Year XLVI, 2004, Number 2, Page 109

 

 

 

FOR AN ALTERNATIVE STRATEGY: A FEDERAL CORE IN A EUROPE OF CONCENTRIC CIRCLES* **
 
 
Introduction.
 
Like many of you I belong to that group of federalists who, a little more than ten years ago, once the ratifications of the Maastricht Treaty had been completed, began the Campaign for the European Constitution, which at the time was called Campaign for a European Constituent Assembly. As it has always happened in the federalist movement, we began with scepticism and resistance by the UEF and JEF of those days, who were reluctant to abandon a vaguer and weaker campaign for European democracy. Quite a few years and not a few efforts were needed to bring first the UEF and then JEF to officially adopt the Campaign for the European Constitution. However, I also belong to that group of federalists who in the last few years has been strongly critical of the Campaign for the European Constitution as it has developed after the Nice Summit and particularly around the work of the Convention on the future of Europe and of the Draft Constitution that it produced. Between three and four years ago a group of Italian federalists of the MFE, mainly in Pavia, Milan, Ferrara and in other cities of northern Italy, and some federalist friends in Germany and France, started to elaborate and propose an alternative strategy centred around the idea of a federal core in a Europe of concentric circles and have started a series of actions focused on an appeal for a European federal State addressed to the original founder countries.[1] In this report I would like to explain why we believe that the present strategy of the UEF — that, I am well aware of it, the Congress is going to reconfirm — represents the road to resignation and defeat, and why we believe instead that there is an alternative and potentially winning strategy, although it is an enormously difficult one.
 
The Illusions of the “Strategy of the Constitution”.
 
