Our Political Programme
Since the merger with Stand Up for Europe please find the new website here.
The Political Programme of the European Federalist Party has been voted and adopted at the 3rd European Convention of the European Federalist Party, on November 10th 2013. You can download it here or read it below!
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This is your Europe!
We as Europeans are facing some unprecedented challenges. High unemployment, the mounting of nationalist movements, the dismantling of our welfare systems, the economic crisis, climate change, an increasingly unstable neighbourhood and the rise of continental-scale world powers are just some examples.
It is now increasingly clear that our individual countries are not able to give an answer to this century’s problems. At the same time, the “Eurocrisis” has shown that today’s European Union is not well equipped to tackle these challenges either. In other words, we are losing our grip on our future. For these reasons, there is a clear need to move further in the process of European integration. This, however, will only be possible if “we”, the citizens of Europe, share this vision. The vision of a Europe-wide democracy that is truly democratic and accountable to its citizens
We as Europeans need to face the fundamental question of what we share and what we want to achieve together. This requires a deep pan-European political debate engaging every citizen within and across member states. Only a truly participatory approach can nurture a genuine sense of ownership of the European project among our citizens and reinforce the democratic legitimacy of decisions taken at European level.
We as Europeans want to ensure that our quality of life, and that of future generations, regains a central role in the political debate. Employees and employers, retired persons and students are all closely interdependent. Together we have the strength to overcome our current difficulties and project Europe into a “new Renaissance”.
In light of the above, the European Federalist Party shall take part in the 2014 European Parliament elections with the following political programme.
1. Let’s build a 500 million citizens-strong democracy in Europe
The European project has ensured peace and prosperity across Europe for the last 60 years. However in this process, the participation of citizens has been all too often neglected. In failing to act promptly to resolve the crisis, government leaders in the European Council have taken decisions affecting all Europeans, without being accountable to the totality of the European citizens, but only to their national constituencies. We believe that European citizens must be the owners of the decisions taken in Europe and that there must be a stronger link between the decisions taken in at the European level and the citizens. For this reasons we propose the following points.
1.1. Our Shared Values
Our main objective is to create a genuine European democracy. A democracy that is able to give back to its citizens the opportunity to decide on their own future. A democracy that protects them and that provides for new opportunities for the future generations of Europeans.
The ownership of this transnational democracy should lie in the hands of European citizens, engaged at every level from the local, to the European one. Its mandate will be limited to areas that enhance our common values of social justice, quality of life and security for every European citizen and its management will be transparent, as close to the citizens as possible and based on solid principles and sound public finances.
At all times respect for diversity in language, religion, non-belief, culture and individual identity – in all its facets – will be ensured. This diversity constitutes the richness of our continent and represents the freedom of individual expression. With full respect for this diversity, we shall aim to unite Europe’s citizens in reaching our common goals.
1.2. A Europe Accountable to its People
Half of all European citizens do not believe that their voice has any impact in European elections. We therefore propose the creation of a representative European government, headed by a democratically elected President and accountable to a bicameral European parliament. One chamber shall represent European citizens; the other shall represent member states. The European parliament shall have the right to initiate legislation.
To ensure that citizens’ voices and opinions are heard and are taken into consideration, the European citizens’ initiative, currently allowing one million European citizens to ask for the Commission to present a legislative proposal, should be further strengthened. In particular, if more than a million Europeans subscribe to one initiative, the European Parliament should vote on such proposal.
1.3. A constitution for the people and written by the people
We believe the current European treaties are too complex for us, the citizens. We therefore wish to establish a European constitution that is simple and transparent. It shall set out the essential rights of each citizen, the division of responsibilities between the local, national and European governments, and the creation of accountable and transparent institutions.
The essential rights of each European citizen should be embodied in this constitution. The existing Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union may serve as its starting point.
We believe that the division of powers between local, regional, national and European levels should follow the principle of subsidiarity. Therefore responsibilities should lie with the institution closest to citizens when that provides the most efficient results.
Enhancing social justice, ensuring higher quality of life and providing security for each European citizen requires definition and coordination at the European level in the fields of social standards, higher education, defence and foreign policy, immigration and asylum policy, energy supply and environmental protection. This political programme puts forward some proposals in these areas.
1.4. How to get to a federal Europe?
The citizens of each member state should have the right to be consulted on whether his/her country should be part of the European federation, or rather of a looser form of intergovernmental cooperation which would be mostly based on the principle of free trade among its members (as in a weakened version of the current European Union).
