The context

The idea of a United Europe has its roots in the 18th and 19th centuries, but remains the aspiration of a few intellectuals.

Between the two world wars, manifestos and books were published by the first federalist intellectuals, who, criticising the division of Europe into sovereign states, predicted the next world war, but remained unheard voices.

During the Second World War, within the resistance in the different European countries, intellectuals and politicians from the currents persecuted by Nazi-fascism, developed the idea of the need for a United Europe with great clarity.

The UEF's political analysis

The tragedy of Nazi-fascism and the disastrous outcomes of the Second World War clearly show that only a federal Europe can avoid the perverse spiral in which nation states, prisoners of their own size, pursue social and economic development through violence and war and, in a continuous effort to prepare for war, militarise society according to totalitarian and illiberal political ideologies. Evidence of this political vision can be found in all Resistance movements.

European peace is the cornerstone of world peace. Indeed, in the space of a single generation, Europe has been the epicentre of two world conflicts, which originated mainly from the existence of 30 sovereign states on this continent. The most important thing is to remedy this anarchy by creating a federal union among the peoples of Europe.

[From the Declaration of European Resistance, 1944].

The UEF action

The most lucid document of this period is undoubtedly the Ventotene Manifesto, drafted in 1941 by Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni in exile on the island of Ventotene.

The dissemination of the Manifesto's theses in Resistance circles, which also took place through the clandestine periodical L'Unità Europea (which is still the magazine of the MFE today), led to the foundation of the European Federalist Movement in Milan at a clandestine meeting on 27-28 August 1943.

On 15 December 1946, the Union of European Federalists was officially brought into life to co-ordinate and intensify the activities of the different federalist movements across Europe. They campaigned for a 'United States of Europe,' as an alternative to the divisions, which fostered the devastating war.

The idea of a United Europe has its roots in the 18th and 19th centuries, but remains the aspiration of a few intellectuals.

Between the two world wars, manifestos and books were published by the first federalist intellectuals, who, criticising the division of Europe into sovereign states, predicted the next world war, but remained unheard voices.

During the Second World War, within the resistance in the different European countries, intellectuals and politicians from the currents persecuted by Nazi-fascism, developed the idea of the need for a United Europe with great clarity.

The tragedy of Nazi-fascism and the disastrous outcomes of the Second World War clearly show that only a federal Europe can avoid the perverse spiral in which nation states, prisoners of their own size, pursue social and economic development through violence and war and, in a continuous effort to prepare for war, militarise society according to totalitarian and illiberal political ideologies. Evidence of this political vision can be found in all Resistance movements.

European peace is the cornerstone of world peace. Indeed, in the space of a single generation, Europe has been the epicentre of two world conflicts, which originated mainly from the existence of 30 sovereign states on this continent. The most important thing is to remedy this anarchy by creating a federal union among the peoples of Europe.

[From the Declaration of European Resistance, 1944].

The most lucid document of this period is undoubtedly the Ventotene Manifesto, drafted in 1941 by Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni in exile on the island of Ventotene.

The dissemination of the Manifesto's theses in Resistance circles, which also took place through the clandestine periodical L'Unità Europea (which is still the magazine of the MFE today), led to the foundation of the European Federalist Movement in Milan at a clandestine meeting on 27-28 August 1943.

On 15 December 1946, the Union of European Federalists was officially brought into life to co-ordinate and intensify the activities of the different federalist movements across Europe. They campaigned for a 'United States of Europe,' as an alternative to the divisions, which fostered the devastating war.

The context

The US, concerned about the economic weakness and division of Europe, launched the Plan in 1947.

Marshall, an extraordinary plan of economic aid given to Europe as a whole, which states were to share through common institutions.

The 16 Western European states that joined the Plan formed the OECE (Organisation for Economic Cooperation in Europe) in 1948 to distribute the aid. The following year, the OECE was joined by the Council of Europe, which promotes democracy and human rights in Europe.

The UEF's political analysis

The federalists hoped that the end of the war would bring with it the birth of the European Federation. However, the victorious countries reintegrated the European nation states, with the exception of Germany, which was divided into four occupation zones.

The American Marshall Plan initiative thus renewed the hopes of the European federalists for a rapid European federation.

The UEF action

This period focused the federalists campaigning on the transformation of the Advisory Assembly of the Council of Europe into the Constituent Assembly of a European Federation.

Their fundamental tool was a petition, which was signed by thousands of citizens and a large number of eminent politicians, which asked the Advisory Assembly to draw up a proposal for a federal pact among key European countries.

A petition gathered 500,000 signatures in Italy alone and, in November 1950, five thousand members of the newly-formed Young European Federalists (JEF) marched to support the Pact in Strasbourg.

The US, concerned about the economic weakness and division of Europe, launched the Plan in 1947.

Marshall, an extraordinary plan of economic aid given to Europe as a whole, which states were to share through common institutions.

The 16 Western European states that joined the Plan formed the OECE (Organisation for Economic Cooperation in Europe) in 1948 to distribute the aid. The following year, the OECE was joined by the Council of Europe, which promotes democracy and human rights in Europe.

The federalists hoped that the end of the war would bring with it the birth of the European Federation. However, the victorious countries reintegrated the European nation states, with the exception of Germany, which was divided into four occupation zones.

The American Marshall Plan initiative thus renewed the hopes of the European federalists for a rapid European federation.

This period focused the federalists campaigning on the transformation of the Advisory Assembly of the Council of Europe into the Constituent Assembly of a European Federation.

Their fundamental tool was a petition, which was signed by thousands of citizens and a large number of eminent politicians, which asked the Advisory Assembly to draw up a proposal for a federal pact among key European countries.

A petition gathered 500,000 signatures in Italy alone and, in November 1950, five thousand members of the newly-formed Young European Federalists (JEF) marched to support the Pact in Strasbourg.

The context

The outbreak of the Cold War led, at the end of 1949, to the creation of two blocs in Europe, the Pact
US-led Atlantic (whose operational arm is NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and the USSR-led Warsaw Pact. This made it indispensable for the West to revive the German economy and thus the use of its coal and steel.

But France, worried about an unfettered German revival, was against it. The way out was indicated by Jean Monnet, who sent the memorandum to the French Foreign Minister, Schuman, proposing the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).

The proposal was accepted by Schuman and made public with the declaration of 9 May 1950 (which we remember today as Europe Day): France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg agreed.

The UEF's political analysis

The great novelty of the ECSC is the establishment of a supranational Community that manages the mineral and industrial resources of its member countries (and not only the German ones) directly and without government constraints.

Thus began the functionalist approach to European integration. This method allowed European states to make partial progress in the integration process through collaboration between states alone, without touching the issue of sovereignty: in the long run, however, this system would reveal all its limitations and contradictions.

The UEF action

One of the most significant event of this period was the Hague Congress, 7-11 May 1948, was attended by hundreds of delegates from across Europe including many leading political figures of the time such as Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, Pierre-Henri Teitgen and François Mitterrand. The Congress was a special moment in the history of Europe and adopted a statement recognising: 'the urgent duty of the nations of Europe to create an economic and political union in order to assure security and social progress' and calling for the creation of a European Assembly and Charter of Human Rights.

The outbreak of the Cold War led, at the end of 1949, to the creation of two blocs in Europe, the Pact
US-led Atlantic (whose operational arm is NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and the USSR-led Warsaw Pact. This made it indispensable for the West to revive the German economy and thus the use of its coal and steel.

But France, worried about an unfettered German revival, was against it. The way out was indicated by Jean Monnet, who sent the memorandum to the French Foreign Minister, Schuman, proposing the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).

The proposal was accepted by Schuman and made public with the declaration of 9 May 1950 (which we remember today as Europe Day): France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg agreed.

The great novelty of the ECSC is the establishment of a supranational Community that manages the mineral and industrial resources of its member countries (and not only the German ones) directly and without government constraints.

Thus began the functionalist approach to European integration. This method allowed European states to make partial progress in the integration process through collaboration between states alone, without touching the issue of sovereignty: in the long run, however, this system would reveal all its limitations and contradictions.

One of the most significant event of this period was the Hague Congress, 7-11 May 1948, was attended by hundreds of delegates from across Europe including many leading political figures of the time such as Konrad Adenauer, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, Pierre-Henri Teitgen and François Mitterrand. The Congress was a special moment in the history of Europe and adopted a statement recognising: 'the urgent duty of the nations of Europe to create an economic and political union in order to assure security and social progress' and calling for the creation of a European Assembly and Charter of Human Rights.

The context

Towards the end of 1950, with the beginning of the war in Korea, there was the risk of a 'hot' war between the US and the USSR. This prompted the US and the UK to raise the issue of rebuilding the German army in NATO to strengthen the defence of Europe.

For obvious reasons, the French government was against it, but it was not strong enough to impose its no. Thus the idea arose in France to use the political-institutional model created with the ECSC to create a European army to rearm the Germans, but under the control of a supranational European authority, the European Defence Community (EDC).

France thus proposed the creation of the EDC to the other European countries of the Atlantic Pact. West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg joined.

The UEF's political analysis

The French proposal of the EDC took the ECSC model: European armies would be placed under the orders of a European Commissioner.

However, the CED would not deal with a specific sector of the economy like the ECSC, but with a vital and essential part of the state: defence.

Indeed, making a European army without a state would have led to contradictory consequences:
Without a political head, a European army would have been a mere military coalition of national armies, which would have achieved the contradictory result of recreating the German army by essentially placing it under the orders of its government (and not a European Commissioner);
European armies under the command of the European Commissioner would operate within NATO and thus within its strongest country, the USA, thus becoming troops of tributary states.

