One year before the European elections, Stand up for the United States of Europe aims to position the European Union at the centre of citizen concerns, with the objective of presenting an electoral list for the next European elections of May 2014. Following this first step Stand Up seeks to unite various federalist movements in order to become a true pan-European political force. In attachments : manifesto, survey, abstract, photos.
A growing Euro-scepticism, lack of political unity, mistrust towards the institutional structures in the 27 (soon to be 28) Member States of the Union: these are all symptoms that the European debate remains mired down, ill-equipped to tackle the critical issues facing Europeans today. This is why in the spirit of civic engagement; leading personalities from civil society have launched the movement Stand up for the United States of Europe. In line with the ideas of Guy Verhofstadt and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, its leaders aspire to the creation of a real European federation.
The prime movers of “Stand Up”
This new federalist movement has a clear stated ambition: to present electoral lists in member states of the Union in order to defend a federalist vision of Europe. Stand Up‘s values are pervasive in our societies in a diffuse way, but are never acknowledged by the traditional parties, who, for reasons of domestic politics, cannot express the non-partisan and unifying position embodied by Stand Up. Many personalities from civil society share this analysis and have chosen to show their support by joining the Support Committee:
Pierre-Olivier Beckers (President of the Executive Committee and Chief Executive Officer of Delhaize Group), Jean-Pierre Buyle (former President of the Brussels Bar), Bruno Colmant (Doctor in Applied Economics and Business Engineering at ULB), Paul Dujardin (Executive and Artistic Director of BOZAR), Marc Filipson (Founder and director of Filigranes), Frédéric Flamand (Choreographer and Director), Michaël Guttman (violinist), Pierre Lallemand (architect and designer), Yvan de Launoit (Researcher in experimental cancerology), Guibert del Marmol (social entrepreneur), Pierre Mertens (writer), Jan Rubes (Professor at the Faculties of Philosophy and Humanities and Social Sciences, Economics and Politics at ULB), Marcel Rozencweig (oncologist, Director of Medical Affairs, Innate Pharma and Associate Professor at New York University), Maurice Sosnowski (Head of service at the Saint-Pierre/Bordet Hospitals and Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at ULB), Thomas Spitaels (President of the Executive Committee of the TPF Group, Entrepreneur of the Year 2012).
A European citizens’ initiative
The movement seeks to re-invigorate the political dimension of a common European agenda. Faced with the crucial choices that await Europeans, the movement is advocating a European Federation that can promote convergent policies on education and training, research and development, make its voice be heard in the area of energy and environmental policy, promote freedom, pull its weight on global economic policy issues and international diplomacy, revitalise the labour market in order to protect our countries from spiralling unemployment and sustain our social welfare system, boost the competitiveness of European businesses and promote our know how, support increased European mobility, and foster European cultures through ambitious policies to support and promote our artistic, intellectual and scientific heritage.
The challenges facing Europe require a much stronger capability for coordinated responses combined with simpler institutional structures allowing a process of rapid and consistent decision making. Europe is in need of more resources, but also of more transparency and democracy. This is why the founders of Stand Up wish to build a Federal European space with a president, a government, a parliament with two chambers and a common budget. A federated Europe will be stronger and better equipped to address various (economic, social, cultural, etc.) future challenges on an international level.
The movement Stand Up for the United States of Europe strives for a democratic Europe that is capable of transcending the competing interests of national public authorities that generate tremendous amounts of wasted energy. A federal Europe that believes in itself, in its own momentum and in its elites; which fosters debates and the creation of innovative ideas; a forum where our countries can learn from each other, rather than a divided continent where demagogues exploit peoples’ fears to prevent Europe from progressing. An organised and ambitious Europe, supporting a shared project, whose combined expertise offers the best possible safeguards in response to the effects of the current crisis and the challenges of the future, which no Member State is strong enough to handle on its own.
The political programme
The political programme of Stand Up is not defined within the classical political boundaries. For the challenges Europeans are facing today require solutions that transcend traditional political divisions, that are capable of winning the support of citizens of all political persuasions. For the leaders of Stand Up, the creation of a United States of Europe is a prerequisite for the development of a legitimate project for our society. That is the reason why the elections of May 2014 represent a crucial first milestone. The manifest of Stand Up for the United States of Europe, annexed to this document, lays out its programme in more details.
One year before the big day: a challenging survey (see documents in attachment)
According to the survey conducted by Toluna QuickSurveys in April 2013, on a sample of 6.200 Internet users in 10 European countries, Euro-pessimism is not inevitable: 95,2% of respondents expect new European initiatives, particularly on issues of economic development, social protection and the fight against crime. Declining confidence in the European institutions does not reflect demands to exit Europe or cut back its influence, but rather expresses the wish for another Europe. The model of theUnited States of Europe suggested by Stand Up seems to generate a great level of interest within 50% of the population.
These results go against widely held euro-sceptic assumptions about people’s expectations surrounding Europe and reflect the concerns of voters who will speak out in May 2014. Of course, these figures do not prognosticate the outcome of the vote, but they describe a general trend indicating considerable overlap between the concerns of Stand Up and those of Europeans. The complete survey results are attached.
Target May 2014
The European institutions, increasingly aware of the continuously widening gap between these institutions and the European citizens, have named 2013 the “European Year of Citizens“. This only reinforces Stand Up‘s determination to persuade national political leaders of the need for European federalisation, provided that such a political initiative gains the support of a majority of Europeans. Stand Up hopes to play a useful role in convincing citizens that the path towards federalisation is the only possible one.