Tag Archives: Ukraine

A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy

We European citizens are worried and scared. The economic and financial crisis has impoverished many of us. Youth unemployment risks creating a lost generation. Inequality grows and social cohesion is in peril. The EU is surrounded by war and instability from Ukraine to Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. The flux of refugees and migrants has become a structural feature we must address together, in a human and forward-looking manner. In many Member states we witness authoritarian tendencies and the rise of nationalist and xenophobic forces. Democracy and the core values of the European modern civilisation are under attack. The EU itself is questioned, although it ensured peace, democracy and welfare for decades.

We European citizens don’t want our national politicians to care only about their next local or national election. They ask for European solutions to European problems but then they act to render those solutions impossible or ineffective. They disregard sensible Commission proposals or fail to implement decisions already taken , including when agreed by all. They claim, one day, for Europe to do something and protest, the following day, Europe’s proposed actions.

As the anniversary of the signature of the EU’s founding treaties is approaching, a group of over 300 European academics and personalities are endorsing this appeal to relaunch European integration and inviting civil society, academia, young people and citizens to participate to the March for Europe in Rome on March 25.

Alberto Alemanno for VoxEurop

Signing of the Treaty of Rome, March 25, 1957.

Signing of the Treaty of Rome, March 25, 1957. – AP Images – Treaty of Rome, originally (1957–93) Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community, succeeded by (1993–2009) Treaty Establishing the European Community and (2009– ) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; also called, together with the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

25 March 2017 is the day of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties which have made the EU project the most successful experiment of peace and integration ever.

This date may go down history as yet another self-praising, boring, closed-door party of 27 EU leaders or as the germ of a first conscious, popular and patriotic European manifestation. A March for Europe – mimicking the one that took place in London in the aftermath of the Brexit vote – has been announced by the Union of European Federalists. Unfortunately, only the usual suspects – a few pro-European organisations – are behind this one-in-a-generation opportunity to show how many citizens of Europe support and share its ideals, values and lifestyles. Despite its high-potential in prompting a genuine, pan-European manifestation calling for a renewal of the EU project through an inclusive, constituent process, the risk that it may reveal a flop is dangerously high.

The appeal below intends to pierce the typical Brussels bubble currently surrounding the March for Europe, by broadening its audience to a much wider public. There has never been a better opportunity to federate – in a critical moment of its existence – the multitude of associations, movements and grassroots actors who believe in the European project. There has never been a better opportunity to make your voice heard and contribute to the emergent European public space. There has been never been a better opportunity to shape your history and that of the generations to come.

See you in Rome on 25 March. Help us spread the call below through the hashtag #MarchForEurope2017!

A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy

We European citizens are worried and scared. The economic and financial crisis has impoverished many of us. Youth unemployment risks creating a lost generation. Inequality grows and social cohesion is in peril. The EU is surrounded by war and instability from Ukraine to Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. The flux of refugees and migrants has become a structural feature we must address together, in a human and forward-looking manner. In many Member states we witness authoritarian tendencies and the rise of nationalist and xenophobic forces. Democracy and the core values of the European modern civilisation are under attack. The EU itself is questioned, although it ensured peace, democracy and welfare for decades.

We European citizens don’t want our national politicians to care only about their next local or national election. They ask for European solutions to European problems but then they act to render those solutions impossible or ineffective. They disregard sensible Commission proposals or fail to implement decisions already taken , including when agreed by all. They claim, one day, for Europe to do something and protest, the following day, Europe’s proposed actions.

We ask national politicians and the media to stop depicting integration as a zero-sum game, thus pitting nations against one another. In an interdependent world no nation can satisfy all of its citizens’ basic needs and appeals for social justice. In this context, integration and supranational government is a positive-sum game. Our European social model based on liberal democracy and a social market economy can only survive in a multi-level framework of government, on the basis of the subsidiarity principle.

Dutch passportEstonian passportWe European citizens are aware that globalisation is transforming the world. We need a European government to foster our common values and contribute to the solution of the global problems threatening humanity. The world needs an outward-looking cosmopolitan Europe to help build a more effective and democratic global governance to cope with climate change, peace, global poverty, and the transition to an environmentally and socially sustainable economy.

Seat

The European Central Bank (ECB; French: Banque centrale européenne) = central bank for the euro and administers monetary policy of the eurozone, which consists of 19 EU member states and is one of the largest currency areas in the world.