The UEF action

Few people know about this: the MFE sent the Italian government led by Alcide De Gasperi a Memo written by Altiero Spinelli, which pointed out the two contradictions inherent in the project of a European army without a European state.

De Gasperi read the Pro-memoria and became convinced that the only solution was the creation of a European state so that the European army would be truly politically and democratically controlled by Europeans.

De Gasperi, after persuading the other European governments to join the project, succeeded in having the ECD project include that of a European Political Community (ECP) and to entrust the enlarged ECSC Assembly (the Ad Hoc Assembly) with the task of drawing up the draft statute The ECP would pave the way for European federal unity.

However, the CED, which was submitted to the parliaments for ratification, was rejected by the French National Assembly on 30 August 1954 and for domestic political reasons. And with the CED, the European Political Community project also fell.

Towards the end of 1950, with the beginning of the war in Korea, there was the risk of a 'hot' war between the US and the USSR. This prompted the US and the UK to raise the issue of rebuilding the German army in NATO to strengthen the defence of Europe.

For obvious reasons, the French government was against it, but it was not strong enough to impose its no. Thus the idea arose in France to use the political-institutional model created with the ECSC to create a European army to rearm the Germans, but under the control of a supranational European authority, the European Defence Community (EDC).

France thus proposed the creation of the EDC to the other European countries of the Atlantic Pact. West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg joined.

The French proposal of the EDC took the ECSC model: European armies would be placed under the orders of a European Commissioner.

However, the CED would not deal with a specific sector of the economy like the ECSC, but with a vital and essential part of the state: defence.

Indeed, making a European army without a state would have led to contradictory consequences:
Without a political head, a European army would have been a mere military coalition of national armies, which would have achieved the contradictory result of recreating the German army by essentially placing it under the orders of its government (and not a European Commissioner);
European armies under the command of the European Commissioner would operate within NATO and thus within its strongest country, the USA, thus becoming troops of tributary states.

Few people know about this: the MFE sent the Italian government led by Alcide De Gasperi a Memo written by Altiero Spinelli, which pointed out the two contradictions inherent in the project of a European army without a European state.

De Gasperi read the Pro-memoria and became convinced that the only solution was the creation of a European state so that the European army would be truly politically and democratically controlled by Europeans.

De Gasperi, after persuading the other European governments to join the project, succeeded in having the ECD project include that of a European Political Community (ECP) and to entrust the enlarged ECSC Assembly (the Ad Hoc Assembly) with the task of drawing up the draft statute The ECP would pave the way for European federal unity.

However, the CED, which was submitted to the parliaments for ratification, was rejected by the French National Assembly on 30 August 1954 and for domestic political reasons. And with the CED, the European Political Community project also fell.

The context

State power resides in institutions and constitutions, and over the decades helps to define the identity of the people it governs.

The existence of this power finds tangible manifestation in everyday use e.g. through the use of currency and through borders.

The UEF's political analysis

The borders between European states have always been the manifestation of the existence of nation states. A manifestation of power that makes it impossible to imagine being part of a larger community.

Europe without borders' has thus become a visible and recognisable proposal for European federalists to introduce the topic of building a united Europe into the political debate. Since the 1950s, the federalists have proposed the creation of a European space without internal borders, which would guarantee the free movement of people.

An area in which the inhabitants of European states can also feel like European citizens, with the right to freely cross-national borders.

The UEF action

In 1950, among the numerous activities of the youth, especially the students, the well-planned operation of 300 young people stood out.

A famous manifestation is that on the 6th of August 1950 where300 young people demonstrated at the German-French border near Wissembourg/Weiler and St. Germanshof and tore down the toll-house barriers. The demonstration is today known as the 'storm of students'.

Men and women, students, professors, politicians and journalists from 9 different European countries, who all believed in the idea of a united Europe, gathered there. "Open' borders by means of a European 'identity card' and a federal Europe were essential demands of the declaration written and read out at that time.

State power resides in institutions and constitutions, and over the decades helps to define the identity of the people it governs.

The existence of this power finds tangible manifestation in everyday use e.g. through the use of currency and through borders.

The borders between European states have always been the manifestation of the existence of nation states. A manifestation of power that makes it impossible to imagine being part of a larger community.

Europe without borders' has thus become a visible and recognisable proposal for European federalists to introduce the topic of building a united Europe into the political debate. Since the 1950s, the federalists have proposed the creation of a European space without internal borders, which would guarantee the free movement of people.

An area in which the inhabitants of European states can also feel like European citizens, with the right to freely cross-national borders.

In 1950, among the numerous activities of the youth, especially the students, the well-planned operation of 300 young people stood out.

A famous manifestation is that on the 6th of August 1950 where300 young people demonstrated at the German-French border near Wissembourg/Weiler and St. Germanshof and tore down the toll-house barriers. The demonstration is today known as the 'storm of students'.

Men and women, students, professors, politicians and journalists from 9 different European countries, who all believed in the idea of a united Europe, gathered there. "Open' borders by means of a European 'identity card' and a federal Europe were essential demands of the declaration written and read out at that time.

The context

In 1955 in Messina, in the wake of the disappointment over the collapse of the EDC, the Conference of Foreign Ministers of the six ECSC countries commissioned the Belgian Foreign Minister, Paul-Henri Spaak, to draw up a plan for the creation of an Economic Community and an Atomic Energy Community: in the politicians' expectations, the gradual integration of the economies of the Six would create the conditions for the political unification of Europe.

This led to the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC, the so-called 'Common Market') and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) signed in Rome in 1957.
The three communities were merged into one organisation in 1967.

Britain applied in 1961 to join the EEC both to enjoy its successes and in the hope of slowing its progress towards a true economic-monetary union by acting from within.
The flood negotiations were initially blocked by the veto of General De Gaulle's France, but, resumed after his downfall, led to the entry of Great Britain, Denmark, and Ireland into the European Community in 1973.

The UEF's political analysis

The framers of the Treaties of Rome were guided by the belief, inherent in the functionalist approach, that economic integration would, sooner or later, lead almost automatically to political unification.

The realisation of the first stages of the MEC enabled a rapid expansion of the economies of the Six, the so-called European economic miracle, effectively strengthening the nation states and temporarily putting the problem of political unification on the back burner.

The federalists denounced this illusion and considered more generally that in the situation following the fall of the CED three fundamental factors that favoured the governments' openness to realising the European federation in the short term had disappeared: (i) the American push for European integration (with the aim of creating a solid bulwark against the USSR); (ii) the acute fear of Soviet expansionism (Stalin's death and the first hints of East-West détente had also contributed decisively to the fall of the CED); (iii) the problem of avoiding German national rearmament was felt with less concern.

The UEF action

Ahead of the foundation of the European Economic Community, the federalists were divided by the European integration process.
The vast majority of Dutch and German federalists as well as the French 'La Fédération' movement believed that the federalists had to accept a gradual realisation of their vision, and therefore had to actively support economic integration and commit themselves to strengthening the existing embryonic federal principles in the Community system. So they founded a new organisation, the 'Action européenne fédéraliste' (AEF).

Altiero Spinelli, on the other hand, who was supported by the majority of Italian, French and Belgian federalists, was convinced that the European Communities did not dramatically change the European order and their approach was not capable of making significant progress towards European integration.

As a consequence they believed the federalists should harshly criticise these governments' initiatives and contest the gradualist approach inspired by Jean Monnet. The Spinelli faction led to the transformation of the UEF into the 'Mouvement Fédéraliste Européen Supranational' (MFES, the supranational European Federalist Movement) in 1959.

The MFES then began a major campaign to claim the constituent power of the European people.

In 1955 in Messina, in the wake of the disappointment over the collapse of the EDC, the Conference of Foreign Ministers of the six ECSC countries commissioned the Belgian Foreign Minister, Paul-Henri Spaak, to draw up a plan for the creation of an Economic Community and an Atomic Energy Community: in the politicians' expectations, the gradual integration of the economies of the Six would create the conditions for the political unification of Europe.

This led to the Treaties establishing the European Economic Community (EEC, the so-called 'Common Market') and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) signed in Rome in 1957.
The three communities were merged into one organisation in 1967.

Britain applied in 1961 to join the EEC both to enjoy its successes and in the hope of slowing its progress towards a true economic-monetary union by acting from within.
The flood negotiations were initially blocked by the veto of General De Gaulle's France, but, resumed after his downfall, led to the entry of Great Britain, Denmark, and Ireland into the European Community in 1973.

The framers of the Treaties of Rome were guided by the belief, inherent in the functionalist approach, that economic integration would, sooner or later, lead almost automatically to political unification.

The realisation of the first stages of the MEC enabled a rapid expansion of the economies of the Six, the so-called European economic miracle, effectively strengthening the nation states and temporarily putting the problem of political unification on the back burner.

The federalists denounced this illusion and considered more generally that in the situation following the fall of the CED three fundamental factors that favoured the governments' openness to realising the European federation in the short term had disappeared: (i) the American push for European integration (with the aim of creating a solid bulwark against the USSR); (ii) the acute fear of Soviet expansionism (Stalin's death and the first hints of East-West détente had also contributed decisively to the fall of the CED); (iii) the problem of avoiding German national rearmament was felt with less concern.

Ahead of the foundation of the European Economic Community, the federalists were divided by the European integration process.
The vast majority of Dutch and German federalists as well as the French 'La Fédération' movement believed that the federalists had to accept a gradual realisation of their vision, and therefore had to actively support economic integration and commit themselves to strengthening the existing embryonic federal principles in the Community system. So they founded a new organisation, the 'Action européenne fédéraliste' (AEF).