The strategy proposed to the Congress by the majority of the MFE and the UEF consists of two main points: 1) the request that the imminent Intergovernmental Conference — or, failing this, just those states that want to — adopt the Draft Constitution prepared by the Convention without distorting its contents; 2) the launch of a popular campaign to convene a new Convention, this time with a constituent mandate, to reach a federal Constitution without right of veto in foreign and budget policies. Let us examine each of these points in detail.
The first request will reveal its inconsistency by itself in just a few weeks. It does not seem difficult to me to foresee that, if the Constitution is adopted in the next few weeks, this will happen with the unanimous agreement of all Member States in the Intergovernmental Conference. If the Intergovernmental Conference does not find an agreement on the points of the Draft Constitution that are still open, and on which the Conference in Rome failed last December, the Draft Constitution will remain a dead letter because it is inconceivable that some countries may decide to break the Union on the basis of such a weak text as the present. I am sure that a unanimous agreement will be found and, as can easily be foreseen, it will be found on a text further watered down from the already weak one proposed by the Convention. The issue in front of us is more general: how should federalists judge the process that led to the Constitution and the process that opens up with the Constitution?
The request for a Constituent Assembly and for a federal Constitution represents an essential part of the very identity of the federalists who belong to the tradition of Altiero Spinelli and has been at the basis of the campaigns of the federalists since the beginning. It is therefore understandable than when the European Council in Laeken in 2000 decided to convene a Convention to prepare a Constitution for the European Union, the federalists welcomed the decision with hope and enthusiasm. It is however less understandable that the majority of them then remained entirely imprisoned by the rhetoric that developed around the Convention —and to a large extent made it their own — losing sight of why the federalists demanded a European Constitution and what they meant by this request. In the Western political tradition a Constitution is the act that seals the birth of a new State or a regime change in an existing State (from monarchy to republic, from parliamentary republic to presidential republic, etc.). There have been and there are States without a constitution, but a constitution without a State does not exist and never has. Since the very beginning federalists demanded a European Constitution because it was identified with the foundation of the European federal State.[2] As such it should have sanctioned the sovereignty of the new State, set out a democratic institutional structure for it, transfer to it the necessary powers for it to function internally and internationally, and defined the relationships between the central level and the Member States with the proper structure of a federal system. The Draft Constitution proposed by the Convention on the future of Europe, and more generally the process that the Convention expresses simply have nothing to do with all this.
We are not denying here that the Constitution has some positive features: the abolishing of the division of the Union into different pillars, the introduction of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the extension of legislative co-decision and of the majority vote to the area of internal affairs and justice policy, the creation of a European Foreign Affairs Minister, etc. If we judge all these from the point of view of the improvement of the existing treaties, they are undeniably steps forward, some even quite significant. If instead we judge all this with respect to the challenges that Europe is facing and in view of Europe’s progress towards a European Federation, all these modifications are absolutely irrelevant. Europe is facing enormously important challenges: the enlargement of the Union to 25 Member States and the prospect of further enlargements to 30 or more countries, even perhaps including Turkey, the deterioration of the world order and the increasing marginalisation of Europe in matters of war and peace, the increasing threat of international terrorism, the difficulties of the Stability Pact that cast dark shadows on the very future of the single currency, the stagnation of European industry and the difficulties in reforming the European social model, the growth of Euroscepticism in many countries as a result of a Union that is increasingly more difficult for common citizens to understand. Many, even among federalists, do not perceive these challenges as being dramatic and urgent. Many not only appear not to see the decline of Europe, but often even paint a picture of a flourishing Europe, that will be the true winner of the Iraqi crisis (sic!), in the midst of a newly found technological leap (the Galileo project), that is beginning to act with troops outside Europe (the small contingents in Macedonia). They sadly remind us of the philosopher Pangloss of Voltaire’s Candide, for whom “this is the best of all possible worlds, [...] any particular ills only make up the general good, so that the more individual misfortunes there are the more the world fares well”.[3] But those who instead feel that the challenges that Europe is facing are urgent and vital cannot but admit that the Constitution does not even scratch the surface of the serious problems that Europe is facing. Even with this Constitution the Union will not in fact change its nature as an organisation in which the power finally rests in the hands of the Member States: the Union will remain without its own foreign and security policy, without the ability to govern its economy, without a democratic government expressed by the will of its citizens and able to execute its own decisions. Just as an example: if, once the Constitution is ratified, we were to find ourselves in the situation of one year ago — the American decision to wage war against Iraq, the deep division between the European States, the striking inexistence of the Union — today the Union, and its new Minister of Foreign Affairs, would react in exactly the same manner as one year ago: they would be forced to realise that the Member States have profoundly different views of the relationship between Europe and the United States, that Member States continue to control their own foreign and defence policy, or rather that little that remains of it, and that the Union has neither the ability nor the resources for acting, either for war, or for peace.
