A new expedition of the Thousand, a 21st century expedition for Europe, leaves Italy to promote the “federalist intransigence” of the European Parliament. An expedition that will soon be European and that puts our country at the head of a political battle “from the bottom” for a federal Europe.

A thousand signatures collected in 4 weeks, especially at the grassroot level, among local and regional administrators and politicians, people involved in the social and labour world, academics, journalists, experts, entrepreneurs, professionals, but also among Italian and European parliamentarians as well as leaders of institutions and associations. This demonstrates that the battle for Europe’s federal political union finds today not only consensus, but also active support among aware citizens.

Following the presentation to the European Parliament of the Commission’s proposals for the new Recovery Plan for Europe, and in view of the European deadlines in the coming months for the approval of both the new Extraordinary Next Generation EU Fund and the new multi-annual budget of the European Union, the MFE, together with the GFE, has launched a signature-collection action based on the Appeal A NEW START FOR EUROPE among representatives of the worlds of politics, economy, academy and the third sector at all levels, addressed to the European Parliament.

The European Parliament, as the only institution directly representing the citizens of Europe, is asked to exercise a guiding role in launching the transformation of the European Union into a federal political union. This is the only way to make permanent the political turnaround envisaged in recent weeks at European level under the pressure of the pandemic crisis. In particular, Parliament is asked to take action on three points:

  • to ensure that the ambitions expressed in the Commission’s proposals are not diminished by downward compromises between states, in which case it will reject the European Council’s agreement;
  • fight to ensure that the Union’s new own resources are assessed, collected and managed at European level, and immediately start the debate on the allocation of fiscal competence to the European Union;
  • to guide the process of the political-institutional reforms needed to build political union by drawing up and proposing to the other European institutions a draft European Federal Constitution with a view to exchange with the citizens as part of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Appeal of the MFE and the GFE to the European Parliament

Towards the European Federal Union

The European Commission has presented to the European Parliament an ambitious package for the Recovery Plan for Europe. President von der Leyen has made a strong political speech, appealing to the profound historical, political, civil and moral value of the unity of Europeans. She has proposed to design a new set of instruments to bequeath to future generations a new Europe that is a global leader in the new digital, green, inclusive and social economy.

The European Union’s change of pace in the face of the pandemic crisis is evident. The pressure of external political challenges and the dramatic economic recession has made it a priority to rescue and relaunch the whole Union. Indeed, the entire European system is at risk, because of the intertwined fate of national economies, linked by the currency and the Single Market, and now structured as a single productive system. On this new basis, Germany has chosen to support the demands made by France, Italy, Spain and the other promoters of the Letter of Nine for the strengthening and political evolution of the European Union, thus breaking the axis of the so-called creditor countries.

These courageous proposals must now be strongly defended in the European Council. For its part, the European Parliament has already threatened to block approval of the Multiannual Financial Framework if it does not match the ambitions presented by the European Commission and if it does not also include a reform of own resources. This is also a key point in the European Commission’s plan to secure European debt issuance. Today, this means, in addition to measures that fall within Community competence – such as the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism – that the States also agree to impose new taxes on the giants of finance and the web, and on polluters, in order to transfer their revenue to the European budget.

The choices that will be made in the coming months, particularly on the question of own resources, will have a decisive influence on the development of the European Union, and in particular on the possibility that the European Union will arrive in a reasonably short time at that federal political union indicated in the project of the Founding Fathers which is now finally returning to the European debate.

On this basis, we call on the European Parliament, as the only institution directly representing the citizens of Europe, to draw attention to three points, and to exercise its guiding role to this end:

  1. To ensure that the intergovernmental agreements on the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU Fund do not undermine the ambitions of the European Commission proposals. We call on the European Parliament not to approve inadequate agreements and to contribute with its political weight to preventing some countries from exercising blackmail and veto power.
  2. To strive to achieve that the Union’s new own resources are assessed, collected and managed at European level, in line with the political and strategic priorities identified by the Commission. The creation of a federal budget share is a necessary condition for making the new European approach structural. In this respect, it is essential that the European Parliament starts the debate now on the attribution of fiscal competence to the European Union, so that European own resources can be decided by majority vote directly by Parliament and the Council, abolishing the passage of national ratifications (which are essential at present because the Member States are the only ones with fiscal power and therefore the only ones who can impose taxes directly on citizens and the economy).
  3. Lead the process of the political-institutional reforms needed to build political union, more urgent than ever. The same instruments for the European recovery must be included in a framework that guarantees their permanent character. In this sense, a revision of the Treaties and a profound reform of the European Union are part of the lasting and effective response needed to emerge from the crisis.

We therefore consider it necessary that the Conference on the Future of Europe be launched as soon as possible during the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We call on the European Parliament to fight for the Conference to be aimed at discussing a concrete project for political union, involving the citizens. The European Parliament has the democratic legitimacy and institutional vocation to impose such an agenda for the Conference. That is why we urge it to draw up, debate and propose to the other European institutions a draft federal European Constitution, as it did in the first parliamentary term under the leadership of Altiero Spinelli.

This is also the best way to honour the 40th anniversary of the birth of the Crocodile Club, which falls on 9 July.