Altiero Spinelli, on the other hand, who was supported by the majority of Italian, French and Belgian federalists, was convinced that the European Communities did not dramatically change the European order and their approach was not capable of making significant progress towards European integration.

As a consequence they believed the federalists should harshly criticise these governments' initiatives and contest the gradualist approach inspired by Jean Monnet. The Spinelli faction led to the transformation of the UEF into the 'Mouvement Fédéraliste Européen Supranational' (MFES, the supranational European Federalist Movement) in 1959.

The MFES then began a major campaign to claim the constituent power of the European people.

The context

In the 1960s, as the end of the transitional period of the Common Market approached, it was a matter of moving from negative economic integration (the elimination of obstacles to freedom of movement) to the development of positive integration (i.e. the European public policies needed to address the regional, social and sectoral imbalances that market automatisms are unable to correct) and to address the problems posed by an increasingly integrated market but with 9 different currencies.

The UEF's political analysis

When Europe has a real government, everyone will be able, with their vote, to strengthen this or that European party, to support the European policy corresponding to their ideals and interests.

But in today's Europe, which does not yet exist as a democratic organisation, what everyone can do for Europe is only to declare themselves for European unity.

Mario Albertini
UEF President

The UEF action

Although only a small part of the public was able to get to know the message of the federalists, these popular campaigns constituted the first example in European history of a grassroots political action capable of developing in a unified manner across national borders in several European countries.

Unhappy that European ambitions had narrowed to a 'Common Market', federalists simulated elections in a number of European cities to elect representatives to a symbolic 'Congress of the European People' - inspired by the Congress of the Indian People led by Mahatma Gandhi - to act as a self-proclaimed European Constituent Assembly. Electoral booths were organised in Italy (Milan and Turin in particular), France (especially in Lyon and Strasbourg), Belgium (notably in Antwerp and Ostend) and Germany and the 'votes' and support of around 640,000 citizens was gathered for the Congress of the European People.

In the 1960s, as the end of the transitional period of the Common Market approached, it was a matter of moving from negative economic integration (the elimination of obstacles to freedom of movement) to the development of positive integration (i.e. the European public policies needed to address the regional, social and sectoral imbalances that market automatisms are unable to correct) and to address the problems posed by an increasingly integrated market but with 9 different currencies.

When Europe has a real government, everyone will be able, with their vote, to strengthen this or that European party, to support the European policy corresponding to their ideals and interests.

But in today's Europe, which does not yet exist as a democratic organisation, what everyone can do for Europe is only to declare themselves for European unity.

Mario Albertini
UEF President

Although only a small part of the public was able to get to know the message of the federalists, these popular campaigns constituted the first example in European history of a grassroots political action capable of developing in a unified manner across national borders in several European countries.

Unhappy that European ambitions had narrowed to a 'Common Market', federalists simulated elections in a number of European cities to elect representatives to a symbolic 'Congress of the European People' - inspired by the Congress of the Indian People led by Mahatma Gandhi - to act as a self-proclaimed European Constituent Assembly. Electoral booths were organised in Italy (Milan and Turin in particular), France (especially in Lyon and Strasbourg), Belgium (notably in Antwerp and Ostend) and Germany and the 'votes' and support of around 640,000 citizens was gathered for the Congress of the European People.

The context
The UEF's political analysis
The UEF action

The work on campaigning for open borders in the early 1950s was continued through the next two decades. European federalists organised numerous actions on the border crossings within Europe.
On 21 May 1983, leaflets were distributed on the border between Strasbourg and Kehl and symbolic border bars were burnt to call for the abolishment of borders.
The Schengen agreement was signed on 14 June 1985.

The work on campaigning for open borders in the early 1950s was continued through the next two decades. European federalists organised numerous actions on the border crossings within Europe.
On 21 May 1983, leaflets were distributed on the border between Strasbourg and Kehl and symbolic border bars were burnt to call for the abolishment of borders.
The Schengen agreement was signed on 14 June 1985.

The context

The six EEC countries eliminated customs duties on goods imported from each of them in 1968, freeing cross-border trade for the first time. They also apply the same duties on their imports from outside. Trade between these six countries and with the rest of the world grew rapidly.

Having completed negative economic integration (the elimination of obstacles to freedom of movement), the need arises to start developing positive integration (i.e. the European public policies needed to address regional, social and sectoral imbalances that market automatisms are unable to correct), especially following the 1972 oil crisis.

The UEF's political analysis

The success of the Common Market created a situation that, while seeming to confirm to governments the validity of the functionalist choice, in fact created an increasingly acute contradiction between the advance of economic integration and the blocking of Community institutional development.

This made the deficits in efficiency and democracy increasingly intolerable, but above all it demonstrated the impossibility of an automatic transition from economic to political integration: thus a convergence emerged, on the subject of European elections, between the Europeanism present in the democratic parties and federalist action.

The UEF action

Faced with the stalemate that was being created, the Italian federalists, under the leadership of Mario Albertini, adopted a new strategy: that of 'constitutional gradualism', based on the idea of pushing national governments to adopt European institutional reforms that, by strengthening a limited institutional aspect of Europe, would create contradictions that would force new institutional progress.

The first step in this direction was identified in the direct election of the European Parliament by universal suffrage as the way to allow the will of the people to become part of the integration process and to stimulate its revival.

The six EEC countries eliminated customs duties on goods imported from each of them in 1968, freeing cross-border trade for the first time. They also apply the same duties on their imports from outside. Trade between these six countries and with the rest of the world grew rapidly.

Having completed negative economic integration (the elimination of obstacles to freedom of movement), the need arises to start developing positive integration (i.e. the European public policies needed to address regional, social and sectoral imbalances that market automatisms are unable to correct), especially following the 1972 oil crisis.

The success of the Common Market created a situation that, while seeming to confirm to governments the validity of the functionalist choice, in fact created an increasingly acute contradiction between the advance of economic integration and the blocking of Community institutional development.

This made the deficits in efficiency and democracy increasingly intolerable, but above all it demonstrated the impossibility of an automatic transition from economic to political integration: thus a convergence emerged, on the subject of European elections, between the Europeanism present in the democratic parties and federalist action.

Faced with the stalemate that was being created, the Italian federalists, under the leadership of Mario Albertini, adopted a new strategy: that of 'constitutional gradualism', based on the idea of pushing national governments to adopt European institutional reforms that, by strengthening a limited institutional aspect of Europe, would create contradictions that would force new institutional progress.

The first step in this direction was identified in the direct election of the European Parliament by universal suffrage as the way to allow the will of the people to become part of the integration process and to stimulate its revival.

The context

In 1976, after the fall of De Gaulle and faced with the increasing difficulties of the Common Market, the Summit of Heads of State and Government decided to call for direct elections of members of the European Parliament. The first elections were held in 1979.

They were the first international elections in history and for the first time directly-elected members of the European Parliament sat according to European political groups.

The UEF's political analysis

Direct election, even if not accompanied by the simultaneous attribution of real powers to the EP, would have had an objective constituent significance.

In fact, by inducing the formation of a European party system and the popular legitimisation of the EP, it would have pushed the latter to assume a de facto constituent role, since the advance of economic integration confronted governments with problems (economic policy, monetary unification, planning at European level, agricultural prices, and so on) that could not be effectively resolved without initiating the construction of a democratic European government

The UEF action

The most significant moments of this mobilisation were:

- the presentation to the Italian Senate in 1969 of a popular initiative bill (it was the first to be presented in Italy) for the direct election of Italian representatives in the EP, signed by approximately 65,000 citizens; this initiative was taken up again in 1973 by the Piedmont, Umbria and Abruzzi regions with the presentation to the Chamber of Deputies of regional initiative bills identical to the one presented by the MFE to the Senate;

- the Campaign for Information and Discussion on the European Election and the European Union (carried out in 1975 in connection with Belgian Prime Minister Tindemans' Mission to advance European integration), which had as its most important aspects a popular petition to the EP in favour of its constituent role signed by 150,000 citizens and a demonstration in Rome, on the occasion of the European Council of 1-2 December 1975, in which 4,000 federalists participated;

- the organisation (between 1976 and 1978) of systematic action on the European parties to urge them to include in their programmes for the European elections a commitment to a federal reform of the EU system;

- the demonstration in Strasbourg on 17 July 1979 in front of the EP building on the occasion of the first session after the June election in which 5,000 young Europeans representing federalist organisations and democratic forces took part, and in which the EP was asked to commit itself to a European government, a European currency and a strong EU budget.

In 1976, after the fall of De Gaulle and faced with the increasing difficulties of the Common Market, the Summit of Heads of State and Government decided to call for direct elections of members of the European Parliament. The first elections were held in 1979.

They were the first international elections in history and for the first time directly-elected members of the European Parliament sat according to European political groups.

Direct election, even if not accompanied by the simultaneous attribution of real powers to the EP, would have had an objective constituent significance.

In fact, by inducing the formation of a European party system and the popular legitimisation of the EP, it would have pushed the latter to assume a de facto constituent role, since the advance of economic integration confronted governments with problems (economic policy, monetary unification, planning at European level, agricultural prices, and so on) that could not be effectively resolved without initiating the construction of a democratic European government

The most significant moments of this mobilisation were:

- the presentation to the Italian Senate in 1969 of a popular initiative bill (it was the first to be presented in Italy) for the direct election of Italian representatives in the EP, signed by approximately 65,000 citizens; this initiative was taken up again in 1973 by the Piedmont, Umbria and Abruzzi regions with the presentation to the Chamber of Deputies of regional initiative bills identical to the one presented by the MFE to the Senate;

- the Campaign for Information and Discussion on the European Election and the European Union (carried out in 1975 in connection with Belgian Prime Minister Tindemans' Mission to advance European integration), which had as its most important aspects a popular petition to the EP in favour of its constituent role signed by 150,000 citizens and a demonstration in Rome, on the occasion of the European Council of 1-2 December 1975, in which 4,000 federalists participated;

- the organisation (between 1976 and 1978) of systematic action on the European parties to urge them to include in their programmes for the European elections a commitment to a federal reform of the EU system;

- the demonstration in Strasbourg on 17 July 1979 in front of the EP building on the occasion of the first session after the June election in which 5,000 young Europeans representing federalist organisations and democratic forces took part, and in which the EP was asked to commit itself to a European government, a European currency and a strong EU budget.

