The “Plan D” for more dialogue, democracy and debate, launched by the European Commission last year, was the main topic discussed at the meeting between the European Commission’s Vice President Margot Wallström and representatives of the Union of European Federalists (UEF), the Young European Federalists (JEF) and the European Movement International (EMI), taking place on 18 January in Strasbourg.
“2006 will be crucial if the European Union wants to win back the citizens’ confidence. It is imperative that the debate about the future of Europe now starts in national capitals, regions and local communities”, stated the UEF Secretary-General Mr. Friedhelm Frischenschlager. The ‘Plan D’ contained a lot of interesting proposals in this respect, but “now it’s time to take concrete action”, Mr. Frischenschlager said.
According to the UEF, it is of vital importance that civil society is actively involved in informing the public about European integration and in explaining its benefits to ordinary citizens. “Ms. Wallström, you can count on us”, Mr. Frischenschlager said. European Federalists consider themselves to be the Commission’s allies when it comes to promote democracy and dialogue. “We have been campaigning for more transparency and democracy in Europe for the last fifty years and can thus claim a high degree of authenticity and credibility.”
Mr. Frischenschlager added that the Union of European Federalists, together with their partners from the Young European Federalists and the European Movement International, were ready to work with the Commission and its delegations in order to make “Plan D” work and bring Europe closer to the citizens.
Finally, Mr. Frischenschlager reminded, that Europe does not only need more democracy but also “real leadership and a vision for the future of Europe”. "In view of the paralysis after the French and Dutch votes, the EU must not forget about the need for institutional reform - and that is best achieved through a European Constitution!”, the UEF Secretary-General concluded.
Note to editors
The UEF, founded in 1946, is an independent and non-governmental European organisation, campaigning for a federal Europe. Since April 2005, it is presided over by Mrs. Mercedes BRESSO, President of the Italian Region of Piedmont, Member of the EU Committee of the Regions.