Many federalists recognise these limits, but they justify them in light of the alleged evolutionary potential of the Constitution. The Constitution, so they say, would create a new framework in which the battle for a European federal State may be conducted from a more advanced stage. They often mention a symbolic value of the very word Constitution and of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (that would lead European citizens to start thinking of Europe as a political community). They refer to the European Minister of Foreign Affairs (who would supposedly create a gradual convergence of foreign and defence policies and in this way would lay the basis for a single European policy), the instrument of the popular petition (that would allow for a popular initiative towards a new constituent Convention) and the possibility of enhanced cooperation (that would allow groups of States to advance in the field of foreign and security policy). According to this view, the federalist battle would shift to within the Constitution: improving something that already exists, it is affirmed, should be easier than creating something anew. If we take our eyes off the text of the Constitution, and look instead to the reality of Europe, outside of the Brussels institutions, it is difficult to escape the feeling that all these are only poorly founded hopes. The alleged evolutionary possibilities of the text of the Constitution cannot be considered in abstract, but in light of the reality of Europe to which the Constitution refers. Let’s see then what the reality of Europe is, the facts, not what it says on paper in the Charter of the Draft Constitution.
The European Union has now got 25 Member States, and in a few years’ time it will have 28-30 of them. They no longer have a shared vision of their past not to mention a vision of their future. There is no longer a shared past, because subsequent enlargements to new members have progressively weakened the force and the significance of the initial pact agreed at the foundation of the first European Community, “the first conventions of the European Federation” evoked by the Schuman Declaration. There is no shared vision of the present and future of Europe either. Twelve Member States have adopted the single currency, whilst some countries (Britain, Sweden and Denmark) refuse to. Some Member States participate in the Schengen agreement and others do not and do not intend to do so. Some Member States (around France and Germany) believe that the Union should have an autonomous position on the international stage, whilst others (Britain, and various new Member States) believe that it should always go along with the United States. Some Member States (again around France and Germany) believe that the Union must sooner or later evolve towards political unity, whilst others consider it to be simply a form of international integration. It is undeniable that the enlargement to new countries has made the balance of power shift in favour of the latter. It is no coincidence that enlargement has represented the priority of the European policy of Great Britain ever since Margaret Thatcher. Today for many Member States the prospect of the transformation of the Union into a Federal State, if this was ever to happen, is inconceivable. It is a structural situation, which is the result of positions that are deeply rooted in a large part of the political class and in the public opinion of these countries. The Constitution reflects and seals this situation of division. The Union — far from having completed an important step that has a wealth of potential on the road to its federal unification — has in reality set off on the road of being transformed into a sort of European United Nations.
Let us now look at the second request that forms the basis of the strategy of the Constitution: a popular mobilisation to lay claim to a new Convention (this time a constituent one) by 2008. At the basis of this request is the conviction that the national governments are by now only an obstacle to the construction of Europe, that therefore a popular mobilisation is necessary to impose Europe on the governments, and that the instrument that makes this possible is popular action for the convocation of a new Convention, this time with a constituent mandate, to amend the present Constitution in a federal direction. All this is often portrayed as the logical continuation of the traditional constituent strategy of the federalists who belong to the tradition of Altiero Spinelli and Mario Albertini. In reality it is only a kind of vulgate of these principles that, more or less consciously, entirely distorts its meaning and use. By constituent strategy the federalists always meant to show that the unification of Europe will not happen on its own as an almost automatic result of gradual economic integration, but that it requires a specific constituent act, a founding act. It requires a demonstration of will by States and citizens that decide to yield part of their sovereignty and put it into a new State. In this process governments are “an instrument and an obstacle”, as Altiero Spinelli used to say: an obstacle because naturally they are reluctant to yield their own national power, but also an indispensable instrument because they remain the final holders of this power and of the legitimacy of its use in relation to their citizens. In this process, the Constituent Assembly is the instrument through which those governments — and only those — that have decided to give life to the federation, or are at least willing to concretely examine the possibility of going along this road (that is to say sharing their sovereignty), can carry out and shape their decisions thanks to the force of democratic public debate and the political dynamics that would be established within it, contrary to diplomatic conferences, that would run every plan into the dry shores of counterposing national interests.[4] What is proposed today with the strategy of the Constitution has however nothing to do with all this. Those who maintain that national governments are now simply obstacles, enemies of the unity of Europe, and that the Constituent Assembly would make a Europe without and against governments, are renouncing the difficult struggle with the complexity of power and are simply descending into movementism and demagogy. Those who maintain that convening a new Convention with representatives of all the Member States of the Union would lead to a federal Constitution for the Union, are confusing constituent strategy for assemblyism.
The Convention on the future of Europe that has been working over the last year has not led to the European Federation not due to lack of courage, or because there was no Spinelli in its ranks, or because the federalists were not able to exercise sufficient pressure. It did not do so simply because it could not: it was an instrument of the Union, a divided Union whose Member States — and I emphasise, all Member States — had absolutely no intention of turning into a federation. Even if the Convention had wanted to, it could not found the European Federation simply because it did not have the power to do so: the Convention could, and probably did so as best it could, elaborate a Constitution for the Europe that exists today (a divided Union with 25 members), but it could not elaborate a Constitution for a federation that does not yet exist and that nobody has decided to create. All this will only repeat itself with any new Convention which is set up within the framework of the Union. It goes without saying that there can be no “constituent” Convention between States that have no intention of constituting any new entity and that instead are, in a large majority of cases, opposed to such a prospect. Two, three, even ten subsequent Conventions will clash with the same contradictions: Europe in fact does not find itself simply faced with a problem of method with which to reach political unity, but above all faces a problem of framework in which this is possible to achieve. For this reason the strategy of the Constitution — and every federalist initiative that assumes the Union will evolve as a single subject towards a federation — is set for defeat.
 