The context
The UEF's political analysis
The UEF action

Upon the initiative of the Italian European Federalist Movement and the German Europa-Union Deutschland, the largest organisations in the MFES and the AEF respectively, a joint-committee was formed at the Congress of Nancy in 1972 and a unification agreement was concluded. In parallel the youth organisation of the Young European Federalists (JEF) was re-established and held its constitutive Congress in Luxembourg in March 1972. The Union of European Federalists was finally formally reunited in April 1973 at the VII Congress in Brussels.

Upon the initiative of the Italian European Federalist Movement and the German Europa-Union Deutschland, the largest organisations in the MFES and the AEF respectively, a joint-committee was formed at the Congress of Nancy in 1972 and a unification agreement was concluded. In parallel the youth organisation of the Young European Federalists (JEF) was re-established and held its constitutive Congress in Luxembourg in March 1972. The Union of European Federalists was finally formally reunited in April 1973 at the VII Congress in Brussels.

The context

After the start of the first European legislature (1979-1984), the efforts of the UEF focused on exploiting the constituent potential of the new EP.

Altiero Spinelli elected as a Member of the European Parliament, together with a small group of parliamentarians gathered in the so-called Crocodile Club, succeeded in committing the entire Parliament to the drafting of a new Treaty (draft Spinelli Treaty) that envisaged the transformation of the Communities into a federation.
The Treaty was approved by a large majority by the European Parliament on 24 February 1984.

The UEF's political analysis

The European federalists' prediction of the potential of the elected European Parliament proved to be correct: despite its merely advisory powers, the EP is an embryo of democratic life at the European level, which can claim for itself a constituent role towards the European Federation.

The UEF action

The UEF, with the Italian Mario Albertini president from 1975 to 1984, supported Spinelli's work for a European Parliament initiative for a political union including a European Constitution.

Outside the EP, the European federalists mobilised public opinion, parties, national parliaments, local authorities, and economic and social organisations to create a broad consensus around the EP's initiative for an institutional refounding of the Communities.

The UEF's commitment to the Spinelli draft Treaty had its high point in the demonstration in Milan on 28-29 June 1985 attended by 100,000 people from all over Europe.

The event took place on the occasion of the European Council that convened the Intergovernmental Conference that decided to reform the European Treaties: but the governments did not accept the proposals of the Spinelli draft Treaty, preferring to draft the less ambitious Single European Act.

After the start of the first European legislature (1979-1984), the efforts of the UEF focused on exploiting the constituent potential of the new EP.

Altiero Spinelli elected as a Member of the European Parliament, together with a small group of parliamentarians gathered in the so-called Crocodile Club, succeeded in committing the entire Parliament to the drafting of a new Treaty (draft Spinelli Treaty) that envisaged the transformation of the Communities into a federation.
The Treaty was approved by a large majority by the European Parliament on 24 February 1984.

The European federalists' prediction of the potential of the elected European Parliament proved to be correct: despite its merely advisory powers, the EP is an embryo of democratic life at the European level, which can claim for itself a constituent role towards the European Federation.

The UEF, with the Italian Mario Albertini president from 1975 to 1984, supported Spinelli's work for a European Parliament initiative for a political union including a European Constitution.

Outside the EP, the European federalists mobilised public opinion, parties, national parliaments, local authorities, and economic and social organisations to create a broad consensus around the EP's initiative for an institutional refounding of the Communities.

The UEF's commitment to the Spinelli draft Treaty had its high point in the demonstration in Milan on 28-29 June 1985 attended by 100,000 people from all over Europe.

The event took place on the occasion of the European Council that convened the Intergovernmental Conference that decided to reform the European Treaties: but the governments did not accept the proposals of the Spinelli draft Treaty, preferring to draft the less ambitious Single European Act.

The context

The so-called 'Single European Act' came into force in 1987.

It set the goal of creating a single market by 1992 and established the European Political Cooperation in the field of Foreign and Security Policy, an intergovernmental body.

The UEF's political analysis

The Single European Act was, from an institutional point of view, extremely disappointing: the treaty extended the powers of the European Parliament within narrow limits and slightly broadened the areas in which decisions in the Council of Ministers were taken by majority vote, without substantially changing the balance of power between nation states and European institutions.

Although Spinelli's draft Treaty was not followed up, that experience contributed decisively to the subsequent progress in European political integration that was necessary to cope with the events that followed the collapse of the USSR in 1989, the reunification of Germany and the enlargement to include Eastern countries.

The UEF action

In this phase, the commitment of the MFE (the Italian section of UEF) had its most spectacular manifestation in the popular initiative bill (promoted in 1988 and signed by approximately 120,000 citizens), which led to the consultative referendum of 18 June 1989 (the first and only consultative referendum in the history of the Italian Republic) calling for the European Parliament to be given a constitutional mandate. The referendum, which took place at the same time as the European elections, obtained 88.9% of the votes in favour (29,158,656 votes).

Question text
Do you believe that the European Communities should be transformed into a real Union, endowed with a Government accountable to Parliament, by giving the European Parliament itself the mandate to draw up a draft European Constitution to be submitted directly for ratification by the competent bodies of the Member States of the Community?

 

The so-called 'Single European Act' came into force in 1987.

It set the goal of creating a single market by 1992 and established the European Political Cooperation in the field of Foreign and Security Policy, an intergovernmental body.

The Single European Act was, from an institutional point of view, extremely disappointing: the treaty extended the powers of the European Parliament within narrow limits and slightly broadened the areas in which decisions in the Council of Ministers were taken by majority vote, without substantially changing the balance of power between nation states and European institutions.

Although Spinelli's draft Treaty was not followed up, that experience contributed decisively to the subsequent progress in European political integration that was necessary to cope with the events that followed the collapse of the USSR in 1989, the reunification of Germany and the enlargement to include Eastern countries.

In this phase, the commitment of the MFE (the Italian section of UEF) had its most spectacular manifestation in the popular initiative bill (promoted in 1988 and signed by approximately 120,000 citizens), which led to the consultative referendum of 18 June 1989 (the first and only consultative referendum in the history of the Italian Republic) calling for the European Parliament to be given a constitutional mandate. The referendum, which took place at the same time as the European elections, obtained 88.9% of the votes in favour (29,158,656 votes).

Question text
Do you believe that the European Communities should be transformed into a real Union, endowed with a Government accountable to Parliament, by giving the European Parliament itself the mandate to draw up a draft European Constitution to be submitted directly for ratification by the competent bodies of the Member States of the Community?

 

The context

The end of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates and the oil crisis of the 1970s undermined the exchange control system that guaranteed stability in the Common Market.

European governments agreed to maintain a predetermined and reduced fluctuation margin between the EU currencies and between them and the dollar: the currency snake in the 1970s and the European Monetary System in the 1980s reduced countries' exposure but did not solve the problem.

The UEF's political analysis

The exchange rate crisis exacerbated the contradiction of the coexistence of a European Common Market with several national currencies.

The federalists were the first to denounce the limitations of the intergovernmental approach and to put on the table the question of the creation of a single currency and its link to the creation of a European federal state.

The positive climate and the expectations of a relaunch of the European integration process raised by the decision on the direct election also gave a boost to the proposals for strengthening monetary cooperation and contributed to the creation of the European Monetary System (EMS) in 1979.

The UEF action

The proposal for a single European currency had been advanced by European federalists since the late 1960s, with initiatives and demonstrations of European significance in favour of (i) the realisation of the customs union in 1968 and (ii) Italy's participation in the European Monetary System established in 1979.

The federalists, who called for a European single currency 'European Parliament, European Currency, European Government', was one of the slogans of the time. A petition calling for a European Currency and a European Government, launched in 1978, was one of the initiatives of that time and was the basis of a number of grassroots actions throughout Europe.

The end of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates and the oil crisis of the 1970s undermined the exchange control system that guaranteed stability in the Common Market.

European governments agreed to maintain a predetermined and reduced fluctuation margin between the EU currencies and between them and the dollar: the currency snake in the 1970s and the European Monetary System in the 1980s reduced countries' exposure but did not solve the problem.

The exchange rate crisis exacerbated the contradiction of the coexistence of a European Common Market with several national currencies.

The federalists were the first to denounce the limitations of the intergovernmental approach and to put on the table the question of the creation of a single currency and its link to the creation of a European federal state.

The positive climate and the expectations of a relaunch of the European integration process raised by the decision on the direct election also gave a boost to the proposals for strengthening monetary cooperation and contributed to the creation of the European Monetary System (EMS) in 1979.

The proposal for a single European currency had been advanced by European federalists since the late 1960s, with initiatives and demonstrations of European significance in favour of (i) the realisation of the customs union in 1968 and (ii) Italy's participation in the European Monetary System established in 1979.

The federalists, who called for a European single currency 'European Parliament, European Currency, European Government', was one of the slogans of the time. A petition calling for a European Currency and a European Government, launched in 1978, was one of the initiatives of that time and was the basis of a number of grassroots actions throughout Europe.

