified ordinary legislative procedure remain confidential. Also for the Parliament that finds out the resulting final proposition only through the rapporteur’s report. Therefore the preliminary voting procedure is very opaque.

* The technical complexity of the issues, because of the co-presence of the 28 States, is given often priority over the political content, which gets lost in the process.

* Although unanimity vote is today less applied than before, it remains applicable to a variety of essential matters such as taxation, the harmonization measures in the sector of social security and social protection or foreign policy and common security, which creates heavy delays in the decision making process and makes a proper European reactive policy impossible.

* This same structural problem is also present in the membership of the European candidates to their national formations, which still keeps them from acting free from national influence.

* Even more fundamental, the High Representative for the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is not given the autonomy needed to make Europe’s voice heard in the world, as the respective interests of the European States prevent him from taking a clear and decisive position, if not to remember clichés that don’t bother anyone.

As we can see, the obsessive search of the balance mentioned above between the different European institutions on one side, and the interests of Europe and those of the European States on the other, only leads to a limited political will on a global scale. indeed, the Commission does not have the powers and competences the States have. Let us recall that the Treaty of Lisbon is the result of an intergovernmental conference.

It is necessary to underline also that the President of the European Council’s main function is to facilitate the formation of a consensus between the States. In other words, this search for balance actually benefits the States, since this modus operandi has relegated the role of the Presidents to mere facilitators and it does not confer them any governing function.

Public opinion tends to blame Europe for all evil and to attribute her an oversized power that she does not  actually have.

The principle of subsidiarity implies that Europe should have competence on matters that could manage more efficiently than the States. However, there are many sectors that meet this criteria, such as diplomacy, defense or energy policy, which Europe cannot regulate because the States are still attached to certain prerogatives. Yet, these matters would be managed more efficiently and at a lower cost if they were administered at the European level as part of a global strategy. Moreover, the lack of purely political freedom of initiative that keeps the Commission from putting in place its projects with a long term vision, limit its activity to a strict executive and controlling role as guardian, as in the case of the economic governance, which is partially responsible for the technocratic and coercitive vision of Europe. What a paradox!  In fact, it is often easier for the European Heads of State or Government to wave the “bogeyman” of the European Commission in front of their public opinion than to take responsibility for unpopular measures or the consequences of mistakes made in the past at the national level, as for example the excessive public debts or the inability of the States to respect the convergence criteria established by the Treaty of Maastricht.  

The feeling of disconnection of the citizens towards the European institutions derives then from a lack of power and not from an excess, put into effect in the lack of autonomy of Europe due to the influence exercised on the organisation  by the national governments.

Tight between the power of the financial markets and the dominance of the national stances that significantly reduce the rapidity and the impact of the decision-making process, Europe enjoys a narrow margin of manoeuvre. In addition, in the same way the absence of a unique and homogeneous territory comparable to that of a State increases the vulnerability of the Euro, the lack of political decision-makers with real powers over all the European States destroys the positive effect consequent to the force of a federal construction, effect of which each State should benefit, as we have demonstrated in another document.  

We have in fact underlined, for example, how the mutualisation of the sovereign debts would permit to obtain clearly lower interest rates compared to the ones required to each single European State since the economic dominance of a federal Europe that accumulates its members’ debts, would diminish significantly the integrated risk for creditors in their calculation of the interests.

III. Our proposals

In response to these inconsistencies, Stand up For Europe proposes a structural and institutional reform with two precise goals: revitalize the European democratic vitality and provide the political institutions with the instruments to exercise their missions in accordance with their nature and their function.

In this aim, we hope to reform:

  •        the institutions, through:

         A European Constitution, elaborated and approved by a ⅗ majority of the members of the European Parliament, bestowed the constituent power, by a direct democratic consultation.

         A single fully-fledged European President, democratically elected with a majority voting system. Once elected, he will guide the executive branch and form the government (the present Commission), responsible before the Parliament and supported by a parliamentary majority. The executive branch’s competences will include the entirety of the common sectors, such as defense, economy, international commerce, immigration policy, social protection, external affairs, the environment, fiscality, the budget, competition, research and development, innovation, agriculture, cohesion, monetary affairs, development cooperation; his decisions will have force of law on the entirety of the European territory. These policies will be financed by a direct European taxation that represents from 15 to 20% of the cumulative revenues of the States.

