Year XXVII, 1985, Number 2, Page 139
APPEAL FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION
On June 29th 1985, a huge popular demonstration was held in Milan in support of the European Union timed to coincide with the meeting of the European Council. While the Heads of State and Government were discussing the advisability of convening an inter-governmental conference, jointly entrusted with the European Parliament with the task of drawing up the definitive text of the Treaty for European Union, one hundred thousand people were demonstrating in favour of European Union in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo.
For the first time in the history of the Community it proved possible to mobilise a great mass of citizens on an objective of general and not partisan interest. As a result of the initiative of the European Federalist Movement, a group of eminent intellectual Europeans lent their support and sent an “Appeal for European Union” to the Heads of State and Government of the Community which is reproduced below.
For far too long Europe seems to have been on the decline. The continent whose prowess in arts, thinking and civilisation has provided the backbone of today’s world has no say in the crucial decisions on which tomorrow’s world depends. Employment, money, computer technology, nuclear technology, the conquest of space and the control of armaments are fields where Europe is a hopeful, wishful onlooker, powerless to take any decisions. Europe is an object, not a subject of history. And yet Europe has never prospered so much. A large part of cultural development and scientific research is still carried out in Europe, in all fields. The world’s destiny is clearly tied to Europe’s destiny.
Europe’s crisis is a crisis in her political institutions. The divided nation States are not able to face up to the challenge of a world changing before our very eyes, a world needing unified political structures at a continental level. The Community’s institutions do not correspond to what is expected of them: they need to be modified. Europe has no government, nor currency nor defence of its own: each of these is vital for her. We may propose guidelines, ideologies, strong and varied strategies for tomorrow’s Europe. But certainly the varying options can only be compared effectively if there is a common base, an institutional framework which really makes tomorrow’s Europe achievable. It is, therefore, in everybody’s interests to create this framework.
The European Union has been discussed for over forty years. For a long time, there has been a great majority of citizens favourable to a United States of Europe. But there has always been some “realistic” politician ready to claim that such a Union is premature. The reverse is true, for Union may become impossible if we wait any longer, just like ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy who had to abandon Union (on which their prosperity depended) once the most propitious moment had passed.
The European Union is not only the correct reply to Europe’s crisis. It is much more: it is the proper reply to a basic need of the contemporary world. At the continental level, a United Europe would be a model for Africa and Latin America, two continents which, having belatedly adopted the European nation State structure, need, instead, a federal Union. In international relationships, the existence of a new entity called ‘Europe’ would help to eliminate the tensions created by the current bipolar system (which are all the more dangerous precisely because of the weakness of divided Europe). It would hold out promise and prospects for the East European countries and would be an economic and political reference point for Third World countries, whose insistent search for dialogue with Europe is no mere chance.
At a world level, the goal is even higher. Never before have all the various parts of our planet been so interdependent in culture, technology, economy and information. Every man now feels in some way jointly responsible for the fate of every other man. Never before, when the highest manifestations of a civilisation several thousand years old can be snuffed out in a few minutes, together with most of mankind, in the wake of the awful decision of a handful of men, has there been an awareness that man’s common destiny embraces all mankind, both in risks and hopes. As lucidly indicated by various great minds from Kant to Einstein, the future lies in the political unification of all mankind. This is an ideal which is common to very diverse political ideologies and which Christianity itself, on a different level, foreshadows. Only a world federation will put an end to war – which young Europeans today fortunately know nothing about, but which they instinctively hate. A united Europe is a basic step towards the peaceful unification of the entire world. This is today’s goal which in its turn heralds tomorrow’s goal. We need to unite Europe to unite the world.
Utopia? But with no prospect, no ideal to match the demands of one’s age, history is in danger of degenerating into a disordered, fatal train of events. We can never be sure of the outcome, but at least trying is a moral imperative.
For the first time in thirty years, there is a concrete Draft Treaty for European Union. The Draft Treaty was passed on February 14th 1984 by the European Parliament, which is the only body elected by universal suffrage to represent the basic common interests of all Europeans. The large political families, from the Socialists to the Christian Democrats, from Liberals to Communists, worked together on the Draft Treaty. The various governments are about to examine it and may agree to a number of amendments. But the basic principles of the Draft Treaty must not be touched. If no effective powers of government are given to the Commission rather than, as at present, to the Council of Ministers, and if the European Parliament is given no legislative powers, then the Community’s crisis will not be solved. Any proposal by governments which does not accept these two fundamental theses will run counter to the principles of the European Union and ought to be explained to the general public as being just such.
The European Union is the natural development of the EEC. All the Member States of the Community may adhere to the project, or a majority of them, the non-participating countries naturally having the right to continue their partnership with the Union as in the present Community. Let no government, however (perish the thought), try to prevent the States and the peoples who want it from forming a Union.
In these exceptional circumstances, which may not occur again in the future, it is vital for the European Parliament to oversee the Draft Treaty’s progress, and keep faith with the responsibility it has undertaken on behalf of the peoples of Europe. Let political parties and governments be up to their role and at last turn Europe citizens’ desire for Union into fact.
Nicola Abbagnano, Francesco Alberoni, Hans Albert, Rafael Alberti, Edoardo Amaldi, Giulio Carlo Argan, Maurice Aymard, Carlo Bo, Norberto Bobbio, Karl-Dietrich Bracher, Fernand Braudel, Anthony Burgess, Italo Calvino, Guido Carli, Alberto Cavallari, Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, Henri Cartan, Marie-Dominique Chenu, Carlo M. Cipolla, Maria Corti, Sergio Cotta, Mario Dal Pra, Renzo De Felice, Jean Delumeau, Jean Elleinstein, Norbert Elias, Luigi Firpo, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Alessandro Galante Garrone, Natalia Ginzburg, Renato Guttuso, Peter Härtling, Albert Hirschman, Karl Krolow, Jacques Le Goff, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Primo Levi, André Lichnerowicz, Niklas Luhmann, Danilo Mainardi, José Antonio Maravall, Alberto Monticone, Alberto Moravia, Severo Ochoa, Fulvio Papi, John Pinder, Romano Prodi, Rosario Romeo, Jacques Ruffié, Giovanni Sartori, Leonardo Sciascia, Cesare Segre, Paolo Sylos Labini, Jan Tinbergen, Robert Triffin, Peter Ustinov, Leo Valiani, Vercors, Jan Witteveen, Federico Zeri, Antonino Zichichi.