The context

The momentous turning point of 1989-91, with the dissolution of the USSR, made German reunification possible, but also fuelled European concerns of a return of German hegemonic ambitions.

In order to dispel any concerns and confirm Germany's irreversible anchorage to the European project, the German government offered the mark, the pride of the German economy, for the realisation of the euro, a single currency with which the weaker economies would benefit. In exchange for the mark, Germany obtained the consent of the other European countries to the reunification process.

The creation of the euro was enshrined in the Maastricht Treaty (1991 with the exclusion of the United Kingdom).
The Treaty created the European Central Bank (ECB), which was to be fully autonomous, and defined with the 'Maastricht Parameters' the binding economic parameters that countries had to reach and respect

The Treaty established the European Union with a view to future enlargement to the rest of the European countries, and was based on three 'pillars' (the Economic Community, Foreign and Security Policy, and Home Affairs and Justice), of which only the first had its own institutions (those of the existing Community slightly strengthened), while the other two remained exclusively intergovernmental.

The UEF's political analysis

A second piece of the constitutional gradualism advocated by the federalists was added to the European construction: the ECB can be seen as the first genuinely federal institution created in Europe.

The Maastricht Treaty, however, was insufficient to cope with the situation and future crises.

Monetary integration alone was quickly to prove insufficient for the EU to cope with the new world situation, due to the absence of a defined European economic policy and the lack of fiscal and budgetary powers, and a foreign and security policy.

The EU's impotence and contradictions in foreign policy were highlighted by its inability to prevent the break-up of Yugoslavia, to prevent the wars and genocides that followed, which were only ended by US intervention.

The UEF action

The Maastricht Treaty and the conquest of the euro were supported by the governments of European countries also thanks to public pressure mobilised by European federalists.

After the successful consultative referendum held on 18 June 1989, the federalists organised demonstrations with the participation of thousands of federalists at the European Councils of 27-28 October and 14-15 December 1990.

On 8 December 1991, while the heads of member states' governments negotiated the Treaty on European Union, Maastricht was crowded with federalists. A meeting, addressed by the Commission President Jacques Delors was followed by a march back to the town centre. The popular decision to create the European currency and to move from the European Communities to the European Union was taken there.

The momentous turning point of 1989-91, with the dissolution of the USSR, made German reunification possible, but also fuelled European concerns of a return of German hegemonic ambitions.

In order to dispel any concerns and confirm Germany's irreversible anchorage to the European project, the German government offered the mark, the pride of the German economy, for the realisation of the euro, a single currency with which the weaker economies would benefit. In exchange for the mark, Germany obtained the consent of the other European countries to the reunification process.

The creation of the euro was enshrined in the Maastricht Treaty (1991 with the exclusion of the United Kingdom).
The Treaty created the European Central Bank (ECB), which was to be fully autonomous, and defined with the 'Maastricht Parameters' the binding economic parameters that countries had to reach and respect

The Treaty established the European Union with a view to future enlargement to the rest of the European countries, and was based on three 'pillars' (the Economic Community, Foreign and Security Policy, and Home Affairs and Justice), of which only the first had its own institutions (those of the existing Community slightly strengthened), while the other two remained exclusively intergovernmental.

A second piece of the constitutional gradualism advocated by the federalists was added to the European construction: the ECB can be seen as the first genuinely federal institution created in Europe.

The Maastricht Treaty, however, was insufficient to cope with the situation and future crises.

Monetary integration alone was quickly to prove insufficient for the EU to cope with the new world situation, due to the absence of a defined European economic policy and the lack of fiscal and budgetary powers, and a foreign and security policy.

The EU's impotence and contradictions in foreign policy were highlighted by its inability to prevent the break-up of Yugoslavia, to prevent the wars and genocides that followed, which were only ended by US intervention.

The Maastricht Treaty and the conquest of the euro were supported by the governments of European countries also thanks to public pressure mobilised by European federalists.

After the successful consultative referendum held on 18 June 1989, the federalists organised demonstrations with the participation of thousands of federalists at the European Councils of 27-28 October and 14-15 December 1990.

On 8 December 1991, while the heads of member states' governments negotiated the Treaty on European Union, Maastricht was crowded with federalists. A meeting, addressed by the Commission President Jacques Delors was followed by a march back to the town centre. The popular decision to create the European currency and to move from the European Communities to the European Union was taken there.

The context

In the second half of the 1990s, the European Union took its first steps amidst many problems: the nascent Eurozone, 'a currency without a State', occurred with the self-exclusion of the United Kingdom; the enlargement to the Central and Eastern countries, which had emerged from the Soviet yoke, posed the problem of the entry of countries that wanted to reap the benefits of the Common Market but lacked interest in the European political project; furthermore, the war dramatically returned with the break-up of Yugoslavia at the gates of Europe, massacres and ethnic cleansing.

On the world stage, the first cracks are appearing in the US one-party system after the break-up of the Soviet Union, cracks that are widening under the weight of the costs of being the world's policeman and the temptation to give military responses in the world's hot spots, further fuelling nascent Islamic terrorism.

The UEF's political analysis

According to the MFE, the time had come for the European Union to become a partner among equals with the United States - thanks to the success of the single currency and the progressive enlargement of its sphere to the whole of Europe - and thus to create together the first democratic vanguard in the world.

The MFE's proposal was that, as the EU had decisively increased its economic relevance in the world, it was time for the EU to have a single foreign, security and defence policy - and thus overcome the slow and ineffective mechanisms of intergovernmental cooperation in these areas, introduced by the Maastricht Treaty and the subsequent Amsterdam and Nice Treaties.

The UEF action

In recent years, the UEF has thus continued its efforts to goad the political class and mobilise public opinion by holding, among other things, demonstrations with thousands of participants at European Council meetings.

Then, starting in 1997, the Campaign for a European Federal Constitution was launched.

When German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer gave a speech at the Humboldt University in May 2000 advocating a 'federal vanguard' of a core of countries to set up a political unity in parallel to the enlargement of the European Union to new countries, many federalists were galvanised.

A delegation of federalists welcomed and encouraged Fischer upon his arrival at the European Parliament a few weeks after his controversial proposal. To exploit the momentum created by Fischer's speech, the UEF and JEF mobilised and organised a public demonstration with over 10,000 people at the December 2000 European Council in Nice calling for a European Constitution. The decision to summon a Convention on the Future of the European Union, also known as the European Convention, chaired by Valery Giscard d'Estaing, followed.

In the second half of the 1990s, the European Union took its first steps amidst many problems: the nascent Eurozone, 'a currency without a State', occurred with the self-exclusion of the United Kingdom; the enlargement to the Central and Eastern countries, which had emerged from the Soviet yoke, posed the problem of the entry of countries that wanted to reap the benefits of the Common Market but lacked interest in the European political project; furthermore, the war dramatically returned with the break-up of Yugoslavia at the gates of Europe, massacres and ethnic cleansing.

On the world stage, the first cracks are appearing in the US one-party system after the break-up of the Soviet Union, cracks that are widening under the weight of the costs of being the world's policeman and the temptation to give military responses in the world's hot spots, further fuelling nascent Islamic terrorism.

According to the MFE, the time had come for the European Union to become a partner among equals with the United States - thanks to the success of the single currency and the progressive enlargement of its sphere to the whole of Europe - and thus to create together the first democratic vanguard in the world.

The MFE's proposal was that, as the EU had decisively increased its economic relevance in the world, it was time for the EU to have a single foreign, security and defence policy - and thus overcome the slow and ineffective mechanisms of intergovernmental cooperation in these areas, introduced by the Maastricht Treaty and the subsequent Amsterdam and Nice Treaties.

In recent years, the UEF has thus continued its efforts to goad the political class and mobilise public opinion by holding, among other things, demonstrations with thousands of participants at European Council meetings.

Then, starting in 1997, the Campaign for a European Federal Constitution was launched.

When German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer gave a speech at the Humboldt University in May 2000 advocating a 'federal vanguard' of a core of countries to set up a political unity in parallel to the enlargement of the European Union to new countries, many federalists were galvanised.

A delegation of federalists welcomed and encouraged Fischer upon his arrival at the European Parliament a few weeks after his controversial proposal. To exploit the momentum created by Fischer's speech, the UEF and JEF mobilised and organised a public demonstration with over 10,000 people at the December 2000 European Council in Nice calling for a European Constitution. The decision to summon a Convention on the Future of the European Union, also known as the European Convention, chaired by Valery Giscard d'Estaing, followed.

The context

A protocol was added to the Treaty of Nice, calling for the start of a process of democratic reform of the European institutions. Out of that protocol came the Laeken Declaration of 2001 by the Heads of State and Government, which launched the European Convention on the Future of Europe (European Convention for short) the starting point for the reform process of the EU institutions.
The European Convention was chaired by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and was flanked by two vice-presidents, one of whom was Giuliano Amato. It worked from 2001 until 10 July 2003. The result of its work was the drafting of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, commonly referred to as the European Constitution.

The UEF's political analysis

The European Convention had seen the participation of European and national parliamentarians (already tried and tested with the drafting of the Charter of Fundamental Rights launched in Nice); the transparency of meetings; listening to civil society. However, the principle of unanimity was maintained both in the deliberations of the Convention and in the final approval by the governments of the text drafted by the Convention, which unfortunately reduced many of the best proposals made by the Convention.

The Convention, in fact, paid the price for the increasing renationalisation of European governments in the face of the new phase in world and European politics, and in particular the growing gap between the interests of France and Germany, which blocked the engine of political integration.

The UEF action

During the course of the Convention, the UEF worked hard to promote the approval of the most advanced European Constitutional Treaty possible and supported its approval, even though it did not create a federal state despite containing the word 'constitution'.