The “Strategy of the Federal Core”.
 
The reason for these criticisms of mine is not to call for an opposition to the adoption or ratification of the Constitution. We have a much more difficult challenge. Giscard d’Estaing years ago had proposed the differentiation between Europe as a space (Europe-espace) and Europe as a power (Europe-puissance), complaining that the European leaders always privilege the former over the construction of the latter.[5] The Draft Constitution deals with the problem of Europe as a space, creating a continental institutional framework for 25-30 countries that surely do want to manage their own integration, even if they are not prepared to go down the road of their own federal unification. In this light the Constitution has an important function of its own to play. However it provides no answers to the problem of Europe as a power. This is the problem that needs to be tackled after the Constitution.
As I have tried to show, if the European Union, with its 25 Member States and in a few years’ time 28-30 Member States, is structurally incapable of evolving towards a federation (in the true sense of a federal State), the inescapable conclusion is that the only possible alternative is that of a “Europe of concentric circles”, to use an expression coined at the time of the reflections on the creation of the Euro and one and that is dear to Jacques Delors.[6] Ln other words it is necessary to preserve the Union as a framework of a continental integration that is geographically broad but politically weak, but at the same time create within it a hard core that acts as a “magnet” for the other countries, as Wolfgang Schäuble and Karl Lamers had already called for in 1994.[7] A “vanguard” of countries, “inside or outside of the Union Treaties”, as Joschka Fischer evoked in his speech to Humboldt University in 2000,[8] should go ahead and found the first core of a federal state open to any other countries if these want to adhere to it. This would create, in the words of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing a “federation in the confederation of the greater Europe”[9] that would allow the need for enlargement (and of further enlargements in the next few years, until the Union includes also Turkey) to be reconciled with the need for political unification. In this light France and Germany, along with the other founding countries of the first Communities, have a special responsibility, due to their history and to the more favourable attitude of their political classes and public opinion.
Various objections are made to the perspective and strategy of the federal core. Allow me to examine just the main ones — and excuse me for the inevitable simplification — hoping that such examination helps to explain the features of the action that we are proposing. The first objection is that the strategy of the federal core would place the federalists entirely outside of the political process and it would confine their actions to simple acts of testimony. We would give up trying to exploit the real contradictions of the Europe that exists, so we are accused, and we would confine ourselves to declamating the Europe that we would like to see. It seems to me that an objection of this kind is founded on a questionable conception of the political process to which we are referring. It is clear that today, by pursuing the strategy of the Constitution, it is easier to talk with the political class, to participate in the official debate on Europe, to exploit the space for communication and action that the official Europe offers. The same would have happened ten years ago if instead of launching the campaign for the European Constitution we had occupied ourselves with the reforms discussed in the various intergovernmental Conferences. Or, looking further back in time, it would have been the same if in the Fifties the federalists had elected to be part of the process of the construction of the Common Market instead of laying the organisational and political bases with which to re-launch the construction of European unity through a constitutional process. This would not have meant, and would still not mean today, staying in the process, but simply accepting the status quo. In order to promote change it is often necessary to work at unhinging the certainties of the political class and the official pro-Europeans and to create the basis for a new process.
The second objection is that a federal core is not desirable because it would divide Europe, it would discriminate between first division States and second division States. It would perhaps create a federation between a few States of Europe, so it is said, but would not resolve the problem of how to create a federation for the whole of Europe. This objection is based on a misunderstanding and on a myth. The misunderstanding is that federal core is intended to mean a closed and exclusive core, whilst instead we are all calling for an open and inclusive core aimed at extending to new countries when these demand it. The myth is that Europe today is already in some way united and that therefore an initiative for a preliminary core of a European federal state would divide it. In reality the very opposite is true. The Europe of today is a divided Europe and the present Constitution seals this division, whilst the start of a federal core would establish a space for unity in an area where this is possible today and would create the condition for greater unity in the near future when other countries want to join. This is what happened with the creation of the Euro. Sometimes it is necessary to split up in order to be able to reunite more solidly. If a group of countries were to decide to create the first core of a European federal state, it is easy to see that it would immediately attract many other countries, starting from those that are part of the single currency and that therefore most strongly feel the need for a political union. Those who believe that a federation is necessary and urgent and that the Union of today cannot transform itself into a federation must admit that someone has to start. Those who do not accept this perspective actually renounce the very aim of the European Federation and are reduced to hoping that the internal and international challenges do not put the whole European construction into crisis and that the Union can therefore allow itself to carry on for ever in an institutional process of slow, gradual and endless improvement involving all its Member States.