         A bicameral Parliament which will have legislative initiative and a control function on the executive branch.  The lower chamber, the European assembly, will have the mandate of suggesting and voting the laws regarding the domains defined by the constitution, as regarding the collective European interest, whether the initiative emanates from the executive (project) or the assembly itself (proposition). The high chamber, the European senate, will have the function of representing the member States in the elaboration and, together with the European assembly, the voting of laws (therefore replacing the European Union council, whose function very logically reintegrates the legislative branch). It will also oversee the convergence of both national and European interests. Unlike the president, the deputies and senators will be elected with a one round proportional method, in order to represent the highest possible diversity of opinions and political tendencies. The number of deputies by country will be determined by a partition key that will be directly proportional to the population of each State. The number of senators will be the same for every member State. Furthermore, the candidates will have the obligation to belong to transnational political parties, in order to ensure the protection and defense of strictly European collective interests, not represented on national lists.

  •        Functioning:

– The President’s party must necessarily belong to the parliamentary majority-regardless of its relative weight- and the government  must have the obligation to reflect all components.

– In this new political context, the search for a balance between nationalities as a criterion for the nomination of government’s members, totally disappears.

– A new legitimacy for the executive branch, based on competence and electoral consultation, allowing the political institutions to obtain the democratic seal.

– A real independence of the legislative power: The government initiated draft laws will be submitted to the vote of both chambers; the European parliament will fully possess the right to elaborate law proposals that will need to be accepted by both chambers and be implemented by the government in order to become executory.

– A new and more coherent balance between the two political branches freed from the chaperoning of the States. The executive power, now bestowed with a political objective, will from then on be able to fully implement its function governing the constitutive States, represented in the legislative branch by the European senate, and embodying Europe in full independence. The legislative branch will equally find itself reinforced by bicameralism, the right to initiative and the control of the executive.

– The creation of transnational parties allowing candidates to be on European lists and consequently remove them from their national political system in their decision making process as mandate holders.

As previously suggested we believe that the search for unanimity has become a too complex and no longer affordable process, especially with regards to the institutional reforms we propose.

This is why it appears more realistic and coherent with our project to initiate a federalisation process from the countries that originally signed the Treaties of Rome (Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy) and the other Eurozone States that so desire.

We are confident that this new Europe will create an emulative effect for the other members of the Union.

This implies giving the Eurogroup a judicial status that it does not possess for the moment, and to initiate the federalisation around a hard core.

Our institutional program is much more centered on democratisation, transparency and coherence than the Lisbon Treaty, born from the rejection of the constitutional treaty, in spite of being signed in Rome in 2004 by the leaders of the EU but rejected by both France and the Netherlands.

The Lisbon Treaty reflects the urgency of the period and remains bound by the search for a compromise, to make Europe advance, notwithstanding the rejection of the ratification process of the Constitutional Treaty.

The important incoherences that the Lisbon treaty has created are the result of the then inability to give Europe the institutions that could allow to initiate a political project, invested from time to time by democratic approval.

Our propositions return to the original federalist dynamic.

They give Europe the structures and the functioning that it needs in order to carry the ambitious democratic process that its citizens expect from Europe today, and give it the space it deserves in the world, ensuring a greater credibility in front of the other world powers.

The European Union is a community of democratic member states, based on law.

The Union is a space where the death penalty is abolished in each of the 28 member countries and where rights and freedom are protected. Democracy, rule of law, freedom of expression and social rights are the cornerstones of Europe,  which is the continent where fundamental rights are the best protected. Far better than the Americas, Asia or Africa.

 

Respectful of fundamental human rights, the European Union is maker of legal rules aimed at enforcing the freedom both of citizens and individuals. The European Union is not only a market but also a community of citizens sharing the same values.

 

The concept of European citizen is to be first found in the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.

Each person with the nationality of a Member State is also a European Citizen. This involves multiple rights: the right to move and reside freely in Europe, the right to vote and to stand both in European elections and in own country of residence in local elections, the right to petition and the right to diplomatic and consular protection.

 

These rights and those acknowledged by European laws are practised under control of jurisdiction of both European Union and national courts acting

as UE courts. There has never been such a big need for justice as in this historical moment  when paradoxically the resources provided  by most Member States are constantly decreasing.

 

WHAT ‘HAS ALREADY BEEN  DONE

Some important progress has already been registered in the field of justice:

  • the establishment of a common base of rules via directives and regulations, such as harmonization of criminal charges for terrorism,  fight against money laundering;
  • European arrest warrant replacing national extradition procedures;
  • mutual recognition of sentences to be applied to  processes in other

member states.