Phrygian cap on pole.svgWe European citizens recognise the EU as an incomplete Res Publica. It has a ridiculous budget (0.9 percent of GDP) and no financial autonomy from Member states, while its current competences are out of date for what is necessary to successfully answer the challenges of the current crises. It has a federal like legislative, judiciary and central bank. But democracy is the possibility for citizens to choose the government and make it accountable. For the Union to work and be democratic its decisions, including budget, foreign and defence policy, and the reform of the Treaties, should primarily be taken by a qualified majority representing the majority will of European citizens and states. The Commission should evolve into a fully-fledged government, setting and promoting a political agenda legitimated through elections. European parties should present their candidates to the Presidency at the European election.

The alternative is a directly elected President of the EU merging the Presidencies of the Commission and the European Council.

On 14 February 1984 the European Parliament adopted the Draft Treaty establishing the European Union, the so-called Spinelli Project, pointing towards a political union, which Member states disregarded. On 14 February 2017 we call upon the European Parliament, the only directly elected body of the EU, to take a new initiative to kick-start the EU on strengthened democratic basis. Talking about banking, fiscal, economic, energy, security, defence and political unions makes sense only within a genuine democratic European Union, with all those policies under a European government.

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Signing of the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, in the Jerónimos Monastery of Lisbon, Portugal, 13 December 2007, which entered into force on 1 December 2009

On 25 March 2017 the Heads of state and government will celebrate the Treaties of Rome establishing the European Economic Community and Euratom in 1957. We call upon them to match the vision of the Founders. They should open the way to the re-foundation of the EU on the basis of the European Parliament proposal, and immediately exploit all the Lisbon Treaties’ instruments to strengthen EU institutions and policies, especially on foreign and security, economic and social policies.

We call upon the Europe’s youth, its civil society, workers, entrepreneurs, academia, local governments and European citizens to participate in the March for Europe in Rome on 25 March. Together we shall give the political leaders the strength and courage to push forward the EU to a new beginning. European unity is key to solve our common problems, safeguard our values and ensure our welfare, security and democracy.

This Appeal was drafted by Roberto Castaldi with Giuliano Amato, Yves Bertoncini, Stefan Collignon, Anthony Giddens, Ulrike Guérot, and Miguel Maduro. It is available in various languages for further adhesions at March for Europe with the list of signatures and the info on the March.

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March for Europe: in Rome on March 25

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English: Constituency for the European Parliam...

English: Constituency for the European Parliament election in 2009 Español: Mapa por el Elecciones al Parlamento Europeo de 2009 Français : Circonscriptions aux élections européennes en 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Human tragedy need to be addressed at source

60 years after creation of European Economic Community, Europeans skeptical about one of their biggest achievements this century

F: Une véritable Union européenne pour garantir le bien-être, la sécurité et la démocratie

D.: Eine echte Europäische Union die Gemeinwohl, Sicherheit und Demokratie gewährleistet

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Une véritable Union européenne pour garantir le bien-être, la sécurité et la démocratie

Blue: Solde migratoire positif; Vert: Solde migratoire stable; Rouge: Solde migratoire négatif; Gris: Pas de données

Nous, citoyens européens, sommes inquiets et effrayés. Beaucoup d’entre nous ont été appauvris par la crise économique et financière. Le chômage des jeunes risque de créer une génération perdue. Les inégalités augmentent et la cohésion sociale est en péril. L’Union européenne est cernée par les conflits et l’instabilité de l’Ukraine à la Turquie, en passant par le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord. L’afflux de réfugiés et de migrants est devenu un enjeu structurel que nous devons appréhender ensemble, de manière humaine et en étant tournés vers l’avenir. Dans de nombreux États membres, la tendance est à l’autoritarisme et à la montée des forces nationalistes et xénophobes. La démocratie et les valeurs essentielles de la civilisation moderne européenne sont menacées. L’Union européenne elle-même est remise en question, bien qu’elle garantisse la paix, la démocratie et le bien-être depuis des décennies.

Nous, citoyens européens, ne voulons pas de responsables politiques nationaux qui ne pensent qu’à la prochaine élection locale ou nationale. Ces derniers réclament des solutions européennes aux problèmes européens, mais rendent ensuite ces solutions impossibles ou inefficaces. Ils négligent des propositions judicieuses de la Commission et n’appliquent pas des décisions déjà prises, y compris celles sur lesquelles ils se sont tous mis d’accord. Ils demandent un jour à l’Europe d’intervenir et le lendemain, ils lui reprochent ses actions. Les responsables politiques nationaux et les médias doivent cesser de présenter l’intégration comme un jeu à somme nulle, et de monter ainsi les pays les uns contre les autres. Dans un monde interdépendant, aucun pays ne peut satisfaire à lui seul tous les besoins essentiels de ses citoyens et les appels à la justice sociale. Dans ce contexte, l’intégration et la gouvernance supranationale sont un jeu à somme positive. Fondé sur la démocratie libérale et une économie sociale de marché, notre modèle social européen ne peut survivre que dans un cadre de gouvernance à plusieurs niveaux, sur la base du principe de subsidiarité.