The third objection, this time by those who in some way admit that the European Federation cannot be built with all the 25-30 Member States from the start (and above all not with Britain), is that an act of rupture would be easier within the Constitution than outside of it, because it would shift responsibility for the rupture onto the Member States that disagree and would give those States that are favourable to it the force of the law. This objection does not account for the fact that if a group of States that are in favour of giving life to a European federal state is to emerge, considering the conditions of the Union today, such a group will most probably be a minority and not a majority, and in the context of the Union it would succumb before the resistance of those who oppose it. Experience shows that any initiative that tries to use the instruments of the Union in reality becomes an instrument of it, because favourable forces become discouraged and retrace their steps and the power of interdiction of those countries that are against prevails. In the framework of the Union even the simple enhanced cooperation, provided for by the Nice Treaty and reconfirmed in the Draft Constitution, become almost impossible to start off (at least in important political fields) and are condemned to remain intergovernmental (as the very name cooperation suggests, if somebody had any doubt). Some raise the issue that Europe will never have two parliaments, two governments, etc. This seems to me somehow a secondary issue. One cannot foresee the entire process of the formation of the first core of a European Federal State. It is possible that from the start it may attract quite a considerable number of Member States of the Union and that it may rapidly lead to a situation where the institutions of the Union are absorbed by those of the federal state, and, from the institutional point of view, therefore one needs only to tackle the problem of the relationship with countries that do not participate (as in the case of the creation of the Euro). But it is also possible, and perhaps more probable, that in the initial period the core includes or extends only to a few countries, foreseeably those that have adopted the Euro, and that therefore it is necessary to think about the co-existence between the institutions of the Union and those of the federation, just as decades ago it was necessary to think about the institutions of the Community in parallel with the institutions of the Council of Europe. At that point, the problem will not be insurmountable.
The fourth objection is that an appeal to the Heads of State and Government — like the one tested with the action-postcards used in the last few years by those proposing the strategy of the federal core — would consider national governments as the only participants in the process, to the exclusion of citizens, parties, and organisations and that this would repudiate the traditional and historical constituent strategy of the federalists. The exact opposite is true. The appeal truly wants to be an instrument of popular action, it wants to give citizens, local politicians, civil society associations, local authorities, etc. an instrument with which to make their own voices heard by their Heads of State and Government. The recall to the European federal state, and the emphasis on statehood and sovereignty, serve precisely to remind the political class and the citizens about the magnitude of the challenge that Europe is facing and of the choices that need to be made, thus saving the essential trait of federalism in the tradition of Altiero Spinelli and Mario Albertini against the dangers of slipping towards what us federalists once used to call “Europeanism”. The strategy of the federal core, far from being an abandonment of the constituent strategy, removes it from the framework in which proposing it becomes almost farcical (the idea of the constituent Convention of the Union of today) and re-proposes it where this becomes a serious strategic instrument (the Constituent Assembly for those countries that have decided to give life to the federation or at least to take it into consideration), giving it back the meaning that was its own since the start.[10]
The fifth objection is that any reference to the six founding countries is arbitrary and reflects a view of European unification that belongs to the past. It is also maintained that the founding countries are themselves divided, with the governments of Italy and the Netherlands having positions that if not Eurosceptic are certainly not federalist. It must be clarified first of all that when we make an appeal to the six founding countries we don’t think that these must necessarily be the only ones to form the first core, forcibly excluding the others, but we intend simply to identify a framework in which such an initiative can start from and to make a strong symbolic appeal to those countries that, for objective historical reasons, have more responsibility than others in the process of European construction. It is true to say that the propulsive force of the founding countries has weakened, and that their present influence on the direction of the enlarged Union is diminishing, and is true that Euroscepticism is also growing within them, something that would have been inconceivable only a few years ago. This is in itself a sign of the decline of the process of European integration. But it is also true that the founding countries are the only countries in which the trace of the initial meaning of the creation of Europe is still present in a profound way and in which the disposition towards Europe of the political class, the economic and social parties and the citizens as a whole is still such that, if the choice to create a European federal state were to be present, it would find the necessary consensus. This is inconceivable in countries like Britain or Sweden or the majority of the new member States. It is also difficult to think that potentially favourable countries such as Spain, Greece or Austria, that would probably join an initiative for a federal core, would be among its initial promoters. It is in fact easier to imagine that, if involved in the initial phase, they would represent the doubts and objections of the classic “lukewarm supporters”. It is no coincidence that the founding countries were the driving force of every initiative that advanced the process of European unification and, likewise, even over the last year, during the war on Iraq, France, Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg were the only ones to represent the hope of unity and independence of Europe.
 