 

WHAT WE STILL CONSIDER UNSATISFACTORY

 

We think these projects are going in the right direction but still not thoroughly comply with an idea of full integration. We want to keep building a European justice area by establishing a truly legal Union and a Federal Justice.

–        The laws applied uniformly throughout the Union do not cover enough fields, allowing criminals to exploit the differences between national penal codes

– The acknowledgement of mutual juridical decisions is positive, but this doesn’t mean the rejection of a fully federal justice to prosecute and judge criminals.

–        The efforts towards the unification of the differences of the national laws ignore certain fields, such as the environment, which regulation won’t be really effective unless it reaches a European level.

–        As long as the search for coordination won’t become a fully integration in those area of the law that can be better developed at a federal level, the European justice will be remaining a symbol more than an effective tool to fight the organised crime.

–        Nowadays, despite progresses have been made in the field of judicial cooperation, the judicial action is still entrusted to national courts, each one with its own rules and its own approach. This lack of unification goes against the effectiveness of the repression among the Union.

 

Our proposals:

–        We support the creation of a consolidated general division exclusive of the justice, no longer shared with other competences such as security, since it might cause conflict of interests.

–        We support the creation of the role of the Ministry of Justice for Europe. This Ministry would have the duty to make sure the States respect the EU law, appealing directly to the Court of the Union in case of breaches. Mutual recognition of a Member State shall be suspended in the case of worsening in law enforcement and if it loses its judiciary independence.

–        We support the unification of Member States legislation also in other fields than economics, in order to ensure a better convergence of the national rights, in civil, social and environmental protection areas.

–        Criminals exploit frontiers, this is why it’s more convenient to set up a penal European space and a European penal court.

–        We support the institution of a European court fighting against the violations of the financial interests of the Union and against the most dangerous criminality within the Union. This new institution must be given the human and financial resources it needs. This court will be appointed by the Council of Ministers and by the European Parliament. It will be able to order the implementation of investigative measures (perquisitions and interrogations included) by respecting every national law. Prosecuted people will be judged by national laws, until the creation of a European penal court. There must be a wider European sovereignty about the management of the justice. At the same time, there is the need to support European agencies like Europol and Eurojust.

We are wondering if, in the full respect of the fundamental principles of the fair trial, the economic justice could be privatised in a certain way, encouraging the use of alternative ways of regulation of conflicts (conciliation, mediation, arbitrage, …) and third-party fundings. Regarding this latter and the rest of our proposals, we remain faithful to our will to modernize institutions and procedures, making them less formal and closer to the spontaneous organisation of the civil society.

Our Support Commitee

The following members of civil society are part of the Support Committee for Stand Up for the United States of Europe.

Alec van den Abeele
Former director of the GDF SUEZ Group, Former Belgian Champion and Team Leader at the Horse Trials
Delphine Bourgeois
Founder and President of the Consultative Committee of European Affaires of Ixelles
Juan Coppieters ‘t Wallant
Commander of the Detachment of the Military Police at the Parliaments of Wallonia and the French Community
Dominique de Crayencour
Honorary Director General of the European Investment Bank and Secretary General of the European Long-Term Investors association – ELTI and of the Long-Term Investors Club – LTIC
Paul Dujardin
Director General and Art director of the Palais des Beaux-Arts of Brussels
Marc Filipson
Founder at Filigranes libraries
Paul Goldschmidt
Member of the Orientation Council at the Institute of Thomas More and retired Director of Service of ‘Financial Operations at the European Commission
Sophie Heine
Political scientist (Oxford University – S. Antonio Collegio and Free University of Brussels – Political Theory Center)
Luc Simonet
Avocat honoraire – Conseiller suppléant à la Cour d’appel de Bruxelles – Fondateur Optimistan
Jan Huyghebaert
Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors of KBC, President of the Fonds Baillet Latour, President of the Queen Elisabeth Competition
Véronique de Keyser Belgian politician and Member of the European Parliament
Brando Benifei Italian politician and Member of the European Parliament
Riccardo Petrella
Italian politician and economist
Pierre Rion
Business Angel
Francis Wilmet
enterprise examiner and accountability expert
Paolo
Ponzano
Special Adviser European Commission
France Roque
Director of the Communication and the external relationships at L’OBS (Groupe Le Monde)
Chrstophe Van Dijck Belgian judoka
Jean-Louis Vanherweghem
Expert évaluation enseignement supérieur chez Hau Conseil evaluation Enseignement supérieur et Recherche (france)
Anne André-Léonard
Honorary Member of the European Parliament
Jean-Pierre Buyle
Lawyer specialized in banking and finances
Etienne Davignon
State Minister
Alain Deneef
Administrator and Intendent of business coalitions
Marianne Dony
Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and President of the Institut d’Etudes européennes
Raymonde Dury
Honorary European deputy
Frédéric Flamand
Choreographer, Director
Michael Guttman
Violinist
Pierre-Emmanuel Noel
Senior Banker at the European Bank, teaches “Infrastructure Finance” at SciencesPo Paris.
Bruno Heureux
Poet-songwriter
Jimmy Jamar
Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Belgium
Maurice Sosnowski
Lecturer at Université libre de Bruxelles
Nathalie Griesbeck
French politician and Member of the European Parliament
Luc Misson
Belgian lawyer
Guibert Del Marmol
Co Founder at Luntfoundation
Pierre Marcolini
Owner, Pierre Marcolini chocolatier
Thomas Spitaels
TPF Group’s CEO
Raphael Zayat
EU Key Account Manager atCOWI Group
Claude Rolin
Belgian politician and ex Member of the European Parliament
Philippe Herzog
President and Founder of Confrontations Europe
Roberto Sommella
Journalist, Director of External Relation for Italian Antitrust Authority, La Nuova Europa Founder