The process of drafting this constitution should involve the European citizens. This constitutional text should be ratified by a popular pan-European referendum, which should take place in every country at the same time, or through a similarly legitimate procedure. The new Federal Constitution will be considered as adopted only in the countries where the majority of the population has voted in favour, and only if at least 1/3 of all Europeans having the right to vote has voted in favour. Those countries where their citizens have voted against the text, would not be part of the federation but will have the opportunity to join at a later stage. 9th of May shall be an official holiday for Europe.
1.5. Federalism, let’s get it right
The EFP supports the federation of European countries with the objective to give more power to the European citizens according to the principle of subsidiarity and of better management whatever is their ethnic or cultural background. In this view the EFP may supports that certain policies are better dealt with at the European level while other are better managed at the regional, national or local levels. At the same time, the EFP does not support claims that are made purely on the basis of nationalistic or ethnic principles.
2. A dynamic European economy for more and better job opportunities
Many businesses have become less profitable or have even collapsed due to the crisis. As a result, while many people in Europe have lost their jobs, some countries struggle to fill vacant posts. We therefore propose to go further in the elimination of the obstacles to people moving abroad when setting up a business or looking for a job. By doing so we aim at motivating people to reach their full potential throughout Europe, while keeping the welfare system sustainable and spurring economic growth.
The vulnerable European citizens, old and young, are those that have been hit the hardest by the crisis, but all Europeans could benefit from such reforms.
2.1 A Europe where it is easier to get a job
The recognition of professional qualifications throughout Europe needs to be simplified further and quickened (see also section 5). Similarly, a social mobility fund could further motivate people to look for opportunities elsewhere in Europe by reducing the costs of relocation.
Europe is also an ageing continent. It is therefore fundamental to ensure that younger and older people can work together instead of competing on the labour market. To do so, we need to set up a better framework to facilitate intergenerational cooperation among young and older people. This shall contribute to facilitate the transfer of know-how and contribute to young peoples’ personal development.
Finally, we support the development of a European labour agency able to bridge the gap between demand and supply of jobs across Europe and facilitating better coordination between European social systems. This is necessary to ensure the transferability of social and pension rights for citizens living and working across Europe throughout their life.
2.2. A Europe where it is easier to do business and where special attention is paid to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
Regulations regarding company establishment, taxation, the issuance of operational permits and employment across Europe also need to be simplified in order to facilitate investment both from member states and from outside Europe and to ensure that Small and Medium Enterprises benefit from the advantages of the internal market.
Small and Medium Enterprises constitute the vast majority of businesses in Europe and provide the largest share of private sector jobs in Europe. However, they face very difficult times in financing their investments, not least because the banking sector is ineffective. We therefore promote initiatives by the European Central Bank and the European Investment Bank to facilitate the access to the credit market for SMEs given their significant contribution to the local economy.
In addition, more cooperation platforms between European companies should be developed in order to help SMEs around Europe to reach the necessary critical mass needed to invest in research and development and compete on the global markets.
2.3. An ambitious vision for European industry
The European public interest and that of individual companies does not always coincide, and the economic crisis has further highlighted the weaknesses of the single European countries when confronted with key the decision of large multinational companies. Europe should have a clear vision of which are the strategic sectors for our economy and for our future, and when necessary, should support their development through an ambitious industrial policy. Its action should not hamper the functioning of the market, but address market failures. For instance, it should focus on sectors in which either the size of the initial investments, or the risks involved, are too high for private companies to make the first steps. These sectors could include, for instance, the energy sector, the aerospace sector and the transport sector.
In a century where size-matters, the consolidation of European companies in a few strategic industries into larger “European industrial champions” should be made possible in order to compete on the global market.
This, of course, should not negatively affect the prices for the final European consumer. Finally, by paying particular attention to environmental protection, education and new technologies a new industrial revolution aimed at improving our well-being could be started.
At the same time, the future European government should decide which industries should be protected from takeovers from non-European investors.