The Role of the Federalists.
 
The road that I have described — I am well aware — is enormously difficult. Nevertheless it represents a possibility and a hope. The fundamental question of today is whether there is still a part of the European people — apart of the countries, of the political classes, of the citizens that are potentially in favour of the foundation of the European federal state. It is possible that the answer to this question is no. It is tragically possible that the decline of Europe, the lassitude of the political classes, the indifference of the citizens, the force of inertia of the existing institutions, are now such that the idea of the European Federation is disappearing from the political perspective of Europeans. But if there is still even a weak glimmer of hope that things do not remain like this, it is to be entrusted to the possibility of the initiative of a group of countries in the terms that I have described. This is where the federalists come into play.
Federalist organisations have little power. They constitute a small movement. Nevertheless they have a great heritage of credibility and a capacity for action that can prove to be decisive at moments when opportunities emerge. We should admit that federalist organisations have some serious responsibilities for the fact that the window of opportunity that opened up with the debate that sprung from Joschka Fischer’s speech in 2000 has closed. At that time Germany had made a proposal to France, that had not been accepted. The federalists, unfortunately, were incapable of concentrating all their energies on the proposals of Fischer and to throw them to the political classes of their own countries, even when these positions had been forgotten or even renounced by their very proponents.
Such responsibility weighs down heavily on federalists for the future. If in the next few years the Constitution is adopted and then ratified, the Union will find itself again searching for a solution to the unresolved challenges before it. If the Constitution is met with non-ratification in a few countries (especially important countries), a serious crisis could open up. In both the cases the only evolutionary response would be that of an initiative for a federal core. Only we can make these ideas circulate among governments, the political class as a whole, citizens and civil society organisations, to create the conditions in which, when the opportunity to take an initiative for a federal core presents itself, it will be taken and consensus will be found.
I know that this Congress will approve the continuation of the strategy of the Constitution by a large majority. We feel nevertheless that it is a losing strategy, which is wasting militant energy and the heritage of credibility that federalist movements still have. For this reason the federalists who believe in the strategy of the federal core will continue their own action and invite all the member and sections of the UEF that do not want to give in to resignation and defeat, to unite in such action, waiting for the day when, we hope, the force of events will lead all of us to being united once again.
 
