On October 24, 2003, the public seminar opened a two-day meeting. Among the speakers were Per Stig Moller , Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir Peter Ustinov , President of WFM-IGP, Niels Helveg Petersen , Former Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs and representatives of UEF, WFM Asia and Africa.
During a very interesting discussion all speakers agreed with the words of Mr MOLLER that the United Nations are necessary for the world. However, recent events in connection with Iraqi war weakened its position. According to words of Mr PETERSEN, the war proved that, in the end, the United States could not act without the United Nations' mandate. Despite its military power, it could not undermine the UN Charter. Mr Ustinov stated, referring to the UN relations - that there is no difference between war and terrorism; terrorism is war of the impoverished and war is terrorism of the rich. It is unique that the United Nations exists and it cannot be destroyed by the action of one or two countries. The United Nations is much more than just Security Council - its activities are essential for millions of people around the world. Nevertheless, the Iraqi crisis posed again the need for institutional changes in the United Nations, if it is to address properly the challenges and threats of the 21 st century - protection of human rights, poverty, weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.
Joint seminar of European and world federalists:
"The contribution of the EU to the strengthening and democratisation of the United Nations and the whole system of world institutions and organisations"
The public seminar of European and world federalists was the next topic on the agenda. Among speakers were Mr Lucio LEVI (WFM/UEF), Mr Andreas Bummel (WFM); the debate was co-chaired by Mr James Christie (WFM) and Mr Bruno Boissiere (UEF Secretary General).
The speakers agreed that the European Union plays a significant role in the United Nations system. Mr Boissiere stressed that world and European federalism are two sides of the same medal; strengthening of the federalism in the world means contributing to the world peace. According to Mr LEVI, European integration is not only a regional matter; on the contrary, it affects the whole world. Mr Bummel said that the European strategy must lead towards world unification. European Union should serve as a promoter of democratisation of the United Nations. In his opinion, intergovernmental cooperation is not enough; the United Nations need a Parliamentary Assembly to gather the representatives of the whole world to find solutions for the common world problems. In the conclusion, Mr Boissiere emphasised that concrete decisions as to WFM/UEF cooperation will be taken soon, preferably until the next UEF congress in March 2004. Joint actions, common positions and documents, along with the possible WFM membership of the UEF will be discussed in the near future.
UEF- Denmark Constitutive Assembly
On the second day, while WFM members attended their own Council meeting, about 17 UEF members supported the launch of UEF's new Danish member organisation held in an historic half-timbered house. Due to the presence of non-Danish speakers, the Danish founders decided to hold their meeting in English (!). The best-known member of UEF-Denmark is their President, Professor Finn Laursen , a political scientist well known in Federal Trust, UACES and other international academic circles.
During the meeting the new Danish members emphasised that their main goal was to influence the Danish debate on European integration and federalism in particular. They would primarily do so by writing articles, collecting essays and support publications on these issues and broaden their activities as the number of adherents increased. It was stressed that they benefited from the support of the Danish European Movement (whose Secretary-General was present) that is politically very involved in the political processes relating to EU issues in Denmark.
We wish the new Danish UEF constituent organisation good luck with transforming Danish public opinion!
For further information, please contact Per Skrumsager , the Secretary-General of UEF-DK: per(at)skrumsager.net
UEF-DK Panel discussion: "The IGC and the draft Constitution"
On Saturday morning, the UEF members took part in a common discussion on the draft treaty. The speakers: Mr Guido Montani (MFE - Italy), Mr Erik BOEL (European Movement Denmark) and Prof. Finn LAURSEN (UEF Denmark) tried to answer several questions - what are the strengths and weaknesses of the treaty in its current draft; what results do you foresee from the IGC; what will be the impact on the workings of the Union?
Mr MONTANI stressed that it is high time for the European Union to reform itself by using the Spinelli - method, that is, to accelerate the integration by adopting a constitution for the Union. It is the time for the citizens to put forward their demands - he explained the idea by stating that 'constitution' is the pact of the citizens, whereas a 'treaty' is a pact of the governments. The civil society network must cooperate on the integration, as the governments are no longer capable of doing this. The European Parliament should therefore use its capability to call for a next convention in the future, in order to reform the Union on behalf of its citizens, also in order to abolish the veto right, still present in the CFSP area.
Prof LAURSEN expressed his disappointment as to the shape of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. In fact the CFSP remains still as a second pillar of the European Union, which will not be abolished as the draft treaty states. According to Mr BOEL, it would be a good idea to have the President of the European Commission elected directly by the European citizens in the future. Mr MONTANI added that the question of the President of the Commission must be raised during the upcoming campaign for the European Parliament elections. The speakers agreed that the political parties should appoint their candidate for this post in order to give the European citizens a clear choice. There is a need for a strong political campaign on the issue, which must be discussed with the citizens.
Finally, Mr MONTANI explained the federalism as an idea, which does not apply to a political left-to-right division. It gathers people of different political views, who share a common position as to the federalist path of Europe.
Also during the Copenhagen meetings, the UEF members held a series of preparatory meetings for the UEF Congress in Genova in March 2004 and for the UEF conference in Prague in May 2004. The UEF members present were informed about the UEF transnational projects, the UEF Newsletter and campaign materials.