Nous, citoyens européens, sommes conscients du fait que la mondialisation transforme le monde. Nous avons besoin d’un gouvernement européen pour soutenir nos valeurs communes et contribuer à résoudre les problèmes mondiaux qui menacent l’humanité. Le monde a besoin d’une Europe cosmopolite tournée vers l’extérieur pour soutenir la création d’une gouvernance mondiale plus efficace et démocratique et gérer les enjeux du changement climatique, de la paix, de la pauvreté mondiale et de la transition vers une économie durable sur les plans environnemental et social.

Image illustrative de l'article Banque centrale européenne

Siège de La Banque centrale européenne (BCE), la principale institution monétaire de l’Union européenne.

Nous, citoyens européens, reconnaissons que l’Union européenne est une Res Publica incomplète. Son budget est ridicule (0,9 % du PIB), elle n’a aucune autonomie financière vis-à-vis des États membres et les compétences dont elle dispose aujourd’hui ne sont pas à la hauteur des enjeux des crises actuelles. Elle a un système de type fédéral en matière législative, judiciaire et monétaire (Banque centrale européenne). Toutefois, la démocratie signifie que les citoyens peuvent choisir leur gouvernement et le responsabiliser. Pour que l’Union fonctionne et soit démocratique, ses décisions, y compris celles sur le budget, la politique étrangère et de défense et la réforme des traités, doivent se prendre essentiellement à la majorité qualifiée représentant la volonté majoritaire des citoyens et pays européens. La Commission devrait devenir un gouvernement à part entière, définissant et soutenant un programme politique légitimé par les élections. Les partis européens devraient présenter leurs candidats à la présidence lors des élections européennes. La solution alternative serait d’élire directement un président de l’Union européenne qui fusionne les présidences de la Commission et du Conseil européen.

Le 14 février 1984, le Parlement européen a adopté le projet de traité instituant l’Union européenne, appelé “projet Spinelli”, visant une union politique que les États membres ont ignorée. Le 14 février 2017, nous appelons le Parlement européen, le seul organe directement élu de l’UE, à prendre une nouvelle initiative en vue de relancer l’Union sur des bases démocratiques renforcées. Il ne fait sens de parler d’unions bancaire, budgétaire, économique, politique, de l’énergie, de la sécurité et de la défense qu’au sein d’une véritable Union européenne démocratique, avec toutes ces politiques gérées par un gouvernement européen.

Le 25 mars 2017, les chefs d’État ou de gouvernement célébreront les traités de Rome qui ont institué la Communauté économique européenne et la Communauté européenne de l’énergie atomique en 1957. Nous leur demandons de respecter la vision des pères fondateurs. Il faut ouvrir la voie à la refonte de l’Union européenne à partir de la Description de cette image, également commentée ci-aprèsproposition du Parlement européen et mettre tout de suite à profit tous les instruments du traité de Lisbonne en vue de renforcer les institutions et les politiques européennes, notamment les politiques sociale, économique, étrangère et de défense. Nous appelons les jeunes Européens, la société civile, les travailleurs, les entrepreneurs, les universitaires, les autorités locales et les citoyens européens à participer à la Marche pour l’Europe qui aura lieu à Rome, le 25 mars 2017. Ensemble, nous devons apporter aux dirigeants politiques la force et le courage de donner un nouvel élan à l’Union européenne. L’unité européenne est essentielle pour résoudre nos problèmes communs, protéger nos valeurs et garantir notre bien-être, notre sécurité et la démocratie.

Cet appel a été rédigé par Roberto Castaldi avec Giuliano Amato, Yves Bertoncini, Stefan Collignon, Anthony Giddens, Ulrike Guérot, et Miguel Maduro. Il est disponible dans plusieurs langues si vous souhaitez adhérer sur March for Europe, avec la liste des signatures et les informations sur la Marche.

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March for Europe: 2017 Rome Mars 25

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Article précédent: 60 years after creation of European Economic Community, Europeans skeptical about one of their biggest achievements this century

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D.: Eine echte Europäische Union die Gemeinwohl, Sicherheit und Demokratie gewährleistet

E.: A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy

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UNHCR recommends measures for strengthening security and refugee protection

Flag of United Nations Refugee AgencyUNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed on 18 December 2015, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva released guidance aimed at helping States deal with security concerns while maintaining vital standards of refugee protection.

2015 was a horrible year for millions of people who had to leave their own habitat, trying to find places where they could find some peace. The number of forcibly displaced people worldwide will far surpass a record 60 million this year.