2.4. Europe as a trading power
Europe is a major trade power and constitutes the world largest market. For foreign companies entering the European market can be very profitable, and this may also be beneficial for European citizens, who may be able to buy similar products at a lower price. More competition for European companies may spur innovation, but may also reduce profit margins and eventually generate unemployment in Europe given the fact that production costs are comparatively higher. It follows that trade liberalisation with third countries is not good or bad per se. What make the difference are the comparative strengths and weaknesses of European enterprises and the rules under which production and consumption takes place. We believe that the respect for intellectual property rights, the respect of safety standards and the respect of decent working conditions in the producing country should be guaranteed. In this view through our trade agreements with third countries we should be compatible with our policies of respect for human rights and social justice. By doing so we would also contain job losses in our home market due to unfair competition.
2.5. The internal market: an unfinished business
The common market is key for economic development and job creation within Europe but it is far from complete. We therefore want to create a truly European market where enterprises are free to provide goods and services, including electricity, communication and financial services, in other member states in the same way that they do domestically. This would have positive effects on the spread of technologies and best practice within the EU, reduce overall production costs and allow a better and cheaper choice for consumers.
3. Ensuring social justice for everyone
Everyone aspires to either setting up a business or having a job to earn a decent income to support him/herself and his/her family. At the same time, we believe in the value of an adequate safety net when troublesome times arrive, which may be due to health or to economic downturns. Compared to the situation in other parts of the world, the European welfare systems have been relatively successful in ensuring a fair redistribution of resources and opportunities to Europeans, while empowering each person to realise its full potential.
3.1 Making the European Social Model(s) viable
The current crisis has plunged Europe into a deep recession, putting an enormous strain on the welfare systems of some countries. The unequal distribution of the burden of this crisis is depriving many people, especially younger ones, of a decent job while pushing them into poverty. Inequalities are increasing within and across member states because of the crisis.
In today’s globalised world, in order to safeguard the improvements in well-being brought about by the European social models we need further European coordination. Only with the necessary reforms and by taking into account future challenges Europeans will be in the condition to build a strong, cutting-edge and efficient economy. To support these private efforts, well-designed social spending and investments to support competitiveness must go hand in hand.
Given the diversity of our social systems throughout Europe, sustaining our welfare systems must remain, in principle, the responsibility of local governments but should be structured on common grounds.
In particular, three particular policy areas should be addressed at European level to maintain the viability of our shared principles in an increasingly integrated Europe. These are: minimum socio-economic standards, labour mobility and European solidarity.
3.2. Not just a market: minimum standards to ensure social justice
Increasing European integration has increased the wealth of each citizen but also highlighted the large differences that exist in social standards between the east and the west, the south and the north. Within a union where workers can move freely, this may lead to social dumping and races to the bottom, especially when competition becomes fierce between member states.
We therefore believe that one of the reforms that need to be implemented is the definition of minimum social standards such as minimum revenue indexed to the cost of living at local level and the commitment to ensure that decent working conditions are applied to each worker in Europe. These measures should be an integral part of Europe’s social dimension.
3.3. Together in good days as well as in bad days
During the crisis we have seen that the European Union was paralysed when trying to address the unemployment problem as (i) it did not have a budget of the scale needed to ensure social justice and (ii) it was not able to respond adequately and rapidly enough to economic shocks because of institutional inertia.
Most currency unions have the ability – through a strong national or federal budget – to help particular regions of the monetary union facing asymmetric macroeconomic difficulties. This is beneficial for everyone, because in interlinked and interdependent economies, a social or economic problem in one country can quickly become troublesome for others, just as progress in one country can boost economic growth in others.
Indeed, since the profits of the internal market are shared throughout Europe, the burden of economic hardship should also be shared. We need to promote cross-community cohesion and solidarity in times of economic distress to ensure that an excessive gap in the living standards and opportunities of European citizens does not expand. Therefore, alongside an internal market that ensures efficiency through competition between European regions and businesses, a European complementary safety net should also be in place.
We would also like to see a renewed focus on those budget items that promote greater territorial and social cohesion, hence reducing disparity between people and regions across Europe. This is crucial to develop a competitive and inclusive European society. We wish to promote a solidarity scheme at European level that works as an automatic stabiliser, such as a European-wide unemployment benefit scheme or an unconditional basic income guarantee scheme for each European citizen.
4. Improving Europeans’ quality of life
Restoring economic growth and social stability for our citizens is closely linked to the general improvement of the quality of life of all Europeans, which ought to be the ultimate goal of a sustainable society. To do so we have to provide every European with the best possible education, regardless of his or her socio-economic background. Investments in new technologies, a greater attention to the environment and social cohesion are also crucial. These changes require a bottom-up support from the citizens, while public policy can act as a facilitator.