Paolo Vacca


* In this section, we are publishing several papers presented at the Congress of the Union of European Federalists (Genoa, 19-21 March, 2004), which compare two different strategic standpoints. The texts contain references to the political situation at that time.
** This text is the re-elaboration of the transcript of the report to the UEF Congress and therefore maintains its predominantly oral character.
[1] For an exposition of the positions of the group of federalists of the MFE who adhere to the strategy of the federal core see in particular some of the recent writings of Francesco Rossolillo (“A Call for the Creation of a Federal Core”, in The Federalist, XLII (2000), no. 2; “A Federal Constitution for Europe”, in The Federalist, XLII (2000), no. 3; “For a Federal Pact among Europe’s Founder Member States”, in The Federalist, XLV (2003), no. 2) and the Internet sites www.euraction.org and www.alternativaeuropea.org that explain the positions and actions of the group.
[2] The identification made between Constituent Assembly and foundation of the European State is so pivotal to the strategy and action of the federalists who belong to the tradition of Altiero Spinelli and Mario Albertini that there is little sense in giving bibliographical references because this identification in reality permeates the strategic texts and campaigns of the federalists from their beginnings and until very recently. Among the “historical texts” of Altiero Spinelli and Mario Albertini on this subject we can anyway mention some of those from the beginnings of federalist action, for example Altiero Spinelli, “Il modello costituzionale americano e i tentativi di unità europea”, in Luciano Bolis (edited by), La nascita degli Stati Uniti d’America, 1957, republished in Mario Albertini, Il Federalismo, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1993; Id. “La strategia costituente. Rapporto al Consiglio dei popoli d’Europa”, 21 November 1950, in L. Levi - S. Pistone. Trent’anni di vita del Movimento federalista europeo, Milan, Franco Angeli, 1973, republished in La Costituente e il popolo europeo, Quaderni del Dibattito federalista, 2002, no. 7; Mario Alberini, “La crisi di orientamento politico del federalismo europeo”, in Il Federalista, III (1961), republished in Id., Una rivoluzione pacifica. Dalle nazioni all’Europa, Bologna, Il Mulino, 1999 and, for a reprise of the same concepts in the political phase opened up by the Maastricht Treaty: Mario Albertini, “L’Europa dopo Maastricht: gli aspetti politici”, in Il Politico, 1994, republished in Id., Una rivoluzione pacifica, cit.
[3] Voltaire, Candide or optimism.
[4] Altiero Spinelli in “La strategia costituente. Rapporto al Consiglio dei popoli d’Europa”, cit., affirmed: “In order to reach the stage of a constitution for a European government one cannot start from the premise that all the European States must be ready to consent to it today. That would mean not wanting to do anything about it. If we want to arrive at the formation of a preliminary federal core capable of subsequently attracting the other democratic countries of Europe, we need to turn, certainly, to all the States, but we must be prepared to start marching with those who are prepared to do so.”
[5] Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, “Manifeste pour une nouvelle Europe fédérative”, in Revue des Affaires européennes, RAE No.l/95, 11 January, 1995.
[6] The term was coined in the Tindemans Report in 1975 and then re-proposed many times, particularly by Jacques Delors, over the course of the debate on the creation of the single European currency. For a recent re-elaboration by Delors himself, see for example the article “Ma vision d’une fédération des Etats-nations”, in Le Monde des Debats, July 2000 or “L’avant garde en tant que moteur de l’intégration européenne”, Intervention at the International Forum of the Bertelsmann Foundation, Berlin, 19-20 January 2001.
[7] Wolfgang Schäuble and Karl Lamers, “Reflections on European policy”, CDU/CSU Parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Documents on European policy, No. 1895/96, 7-91994.
[8] Joschka Fischer, “From confederacy to federation. Reflections on the aim of European integration”, Speech at the Humboldt University, Berlin, 12 May 2000.
[9] Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Intervention at the National Assembly in occasion of the ratification of The Nice Treaty, 12 June 2001.
[10] For the concept of a “constituent assembly of the willing” see the essay by Altiero Spinelli “La strategia costituente. Rapporto al Consiglio dei popoli d’Europa”, cit., where Spinelli warned: “what is needed is that the States prepared to adhere to the principle of the partial limitation of sovereignty — and only those — agree to convene an appropriate European Assembly for the drawing up of the Federal Union Pact”, and used to recall that the Schuman Plan itself had “been proposed to all the countries of Western Europe, but research towards it was started despite the absence of Britain and the Scandinavian countries”. For a re-proposition of these concepts in the present political phase, and for a distinction between the moment of the pactum unionis and that of the pactum costitutionis, see Francesco Rossolillo, “For a Federal Pact among Europe’s Founder Member States”, cit.

 

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