With almost a million people having crossed the Mediterranean as refugees and migrants so far this year, and conflicts in Syria and elsewhere continuing to generate staggering levels of human suffering, 2015 is likely to exceed all previous records for global forced displacement, the UN Refugee Agency warned in a new report today.

The global refugee total, which a year ago was 19.5 million, had as of mid-2015 passed the 20 million threshold (20.2 million) for the first time since 1992. Asylum applications meanwhile were up 78 per cent (993,600) over the same period in 2014. And the numbers of internally displaced people jumped by around 2 million to an estimated 34 million.

The report by the United Nations refugee agency says one in every 122 humans today is someone who has been forced to flee their homes.

It notes that the figure includes 20.2 million refugees, the highest total since 1992.

The report says the numbers were mainly driven by the Syrian war, conflict in Ukraine and other protracted conflicts.

Persian Gulf states, which were not a party to the 1951 treaty, have not accepted refugees despite sharing a common language and geographic proximity in the Arabian Peninsula. Lebanon meanwhile hosts more refugees compared to its population size than any other country, with 209 refugees per 1000 inhabitants. And Ethiopia pays most in relation to the size of its economy with 469 refugees for every dollar of GDP (per capita, at PPP). Overall, the lion’s share of the global responsibility for hosting refugees continues to be carried by countries immediately bordering zones of conflict, many of them in the developing world. The United States (and Canada) has limited Syrian refugees to about 1500 since that country’s war broke out in 2011. However, the United States has provided more than $4 billion in humanitarian aid and almost one-third of the more than $574 million provided for the refugees. Reshaping the Middle East Exact numbers on population shifts are difficult to determine because of the chaos in both Syria and Iraq. While some four million Syrians have fled the country, another 6 to 7 million have been internally displaced.

“Forced displacement is now profoundly affecting our times. It touches the lives of millions of our fellow human beings both those forced to flee and those who provide them with shelter and protection,”

High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said.

“Never has there been a greater need for tolerance, compassion and solidarity with people who have lost everything,”

he added.

Nearly 2.5 million asylum seekers have requests pending, with Germany, Russia and the United States receiving the highest numbers of the nearly one million new claims lodged in the first half of the year.

Currently, with growing polarization of political debate concerning refugees in some countries, the concern is that asylum-seekers and refugees could be victimized, and refugee protection which has saved the lives of millions of people since World War Two could be endangered.

Two important points to bear in mind here are that refugees are themselves fleeing persecution and violence, often including terrorist acts; and that the 1951 Refugee Convention explicitly excludes people who are combatants or who have committed serious crimes.

For us it is very difficult to know if between the refugees are also fighters or infiltrators. Lots of people are afraid that Muslim fundamentalists may also enter our regions that way. But this would be most likely. The conditions how the refugees enter our regions is so bad that the Muslim fundamentalists can use much better and more safely way to enter our countries.

With border controls, UNHCR understands the need of States to identify security concerns at the point of entry, for example through increased checks, including the use of biometrics such as fingerprints and iris scans. Its recommendations include practical guidance on ensuring that these and other measures are carried out properly and proportionately and subject to judicial control, and avoiding discrimination, for example based on nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion. Applications for asylum must be looked at individually.

With cases involving the exclusion of people for serious criminal or terrorist acts, the paper of the UNHCR recommends that a factual and legal assessment be done, if needed, by specialized exclusion units. Guidance is provided on this and related measures, including handling of extradition requests, and detention. It also notes that people providing funds to terrorist organizations could themselves be excluded from refugee status, depending on the individual circumstances.

Registration is a crucial part of the refugee protection process, and UNHCR believes that proper systems for this, plus identity and security screening are essential including in situations of large-scale refugee influxes. As refugees are people at risk of their lives, information-sharing between States has to be done in line with established principles and standards on data protection.

Resettlement and other forms of admission remain a key tool for providing refugees with safety and a solution to their plight. In light of today’s record number of forcibly displaced people globally some 60 million the paper makes the point that it is more crucial than ever that resettlement and other forms of admission remain viable and effective options for the international community in dealing with refugees.

Resettlement programmes are handled between UNHCR and receiving States, which in many cases invoke far tougher screening than for almost any other form of admission to a country. Nonetheless, and to assuage concerns, UNHCR’s recommendations include support for continuing security screening not least as effective resettlement programmes provide a regular and safe alternative to dangerous sea and other journeys that not only put refugee lives at risk, but also profit smugglers and make the jobs of border security forces even more difficult.

Arguably the biggest risk for any environment of insecurity is that of increasing xenophobia and vilification directed towards people fleeing violent conflicts. The paper calls on States to exert continued resolute leadership in de-dramatizing and de-politicizing the challenges associated with managing refugee flows.

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