4.1 Personal development through education
Education is at the heart of the development of a sustainable and successful society. In tomorrow’s Europe, every level of education should be benefited from further cooperation at European level. Lower education should remain the responsibility of local and national authorities. Student exchange and ad hoc initiatives could still involve further cooperation at European level.
In principle each European student should be benefited from comparable levels of education and be equally prepared to become an active citizen able to profit from the opportunities provided by the global economy. Personal development is the key to reduce social exclusion and enhance social mobility. In order to ensure that each citizen is aware of the rights, duties and opportunities available in Europe, we want to promote initiatives and campaigns that inform citizens about these issues. These could include courses explaining how citizens can be involved as active members in a dynamic democracy. Europe should promote common understanding in European history and environment.
4.2 Excellence in research through Recognition of Diplomas and Academic Exchanges
To remain innovative and competitive in today’s world we need more collaboration in the field of higher education. One necessary measure is the improvement of the comparability and transferability of diplomas. This would further facilitate the mobility of people and workers across Europe. Furthermore, the creation of fully integrated European professional schools and universities dedicated to specific sectors or research themes would increase the effectiveness of our research by pooling our knowledge and resources and avoid duplications.
Finally, we shall also increase the number of scholarships made available to European and foreign students in order to attract the best academics and researchers to European universities.
4.3 Energy for Europe
Predictable access to energy resources and stable prices are of strategic importance for the European economy. Given the external dependence on energy supply and the interdependencies across member states, the European Union should develop a common position on energy and resource policy.
This will include the definition of the energy mix at European level and the completion of the EU energy market by financing cross-border networks and smart grids. By doing so, electricity could reach households and companies in a much more cost-effective way throughout Europe with clear benefits for the citizens.
Innovation is crucial to ensure a cost-effective renewable energy sector, which is the basis for delivering a genuinely sustainable economy for our citizens. While taking into account new developments in the energy market, Europe should lead the way in developing and deploying low-carbon technologies. This entails agreeing new internal standards on resource efficiency and more ambitious targets for binding emission reductions.
Complementarily, a common approach to secure the supply of raw materials which are required to build most high technological products (from mobile phones to satellites) is needed, as opposed to separate national initiatives.
4.4 Protecting our common Environment
The environment is a shared public good. A renewable energy sector results in better environmental protection, a concern shared by all Europeans. Environmental problems are often related to local circumstances: cities and urban areas in particular are on a daily basis confronted with problems such as air and water pollution and waste management. We therefore wish to see much more targeted cooperation between European and local levels in tackling these problems, further supporting the exchange of good practice across Europe.
5. A safer Europe in a safer world
There can be no stable and prosperous Europe within a regional and global context fraught with tensions and marked by growing uncertainty. Recent years have clearly demonstrated that the influence of Europe on the global stage is waning due to our inability to speak with one voice. We have conflicts on our doorstep as in Libya and Syria, as well as permanent tensions in the Middle East. We have trade conflicts with China and global challenges such as climate change, the global financial crisis, tax evasion and the regulation of the financial markets. These problems are shared concerns for many Europeans.
Furthermore, part of the rationale for European integration rests on founding international relations on the rule of law and not the rule of power, and in the principle of uniting peoples, not just states. Abdicating from the promotion of these goals would question the basic values of the EU. We believe therefore that Europe can and should make a contribution that its individual member states and other global actors cannot deliver.
5.1. A clearer foreign policy for Europe
European Foreign and Defence policy should be based on the principles of non-aggression, integrity, and transparency, upholding international laws and agreements. It should also remain true to democratic standards, UN development objectives (Millennium Development Goals) and the protection human rights.
Responsibility for foreign, security and defence policy should mainly lie at European level. The creation of a fully integrated diplomatic corps building on the existing European External Action Service is necessary in order to speak with one voice on the international stage and reduce current duplications in military budgets. This approach should be flexible and build on the expertise that member states have built up throughout history.
To increase interoperability and reduce costs duplications, Europe’s common defence policy should rely on one single army and a central command and play a key role within the NATO alliance. Research and development in the defence field remains fragmented across the European Union and further cooperation should be encouraged to avoid cost duplications helped by single procurement procedures set up by the single army. This means also a single military intelligence corps and a much more significant overall intelligence co-ordination.