In the debate of those years, an innovative position also emerged within the UEF to initiate a European federation between only the founding countries, i.e. those with the highest degree of integration, which would give rise to a kind of concentric circle Europe.
This idea re-emerged as a proposal in the years to come.

A protocol was added to the Treaty of Nice, calling for the start of a process of democratic reform of the European institutions. Out of that protocol came the Laeken Declaration of 2001 by the Heads of State and Government, which launched the European Convention on the Future of Europe (European Convention for short) the starting point for the reform process of the EU institutions.
The European Convention was chaired by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and was flanked by two vice-presidents, one of whom was Giuliano Amato. It worked from 2001 until 10 July 2003. The result of its work was the drafting of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, commonly referred to as the European Constitution.

The European Convention had seen the participation of European and national parliamentarians (already tried and tested with the drafting of the Charter of Fundamental Rights launched in Nice); the transparency of meetings; listening to civil society. However, the principle of unanimity was maintained both in the deliberations of the Convention and in the final approval by the governments of the text drafted by the Convention, which unfortunately reduced many of the best proposals made by the Convention.

The Convention, in fact, paid the price for the increasing renationalisation of European governments in the face of the new phase in world and European politics, and in particular the growing gap between the interests of France and Germany, which blocked the engine of political integration.

During the course of the Convention, the UEF worked hard to promote the approval of the most advanced European Constitutional Treaty possible and supported its approval, even though it did not create a federal state despite containing the word 'constitution'.

In the debate of those years, an innovative position also emerged within the UEF to initiate a European federation between only the founding countries, i.e. those with the highest degree of integration, which would give rise to a kind of concentric circle Europe.
This idea re-emerged as a proposal in the years to come.

The context

In May-June 2005, the draft European Convention was rejected in popular referendums in France and the Netherlands.

This blocks its entry into force despite the fact that it has been ratified by the majority of the EU states and population.

But in 2007, the Lisbon Treaty was signed (which formally entered into force at the end of 2009).

This text retained with some mitigations (and additional derogation clauses to meet Czech, Irish and Polish requests) the main reforms contained in the Constitutional Treaty, but removed any reference, even symbolic, to the concept of a constitution, precisely with the intention of limiting as far as possible the expectations of a rapid resumption of the process of institutional changes in a federal direction.

The UEF's political analysis

Ultimately, with the Lisbon Treaties, the institutional system of the EU was strengthened in an intergovernmental sense.

The European Union of the Lisbon Treaties maintains - and in some cases enhances - the previous federal aspects (in particular the relative autonomy of the Commission, the primacy of EU law guaranteed by the Court of Justice, the role of the directly elected EP), while also extending the area of majority voting for some of the decisions of the Council of Ministers, but further reinforces the hard core of confederal and intergovernmental nature represented by the subordination of the EU to the states, which implies that the real government of the EU is a body, the European Council of Heads of State and Government, which takes all decisions by unanimous vote in the areas of finance, foreign policy, security and defence, institutional review, and the right of secession.

The UEF action

After the 2005 impasse, the UEF tried to revive the constitution-making process.

The strategic objective of the federalist action carried out at the European level in 2006-2007 became that of getting the draft Constitution (reworked and improved to take into account the results of the referendums in France and the Netherlands) submitted to a European consultative referendum on the same day as the 2009 European elections, an action that was blocked in 2007 by the signing of the Lisbon Treaty.

In May-June 2005, the draft European Convention was rejected in popular referendums in France and the Netherlands.

This blocks its entry into force despite the fact that it has been ratified by the majority of the EU states and population.

But in 2007, the Lisbon Treaty was signed (which formally entered into force at the end of 2009).

This text retained with some mitigations (and additional derogation clauses to meet Czech, Irish and Polish requests) the main reforms contained in the Constitutional Treaty, but removed any reference, even symbolic, to the concept of a constitution, precisely with the intention of limiting as far as possible the expectations of a rapid resumption of the process of institutional changes in a federal direction.

Ultimately, with the Lisbon Treaties, the institutional system of the EU was strengthened in an intergovernmental sense.

The European Union of the Lisbon Treaties maintains - and in some cases enhances - the previous federal aspects (in particular the relative autonomy of the Commission, the primacy of EU law guaranteed by the Court of Justice, the role of the directly elected EP), while also extending the area of majority voting for some of the decisions of the Council of Ministers, but further reinforces the hard core of confederal and intergovernmental nature represented by the subordination of the EU to the states, which implies that the real government of the EU is a body, the European Council of Heads of State and Government, which takes all decisions by unanimous vote in the areas of finance, foreign policy, security and defence, institutional review, and the right of secession.

After the 2005 impasse, the UEF tried to revive the constitution-making process.

The strategic objective of the federalist action carried out at the European level in 2006-2007 became that of getting the draft Constitution (reworked and improved to take into account the results of the referendums in France and the Netherlands) submitted to a European consultative referendum on the same day as the 2009 European elections, an action that was blocked in 2007 by the signing of the Lisbon Treaty.

The context

In the same year (2007) in which governments signed the Lisbon Treaty, the most serious crisis in the world economy since 1929 began with the bursting of the housing bubble in the US.

The arrival of the crisis in Europe finds the European Union fragile and unprepared, completely lacking adequate political and financial instruments to intervene, despite having a single currency.

This European fragility is at the root of the markets' attack on the sovereign debts of the Eurozone's most indebted countries (the PIIGS, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain), which are betting on the bankruptcy of these states and the end of the euro. The attacks frustrate national consolidation policies, opening the way to the spectre of insolvency, recession and a dramatic social crisis.

The European Union succeeded in reacting by concluding new agreements between governments and creating new financial instruments; but, in fact, the dramatic spiral of attacks by the markets was only interrupted thanks to the extraordinary intervention of the ECB led by Mario Draghi, who launched huge programmes to purchase the debts of Eurozone countries.

In the meantime, the crisis of the US-led unipolar world system is advancing: the BRICS (China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa) are strongly expressing their desire to start a multipolar system, while the Mediterranean and the Middle East are in flames due to the Arab Spring and the conflicts that soon ensue.

The UEF's political analysis

Federalists have always conceived the birth of a single currency as a step that had to be accompanied by the creation of a political union. The Maastricht Treaty itself, which initiated the birth of the Euro, foresaw the need to reform the institutions of the Union in order to create a fiscal, economic and political union alongside the monetary union. Instead, monetary union (EMU) does not (yet) include a banking union, nor does it provide for a single capital market, and there are no stabilisation or support mechanisms for the areas most affected in the event of a crisis. In the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, it was the European institutions themselves at the end of 2012 that relaunched the need to complete the monetary union with the four unions.

As the federalists have always denounced, the Lisbon Treaty proves to be totally inadequate, and it is time to reform it in order to start the creation of a federal political union, starting with the Eurozone countries that urgently need it and creating a Europe with different levels of integration, to give time and a way to those countries that are not yet ready to join at a later stage, without breaking the unity of the single market at the same time; but the inertia of governments, fearful of the idea of reopening a reform of the Treaties, leads to postponement of any further decision.

The UEF action

The UEF's efforts in recent years have taken the form of annual mobilisation campaigns and petitions to create awareness among the public and politicians that in order to respond to the challenges posed by the crises and the threats of Europe's disintegration, the key issue is to complete monetary union with political union, which includes economic and fiscal (as well as banking) union.

In 2009 with the 'Who is your candidate?' campaign fought for a transparently and democratically elected President of the European Commission and challenged European political parties to nominate their candidate before the elections. This campaign was spurred by the belief that the President of the European Commission should be chosen by the European Parliament and, by implication, by the voters of the European member states. It was not until the 2014 elections that this process developed.

In September 2010, the Spinelli in the European Parliament in Brussels was created by MEPs Guy Verhofstadt (RENEW), former MEPs Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Sylvie Goulard, and former EP Vice President Isabelle Durant.
The Group is composed of MEPs belonging to different political families who pursue the objective of the federal reform of the European Union.

In 2011, the federalists campaigned to re-open the debate on European political union and for a decisive move towards a federal Europe, in the conviction that only a strong European government could tackle the economic crisis. At a Congress in Berlin in 2013 the UEF launched a Manifesto for a federal Europe ahead of the 2014 European elections.

In 2014, with the campaign 'Towards Federal Europe' federalists invited citizens to vote in the European elections for those candidates and political parties that supported further European economic and political integration. We urged the European parties and candidates to support federalist proposals to make the election truly European, work for a democratic union, restore the European economy and strengthen Europe's role in the world.

In the same year (2007) in which governments signed the Lisbon Treaty, the most serious crisis in the world economy since 1929 began with the bursting of the housing bubble in the US.

The arrival of the crisis in Europe finds the European Union fragile and unprepared, completely lacking adequate political and financial instruments to intervene, despite having a single currency.

This European fragility is at the root of the markets' attack on the sovereign debts of the Eurozone's most indebted countries (the PIIGS, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain), which are betting on the bankruptcy of these states and the end of the euro. The attacks frustrate national consolidation policies, opening the way to the spectre of insolvency, recession and a dramatic social crisis.

The European Union succeeded in reacting by concluding new agreements between governments and creating new financial instruments; but, in fact, the dramatic spiral of attacks by the markets was only interrupted thanks to the extraordinary intervention of the ECB led by Mario Draghi, who launched huge programmes to purchase the debts of Eurozone countries.

In the meantime, the crisis of the US-led unipolar world system is advancing: the BRICS (China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa) are strongly expressing their desire to start a multipolar system, while the Mediterranean and the Middle East are in flames due to the Arab Spring and the conflicts that soon ensue.

