"Whatever is the outcome of the British referendum, Europeans need change now. The issue is clear: How to counteract economic and political, but also moral and cultural marginalization of Europe?
Our challenge is to reconnect with disoriented and unsatisfied citizens to recast an influential Europe able to carry out a project for the future and hope for all; otherwise we will fade away.
Without a new political momentum – designed with and for European citizens – we are facing the risk of a stronger rise of populism in Europe, the same that lead us to our quasi-annihilation. Although history may not repeat itself in the same way, the results would still be disastrous.
A precondition for new dynamics is to acknowledge our common successes: The European Union is the political, economic and social entity, which is the most inclusive, the least unfair and the most democratic, peaceful and diverse the humankind has ever known. “One of the greatest political and economic achievements of modern times » said President Obama. However, keeping Europe’s values and regaining its role as source of progress for all, requires a comprehensive, ambitious and realistic strategy.
Right now, we need a clear roadmap. EU institutions and all Member States should work on this, or at least a set of Member States around France and Germany. To restore a mutual trust and relaunch positive dynamics, we recommend six strategic initiatives:
1. Reinforcing European democracy is essential. How could we feel European without common citizenship values? Member States should implement a common civic and citizenship education programme and firmly reaffirm that the future president of the European Commission will only be selected depending on the outcome of European elections. Moreover, clarifying the rules as regards EU membership referendums should avoid any future wheeler-dealing. A Europe à la carte is not an option.
2. A strategic EU defence and security initiative is necessary to protect EU citizens. Member States should fulfil their commitments as regards internal security: strengthening exchanges in matters of police, justice and intelligence. The relevant bodies such as Europol and Eurojust should be reinforced. In terms of external security, we need a genuine and modern European border policy based on a European border and coast guard, with modern control tools but also humanitarian reception facilities, in line with our values. Meanwhile, the EU must develop a neighbourhood stabilization policy, including economic, cultural, diplomatic and military instruments, endowed with adequate human and financial resources.
3. The third initiative should deal with management of refugee flows. The EU-Turkey deal is not sustainable neither in practice nor ethically. Turkey is overwhelmed and smuggling is prospering on other routes. Europe must choose an alternative: receive, integrate and train refugees, but also ensuring good conditions if a return in their origin country is possible. It is not about receiving all refugees, but those keen to integrate our societies and accept our values. Such a policy will only be accepted by European citizens if Europe can improve their everyday lives.
4. This is the challenge of prolonging and expanding the Juncker plan, in order to relaunch growth: investing in key industries of the future, which create local jobs and durably modernise our economies and confirm our competitive advantage. This must be part of an offensive “common industrial policy” to regain our autonomy. For example, a housing development and restoration plan, combining the use of advanced new materials and digital technologies would improve our citizens’
quality of life and give us a global leadership in this sector. We also recommend five other plans targeting transports, renewable energy, digital skills, health and cultural and creative industries.
5. The Eurozone must be repaired and strengthened. We need to enhance its growth potential and ability to deal with asymmetric shocks but also to foster economic and social convergence. The European Stability Mechanism should be adapted to address these objectives. We have to consider Eurozone's fiscal capacity as well as providing a backstop to the Banking Union.
6. The sixth initiative is a “Secondary school Erasmus”. The issue here is a basic one: democratising Erasmus and expanding cultural horizons of all young European citizens, in order to promote equality and common sense of belonging.
These six initiatives would place European citizens at the heart of the European project and encourage growth, job creation and innovation. If we have the political will, this overall plan can be implemented within a two and a half years' time. Roosevelt did it in 1933 with the New Deal. Our advanced economies should be able to do it via new resources and unused EU budget margins. Own resources and greater joint borrowing via the EIB can be envisaged too.
In the medium term, the mobilisation of European citizens to engage in a collective reflection should constitute a strong momentum for a new intergovernmental conference or a new European convention to make Europe a great democratic, cultural and economic power, guaranteeing solidarity and fundamental rights – which are under threat – and a power that has the means of its sovereignty. The new treaty will possibly engage only those Member States willing to strengthen integration and convinced that a European public interest is not limited to the addition of national interests.
All this will only be possible if the dozens of millions of Europeans who are convinced that the future
The signatories of the Appeal of the May 9th - a Roadmap for a New European Renaissance are:
Guillaume Klossa (FR), author, initiator of the roadmap, founder of EuropaNova, former Sherpa to the reflection group on the future of Europe (European Council)
László Andor (HU), former European Commissioner
Lionel Baier (CH), filmmaker
Michel Barnier (FR), former Minister of foreign affairs and former Vice-President of the European Commission, European Popular Party
Mercedes Bresso (IT), MEP, former President of the Committee of the Regions
Daniel Cohn-Bendit (DE-FR), former President of “The Greens” Group, European Parliament
Georgios Dassis (GR), trade unionist, President of the European economic and social committee Philippe de Buck (BE), former Director general of BusinessEurope, member of the European Economic and Social Committee,
Felipe González(ES), former Prime Minister, former President of the reflection group on the future of Europe (European Council)
Kirsten van den Hul (NL), writer and editorial writer
Danuta Hubner (PL), former European Commissioner, president of the Committee of Constitutional Affairs, European Popular Party, European Parliament
Robert Menasse (AT), writer
Sofi Oksanen (FIN), writer
Maria João Rodrigues (PT), member of EU Presidency teams, former Minister, Vice-Chair of the Socialists and Democrats Group, European Parliament
Roberto Saviano (IT), writer
Gesine Schwan (DE), President of the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform
Guy Verhofstadt (BE), former Prime Minister, Chairman of the ALDE Group, European Parliament Sign and
Join us at www.m9m.eu
For any information, contact Guillaume@europanova.eu ; + 33 6 72 96 31 11
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