On the eve of the opening of the Convention on the future of the European Union, the Union of European Federalists (U.E.F.) and the Young European Federalists (JEF), organised a public debate in the European Parliament in Brussels on the subject “The Constitutional Convention: what are the prospects for the Federation of Europe?”.
About 300 people participated in the debate with three members of the Convention Presidium and the representative of the Hungarian government. The debate was chaired by Jo LEINEN MEP, President of the U.E.F. Mr. LEINEN welcomed the Convention as a considerable democratic
The Vice-President of the Convention Jean-Luc DEHAENE hoped that the establishment of a structured network of organisations of civil society would lead to mutual influence. “The outcome of the Convention will be neither a Federation nor the United States of Europe”, he stated, “but I will be satisfied if it is a Europe with federal elements ”.
“The federalists should not lose hope” according to Iñigo MENDEZ DE VIGO MEP, President of the EP delegation to the Convention. “They have a vision which many of us share. The revolution was made fifty years ago with the Community method –now we need to deepen it and achieve a political Union” he concluded.
Commissioner Michel BARNIER welcomed the fact that the Convention offers the opportunity of building the EU for and with the citizens and to discuss the question of the finality of the Union. “I am not afraid of using the word federation. I am even in favour of discussing a distribution of competences according to federalist principles in the name of transparency, efficiency and democracy”, he added.
Referring to the risk of dilution of the EU if enlargement is not well prepared, Janos MARTONYI, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary, said that “a politically and economically more united Europe is necessary, and the existing structures should be strengthened and improved”. He considered the Convention as the high point of his 30 years as a convinced federalist.
Contact : Lucía Caudet, Tel. : +32-(0)486.03.90.67