Federalists have always conceived the birth of a single currency as a step that had to be accompanied by the creation of a political union. The Maastricht Treaty itself, which initiated the birth of the Euro, foresaw the need to reform the institutions of the Union in order to create a fiscal, economic and political union alongside the monetary union. Instead, monetary union (EMU) does not (yet) include a banking union, nor does it provide for a single capital market, and there are no stabilisation or support mechanisms for the areas most affected in the event of a crisis. In the aftermath of the financial and economic crisis, it was the European institutions themselves at the end of 2012 that relaunched the need to complete the monetary union with the four unions.

As the federalists have always denounced, the Lisbon Treaty proves to be totally inadequate, and it is time to reform it in order to start the creation of a federal political union, starting with the Eurozone countries that urgently need it and creating a Europe with different levels of integration, to give time and a way to those countries that are not yet ready to join at a later stage, without breaking the unity of the single market at the same time; but the inertia of governments, fearful of the idea of reopening a reform of the Treaties, leads to postponement of any further decision.

The UEF's efforts in recent years have taken the form of annual mobilisation campaigns and petitions to create awareness among the public and politicians that in order to respond to the challenges posed by the crises and the threats of Europe's disintegration, the key issue is to complete monetary union with political union, which includes economic and fiscal (as well as banking) union.

In 2009 with the 'Who is your candidate?' campaign fought for a transparently and democratically elected President of the European Commission and challenged European political parties to nominate their candidate before the elections. This campaign was spurred by the belief that the President of the European Commission should be chosen by the European Parliament and, by implication, by the voters of the European member states. It was not until the 2014 elections that this process developed.

In September 2010, the Spinelli in the European Parliament in Brussels was created by MEPs Guy Verhofstadt (RENEW), former MEPs Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Sylvie Goulard, and former EP Vice President Isabelle Durant.
The Group is composed of MEPs belonging to different political families who pursue the objective of the federal reform of the European Union.

In 2011, the federalists campaigned to re-open the debate on European political union and for a decisive move towards a federal Europe, in the conviction that only a strong European government could tackle the economic crisis. At a Congress in Berlin in 2013 the UEF launched a Manifesto for a federal Europe ahead of the 2014 European elections.

In 2014, with the campaign 'Towards Federal Europe' federalists invited citizens to vote in the European elections for those candidates and political parties that supported further European economic and political integration. We urged the European parties and candidates to support federalist proposals to make the election truly European, work for a democratic union, restore the European economy and strengthen Europe's role in the world.

The context

Europe helplessly witnesses the end of old world balances and the advent of new ones: the rise of China, the partial withdrawal of the US, the advance of new regional actors filling the power vacuum at Europe's borders, from Turkey in the Mediterranean to Russia, both in Africa and the Middle East and Crimea in 2014. As the Middle East burns in the Syrian civil war and ISIS expands, massive migratory flows pour into the EU Mediterranean countries, especially Greece, leading to an unprecedented crisis that causes the return of barbed wire walls at European borders, the blocking of the Schengen Treaty (which guarantees free movement within EU countries). Germany tries to calm the situation by accepting all the refugees from Syria (one million two hundred thousand refugees within two-three months), but the reaction to this emergency, while the economic crisis has not yet been overcome, provokes the rise of strong xenophobic, populist and anti-European parties throughout Europe.
The lowest point was reached with the victory in the UK's Brexit referendum, while in the US the election saw Donald Trump win.
Europe, however, resists; in many countries, pro-European democratic parties hold, and in France, even, Macron wins the presidential elections in 2019 with the project of a stronger France in a stronger Europe, a sovereign Europe.
And Macron launches a new conference on the future of Europe.

The UEF's political analysis

The tensions, already very strong due to the differences between countries with a more stable financial situation (the so-called Northern countries) and countries with a strong debt, are further exacerbated by the difficulty of managing the migration emergency and the reactions of national public opinions, blocking any attempt to strengthen European integration, which would be the only way to overcome the impasse in which the EU finds itself.
Even the proposals Macron made in his speech at the Sorbonne in September 2017 failed to move Germany.
The federalists, on the other hand, seize on the novelty of the French President and support his proposals for the creation of an ad hoc Eurozone budget, an essential building block for the completion of EMU and the creation of a political union.
The slogan of a sovereign and democratic Europe accompanied all the battles of those years.

The UEF action

In recent years, the UEF has been deeply committed against nationalist drifts and in support of a federal reform of the European Union. During the political campaigns in the 2014 and 2019 European elections, it was active in mobilising public opinion to vote for a European Parliament with a 'constituent' and reforming role for the European architecture.

In both election campaigns, the European federalists called for voting for those candidates in favour, to spend their mandate to reform the European Union.

In 2017, in the middle of the two electoral rounds, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, the MFE, in coordination with the UEF, promoted the March for Europe, a popular demonstration that brought about 10,000 people from all over Europe to Rome to show their will to go beyond the current treaties, towards a federal Europe.

After the Brexit decision, the remaining 27 EU governments unanimously declared their commitment to continue the European integration process in Bratislava. The UEF and its national sections are prepared to support the reform process and to play a key role in the organisation of citizens' consultations and town hall meetings on the future of Europe with the appeal "For a new European Reform Initiative - The Berlin Declaration".

In 2019, the federalists took the field with the I CHOOSE EUROPE campaign. With nationalism and populism on the raise and Europe at a crossoroad between more integration and disintegration, the federalists' campaign for the European elections call citizens to vote and choose Europe.

Europe helplessly witnesses the end of old world balances and the advent of new ones: the rise of China, the partial withdrawal of the US, the advance of new regional actors filling the power vacuum at Europe's borders, from Turkey in the Mediterranean to Russia, both in Africa and the Middle East and Crimea in 2014. As the Middle East burns in the Syrian civil war and ISIS expands, massive migratory flows pour into the EU Mediterranean countries, especially Greece, leading to an unprecedented crisis that causes the return of barbed wire walls at European borders, the blocking of the Schengen Treaty (which guarantees free movement within EU countries). Germany tries to calm the situation by accepting all the refugees from Syria (one million two hundred thousand refugees within two-three months), but the reaction to this emergency, while the economic crisis has not yet been overcome, provokes the rise of strong xenophobic, populist and anti-European parties throughout Europe.
The lowest point was reached with the victory in the UK's Brexit referendum, while in the US the election saw Donald Trump win.
Europe, however, resists; in many countries, pro-European democratic parties hold, and in France, even, Macron wins the presidential elections in 2019 with the project of a stronger France in a stronger Europe, a sovereign Europe.
And Macron launches a new conference on the future of Europe.

The tensions, already very strong due to the differences between countries with a more stable financial situation (the so-called Northern countries) and countries with a strong debt, are further exacerbated by the difficulty of managing the migration emergency and the reactions of national public opinions, blocking any attempt to strengthen European integration, which would be the only way to overcome the impasse in which the EU finds itself.
Even the proposals Macron made in his speech at the Sorbonne in September 2017 failed to move Germany.
The federalists, on the other hand, seize on the novelty of the French President and support his proposals for the creation of an ad hoc Eurozone budget, an essential building block for the completion of EMU and the creation of a political union.
The slogan of a sovereign and democratic Europe accompanied all the battles of those years.

In recent years, the UEF has been deeply committed against nationalist drifts and in support of a federal reform of the European Union. During the political campaigns in the 2014 and 2019 European elections, it was active in mobilising public opinion to vote for a European Parliament with a 'constituent' and reforming role for the European architecture.

In both election campaigns, the European federalists called for voting for those candidates in favour, to spend their mandate to reform the European Union.

In 2017, in the middle of the two electoral rounds, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, the MFE, in coordination with the UEF, promoted the March for Europe, a popular demonstration that brought about 10,000 people from all over Europe to Rome to show their will to go beyond the current treaties, towards a federal Europe.

After the Brexit decision, the remaining 27 EU governments unanimously declared their commitment to continue the European integration process in Bratislava. The UEF and its national sections are prepared to support the reform process and to play a key role in the organisation of citizens' consultations and town hall meetings on the future of Europe with the appeal "For a new European Reform Initiative - The Berlin Declaration".

In 2019, the federalists took the field with the I CHOOSE EUROPE campaign. With nationalism and populism on the raise and Europe at a crossoroad between more integration and disintegration, the federalists' campaign for the European elections call citizens to vote and choose Europe.

The context

The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic triggered containment measures that provoked a symmetrical European economic crisis and risked triggering a new sovereign debt crisis.
This prompted governments to act together with the European institutions to seek a common political solution: hence the decision of the European Council in July 2021 to agree on the Next Generation EU Fund and the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

The main innovation was the creation - albeit temporarily - of the first European public debt system to implement economic development plans and reforms in the countries hardest hit by the economic crisis, a clear sign of European solidarity.

The UEF's political analysis

The agreement on the Next Generation EU and the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) have reopened the political battle over the issue of own resources and the EU decision-making system (in fact, 75 per cent of the resources of the European budget come from member state contributions, which results in national political control over its management).
The Next Generation EU highlights the need to give the EU fiscal competence in order to give the EU autonomy of funding and action in times of crisis and without the lengthy intergovernmental agreements (the Next Generation EU alone took months of negotiation while in the US they proposed and approved plans to solve emergencies in less than a month).

The UEF action

During the months of the lockdown, the UEF did not stop engaging in political activity.

We recall in particular, in addition to the dozens and dozens of online meetings in July 2020, the collection of signatures on the appeal in Italian I Mille Per L'Europa Federale, delivered by UEF President and MEP Sandro Gozi into the hands of European Parliament President David Sassoli.