Adrienne Axler
CEO at Sodexo (Germany, Austria, Switzerland)
Constantin Chariot
Art historian and curator
Luc de Brabandere
Management philosopher
Renaud Denuit
Writer, Visiting scholar at Université Saint Louis and ICHEC, honorary adviser to the European Commission
Eric Domb
President – Founder of Pairi Daiza
Eric Everard
Manager of the year, PDG of Artexis
Evelyn Gessler
Director General Deciders/Decitime
Guy Haarscher
Philosopher, emeritus Professor at Université Libre Bruxelles and at the Collège d’Europe (Bruges)

Philippe Maystadt
State Minister

Susanne Hoehn
Director of the Goethe Institute

Jean-Pascal Labille
President of the Foundation “Ceci n est pas une crise”

Yvan de Launoit
Directeur de Recherche au CNRS

Sylvie de Goulard
French politician and Member of the European Parliament
Isabella Lenarduzzi
Social Entrepreneur, expert gender equality at work, owner of JUMP “Promoting gender equality, advancing the economy”
Baudouin Michiels
Private banking officer chez CBC Banque
Roland Teixeira
Commercial Officer, Europe, Key Accounts at GE Marine
Marc Luyckx Ghisi
Belgian essayist
Christian Verdonck
Former Belgian Ambassador in Lithuania
Marie Jo Lafontaine
Owner: Studio Lafontaine
André Van hecke
Former member at cercle de Lorraine and member at cercle de Wallonie
Pierre Olivier Beckers
Director General and President of the Executive Committee of the Delhaize Group, President of the Interfédéral Belgian Olympic Committee (COIB) and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Bruno Colmant
Doctor in Applied Economics
Peter De Caluwé
Director General of the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie
Gérard Deprez
State Minister, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-President of the Belgian political party Mouvement Réformateur
Michel Didisheim
Honorary President of the king Baudouin Foundation, President and co-founder of Inter-Environment
Mark Eyskens
Minister of State
Gaëtano Getch
Author, composer, interpreter
Pierre Hazette
Honorary Senator, retired Minister, writer
Roland Vaxelaire
Societies administrator
Jean-Paul Hordies
Lawyer at the Bars of Brussels and Paris, expert of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), lecturer at Science-Po Paris (course of European economic Law)
)
Pierre Lallemand
Architect
Bruno Colmant
Professor at Luxembourg School of Finance
Philippe Lamberts
Belgian politician and Co-president of the Greens/ALE MEP
Jean Gérard Lieberherr
Consultant Member of the International Business Commission at the “Association Française du Lipizzan”
Jean-Frédéric Nothomb
Co-founder & CEO Argile Peinture
Jean Marsia
Co-President at Société européenne de défense (S€D) AISBL
Pierre Mertens
Belgian French-speaking writer and lawyer
Marc Tarabella
European Parliament member
Bart Staes
Belgian politician and a Member of the European Parliament
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