We want a strong Europe in a multilateral world based on strong international institutions (such as the UN) and sound international law. In this light, we also advocate a single European seat defending European interests within international institutions, such as the UN Security Council, the IMF and the World Bank.
5.2. A European Migration and Asylum policy
Political tensions in neighbouringthird countries – as well as demographic and economic challenges – urge us to rethink our migration and asylum policy. The Arab spring, for instance, has resulted in thousands of people seeking refuge in Europe. Currently the burden of welcoming these migrant population lies primarily on Mediterranean countries. We believe that this should be a responsibility of Europe as a whole. Today, the non-coordinated approach to migration in the various European countries has not allowed to fully benefiting from the contribution that migrant populations can give to Europe.
There should be implemented a system of common responsibility for external border control (enforced by a Federal Border Police) and immigration laws should be harmonised under a common set of rules, whilst enforcement of such laws should be strict and effective.
Europe, however, as a continent of migrants who have travelled the world over the past centuries, should remain open to those looking for a better future in Europe and willing to positively contribute to the bettering of our continent. We should remember that migrants constitute a resource for Europe, not least because they often work in sectors that Europeans increasingly disregard and allow to maintain our welfare system viable by reducing the weight of our ageing population.
At the same time, a pragmatic approach shall be taken to assess the number of economic migrants that Europe is able to welcome and to whom it is able to provide the conditions for a decent life. The acceptance of the European legal and political system is a prerequisite to live together in a harmonious way, as fundamental it is the respect of the basic principles and values outlined in section 1. Of course, differently from economic migrants, those who seek refuge from war in Europe shall be welcomed in a humane way through a common asylum policy whose costs must be shared among member states.
We also think that migration policy should not only be a passive policy. Priority should first be given to stabilizing and supporting the development of our neighbouring countries, in particular in the Mediterranean and in Eastern neighbourhood, and to improve the living standards and democratic institutions of those countries from which immigration originates.
5.3. Better cooperation to fight against organised crime
Criminal organisations do not stop at the European border and can move freely within Europe. It follows that further cooperation among our national police is needed. This includes a more effective exchange of information and better training. In addition, a federal police could be envisaged to deal with federal crimes (such as terrorism, organised crime, human traffic and federal tax evasion) backed by the European Public Prosecutor and criminal courts.
6. Delivering sound public finances while tackling the recession? Yes, we can.
The causes of the crisis are manifold and go beyond the mere accumulation of excessive public debt. Banks’ risky investments, private debt, sclerotic governments, a general lack of competitiveness and the panic of the financial sector fuelled the recession we are facing right now. Five years into the crisis unemployment numbers are at a record high and the recession is continuing. It is clear that national and European leaders and institutions have failed in their task to cope with the crisis and that a new approach, based on democratically accountable and efficient decision-making is necessary. Indeed, no one believes that any single country on its own can climb out of this crisis stronger.
The federal European government would be able to implement a complete set of measures that will spur economic growth and ensure a prosperous and stable Europe for its citizens. These measures include the further development of the internal market, support schemes for Small and Medium Enterprises, the creation of Eurobonds, the establishment of a banking union, an adaptation of the mandate of the European Central Bank and the creation of a significant European budget based on its own resources.
6.1. More value for money: A real European Budget and lower Taxes
To reach our common goals, Europe should have its own resources while reducing the overall tax burden on each European citizen. We wish to use a European budget to fund those policies that deliver value for our citizens, such as the creation of an integrated European energy market, support for local environmental policies, industrial policy and transport infrastructure. A financial transaction tax approved by the European Parliament as currently debated in the EU as well as environmental levies could also be considered.
As pointed out elsewhere in this political programme, specific initiatives that foster European integration such as labour mobility, research and student exchanges should be federally supported. Also, a European social insurance system should be set up to complement the free movement of capital and labour in the internal market to put an end to ‘social dumping’. Convergence of European standards should produce an overall improvement and not a worsening of citizens’ rights.
This budget shall by no means be financed through national contributions, but rather national taxes will be replaced with European taxes such as a federal VAT or a European tax for large corporations that operate Europe-wide.
A common framework covering a federal tax scheme for corporate tax, consumption tax and income tax would reduce tax evasion and tax competition between member states as well as the overall tax burden on European citizens. Corporate tax rates throughout Europe should also be harmonized and simplified. Reducing the overall taxation should be envisaged as a way to reduce tax evasion, foster the relocation of companies within in Europe and increasing the purchasing power of European citizens by reducing their tax burden.