The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic triggered containment measures that provoked a symmetrical European economic crisis and risked triggering a new sovereign debt crisis.
This prompted governments to act together with the European institutions to seek a common political solution: hence the decision of the European Council in July 2021 to agree on the Next Generation EU Fund and the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

The main innovation was the creation - albeit temporarily - of the first European public debt system to implement economic development plans and reforms in the countries hardest hit by the economic crisis, a clear sign of European solidarity.

The agreement on the Next Generation EU and the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) have reopened the political battle over the issue of own resources and the EU decision-making system (in fact, 75 per cent of the resources of the European budget come from member state contributions, which results in national political control over its management).
The Next Generation EU highlights the need to give the EU fiscal competence in order to give the EU autonomy of funding and action in times of crisis and without the lengthy intergovernmental agreements (the Next Generation EU alone took months of negotiation while in the US they proposed and approved plans to solve emergencies in less than a month).

During the months of the lockdown, the UEF did not stop engaging in political activity.

We recall in particular, in addition to the dozens and dozens of online meetings in July 2020, the collection of signatures on the appeal in Italian I Mille Per L'Europa Federale, delivered by UEF President and MEP Sandro Gozi into the hands of European Parliament President David Sassoli.

The context

CoFoE was a unique opportunity for European citizens to meet with European and national institutions and parliamentarians to discuss the challenges and priorities of tomorrow's Europe.

The Conference was the first experiment in democratic proposal and debate open to all citizens. It consisted of the following elements:

  • Multilingual digital platform to collect concrete proposals from citizens and their organisations, to comment on them and to disseminate them;
  • Decentralised events organised by citizens, organisations and national authorities;
  • European Citizens' Panels, drawn by lot and who helped draft the proposals;
  • Plenary session of the Conference, which collected the proposals and drafted the Final Report.

CoFoE lasted one year, from March 2021 to May 2022.

The objective of CoFoE was the elaboration of a document with proposals to change the current European Union.

In the silence of the press and media, 500,000 people actively participated (the CoFoE platform was viewed about 5 million times in one year).

The UEF's political analysis

For the European federalists, CoFoE has from the outset represented a unique opportunity to propose radical changes, which, if they gain strength, can even become an opportunity to open a constituent battle.

The start of CoFoE has been postponed numerous times due to the unresolved issue of what to do after the conference: to start treaty reform or not?

The European Parliament (if citizens, through the Conference, demand reform of the Treaties, then the reform process must be started) and the EU Council - i.e. the governments - (all reforms as long as the Treaties are not changed) clashed on this political issue: in the end, a compromise solution was reached in which the EU Council did not take a final decision and would wait for the conclusion of the CoFoE.

The UEF action

In 2020, and before the start of CoFoE, the UEF took the field with an Appeal for Our Federal Europe: Sovereign, Democratic, Solidarity to call for the long-delayed opening of CoFoE.

This is why the European federalists actively participated in CoFoE:

i)    with the publication on the digital platform of the conference, of               proposals calling for the revision of the EU Treaties on the points of the     EU's power of taxation and the abolition of the power of veto of states and the simultaneous granting of decision-making powers to the European Parliament.

 

 

ii)      They organised dozens and dozens of online and in-person events to make their proposals known.

At the European level, the UEF participated in the work of the Conference Plenary, both with its own representative (its Secretary General, Anna Echterhoff) and through the MEPs of the Spinelli Intergroup who share federalist positions within the EP.

CoFoE was a unique opportunity for European citizens to meet with European and national institutions and parliamentarians to discuss the challenges and priorities of tomorrow's Europe.

The Conference was the first experiment in democratic proposal and debate open to all citizens. It consisted of the following elements:

  • Multilingual digital platform to collect concrete proposals from citizens and their organisations, to comment on them and to disseminate them;
  • Decentralised events organised by citizens, organisations and national authorities;
  • European Citizens' Panels, drawn by lot and who helped draft the proposals;
  • Plenary session of the Conference, which collected the proposals and drafted the Final Report.

CoFoE lasted one year, from March 2021 to May 2022.

The objective of CoFoE was the elaboration of a document with proposals to change the current European Union.

In the silence of the press and media, 500,000 people actively participated (the CoFoE platform was viewed about 5 million times in one year).

For the European federalists, CoFoE has from the outset represented a unique opportunity to propose radical changes, which, if they gain strength, can even become an opportunity to open a constituent battle.

The start of CoFoE has been postponed numerous times due to the unresolved issue of what to do after the conference: to start treaty reform or not?

The European Parliament (if citizens, through the Conference, demand reform of the Treaties, then the reform process must be started) and the EU Council - i.e. the governments - (all reforms as long as the Treaties are not changed) clashed on this political issue: in the end, a compromise solution was reached in which the EU Council did not take a final decision and would wait for the conclusion of the CoFoE.

In 2020, and before the start of CoFoE, the UEF took the field with an Appeal for Our Federal Europe: Sovereign, Democratic, Solidarity to call for the long-delayed opening of CoFoE.

This is why the European federalists actively participated in CoFoE:

i)    with the publication on the digital platform of the conference, of               proposals calling for the revision of the EU Treaties on the points of the     EU's power of taxation and the abolition of the power of veto of states and the simultaneous granting of decision-making powers to the European Parliament.

 

 

ii)      They organised dozens and dozens of online and in-person events to make their proposals known.

At the European level, the UEF participated in the work of the Conference Plenary, both with its own representative (its Secretary General, Anna Echterhoff) and through the MEPs of the Spinelli Intergroup who share federalist positions within the EP.

The context

The year 2022 is the year of the return of war in Europe: in March, Putin's Russia invaded Ukraine, which is bravely defending itself with support from NATO countries, and forced the Russian army into a tough and unexpected positional war.

European countries, in order to deal with the emergency, unitedly support Ukraine's war effort, the reception of the large number of refugees, and energy policies aimed at reducing the dangerous dependence on Russian gas.

Finally, the European Union granted Ukraine the status of candidate for EU membership.

The UEF's political analysis

However, the economic crisis following the war showed the fragility of the system to react to sudden and disruptive shocks.

Moreover, the EU's derisory ability to influence its neighbourhood exposes its impotence in the field of defence and foreign policy.

The inevitable prospect of EU enlargement to the east - Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova - reopens the debate of accelerating the reform agenda of the EU institutions to handle the new, more complex and enlarged scenario.

The UEF action

UEF's action focused on participating in events in support of Ukraine (MoreEuropeNOW online event), promoting debates, video podcasts (such as the #EUROPAgegenCOVID format, awarded by the Austrian government in 2023) and reflections on the topic of EU deepening/enlargement, Europe's geopolitical role, European defence and with statements and appeal ('An Airlift to Ukraine').

The year 2022 is the year of the return of war in Europe: in March, Putin's Russia invaded Ukraine, which is bravely defending itself with support from NATO countries, and forced the Russian army into a tough and unexpected positional war.

European countries, in order to deal with the emergency, unitedly support Ukraine's war effort, the reception of the large number of refugees, and energy policies aimed at reducing the dangerous dependence on Russian gas.

Finally, the European Union granted Ukraine the status of candidate for EU membership.

However, the economic crisis following the war showed the fragility of the system to react to sudden and disruptive shocks.

Moreover, the EU's derisory ability to influence its neighbourhood exposes its impotence in the field of defence and foreign policy.

The inevitable prospect of EU enlargement to the east - Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova - reopens the debate of accelerating the reform agenda of the EU institutions to handle the new, more complex and enlarged scenario.

UEF's action focused on participating in events in support of Ukraine (MoreEuropeNOW online event), promoting debates, video podcasts (such as the #EUROPAgegenCOVID format, awarded by the Austrian government in 2023) and reflections on the topic of EU deepening/enlargement, Europe's geopolitical role, European defence and with statements and appeal ('An Airlift to Ukraine').

The context

The European Parliament, after the end of CoFoE, immediately adopted a resolution calling on the European Council to open a European Convention to initiate treaty reform. However, the EU Council postponed the decision for a year by asking the EP to prepare a proposal for a new treaty.

The UEF's political analysis

The results of the Conference on the Future of Europe were a great success: because the proposals that emerged in CoFoE show that citizens are aware of the need for more Europe.

Moreover, the main federalist proposals, such as the one on the creation of an EU fiscal power, made it into the final proposals of the conference.

The UEF action

After the end of CoFoE, UEF actions focused on three actions:
(i) mobilising public opinion to support the outcome of the conference;
(ii) participate in the election campaign after the fall of the Draghi government, which, with the slogan 'For a European Italy', reminded citizens of the inseparable destiny of Italy and Europe;
(iii) the collection of signatures on the European Petition to the EU Council (Respect the Will of the Citizens and CoFoE) to demand the launch of the Convention for the Reform of the Treaties and support the European Parliament in its reform efforts.

The European Parliament, after the end of CoFoE, immediately adopted a resolution calling on the European Council to open a European Convention to initiate treaty reform. However, the EU Council postponed the decision for a year by asking the EP to prepare a proposal for a new treaty.

The results of the Conference on the Future of Europe were a great success: because the proposals that emerged in CoFoE show that citizens are aware of the need for more Europe.

Moreover, the main federalist proposals, such as the one on the creation of an EU fiscal power, made it into the final proposals of the conference.

After the end of CoFoE, UEF actions focused on three actions:
(i) mobilising public opinion to support the outcome of the conference;
(ii) participate in the election campaign after the fall of the Draghi government, which, with the slogan 'For a European Italy', reminded citizens of the inseparable destiny of Italy and Europe;
(iii) the collection of signatures on the European Petition to the EU Council (Respect the Will of the Citizens and CoFoE) to demand the launch of the Convention for the Reform of the Treaties and support the European Parliament in its reform efforts.

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