6.2. Reducing the costs of European debt and investing in the future: Eurobonds
The current public debt problem is a shared European responsibility. Indeed, for every good debtor there is a bad debtor which allows the former to have better conditions compared to the latter. The unsustainable interest rate spreads experienced in some European countries were primarily driven by markets panic and, to a lesser degree, by underlying economic conditions. The strategy to solve the problem solely through austerity and reforms has backfired. Debt levels are higher than ever. We therefore support the short-term use of Eurobonds to give some relief to the liquidity pressure on our economies, while supporting democratically backed economic reform at national level.
A democratically legitimate oversight of national budgets should also be put in place at the federal level in order to ensure that member states do not generate uncontrolled amounts of debt in the years ahead.
At the same time, the EFP supports the use of Eurobonds to fund strategic European investments, such as research in strategic and innovative sectors, investments in trans-European rail and energy networks as well as investments in science and technology.
6.3. Never again a similar financial crisis: setting up a Banking Union
A banking union is needed to stop the vicious circle between government debt and banks’ debt. This union should ensure the application of the same standards of supervision across the EU through a European banking regulator. In addition it should include a European crisis resolution mechanism and European deposit insurance scheme so that member states’ public finances are not solely liable for rescuing banks that operate on a European scale.
The EFP wishes also to rethink the structure of banks and separate investment banks from saving banks in order to avoid that citizens’ savings are put in risky investments. Finally, banks should not be ‘too big to fail’, as in the eventuality of a financial crisis the cost of a bail-out would ultimately be borne by taxpayers while profits remain privately owned within the bank. This is no longer considered acceptable by the citizens.
6.4. The European Central Bank: supporting growth and fighting inflation
The EFP believes that the mandate of the European Central Bank should be extended beyond maintaining price stability ensuring that economic growth and employment are also taken into account, as happens in the United States. Despite the fact that interest rates are at an all-time low, economic confidence has not yet rebounded. Weak European aggregate demand means that businesses have no incentive to invest. In addition the European Central Bank should have the instruments necessary to ensure that monetary policy is reflected in private banks’ policies: for instance when the ECB cuts its interest rates, both citizens and businesses should find it cheaper to borrow money.
The ECB should be the lender of last resort and provide money to member states. ECB shall emit monetary obligations (Eurobonds), shall manage the Eurozone currency, money supply and interest rates. ECB should, under specific circumstances, increase the amount of money in Eurozone and the federal currency.
7. We, Europeans living together in Europe.
Europe is a patchwork of different individual identities, cultures and languages that continuously interact with one another. This constitutes the richness of Europe and one of the reasons for our success throughout history. It is therefore something that should be preserved. However, we believe that Europeans also form a community with shared values, interests and common goals. A European democracy can only work when there is a public sphere where people are informed and are able to communicate with each other. Therefore we wish to strengthen this sense of belonging to the same community and fully integrate civil society organisations in the policymaking process.
7.1. A true European citizenship: Voting Rights at every election
Currently European citizens living in other member states can vote for local elections and European elections, but not for all national elections. In a federal Europe, every European citizen would have the right to vote and to stand in all elections that are held in the member state where he/she resides. This would be in line with the principle of the free movement of citizens, and with the objective of fostering active citizenship.
7.2. Languages: acting as a citizen anywhere in Europe
A European citizen shall be able to play an active role in the society, including being held accountable for its duties and uphold his/her rights, anywhere in Europe. For this reason, while we favour maintaining the various official languages of the European Union and we promote within member states the teaching of various European languages in order to strengthen communication between Europeans, we believe that English should be used as the vehicular language. This means that certain standard documents should be available all over Europe in both the national language and in English. For instance, the documents to register a business, to file a complaint with the local police or to be hospitalised at a local hospital should be made available in English.
7.3. Improving our common Understanding
Exchange programmes and cooperation in education, sports and culture as well as traineeships or European civil service schemes make a very important contribution to strengthen our common understanding, and develop the personal skills needed to live and work in an increasingly multicultural environment. In a context where emerging countries are rapidly catching up on the provision of higher education, these skills are indispensable for Europe to remain competitive. As noted above, we believe that such programmes need to be expanded further. Exchange programmes should also be promoted in amateur and school sports.
European civil society organisations are increasingly active throughout Europe. They play an important role in today’s Europe as they contribute to build a common platform for debating issues of interest for European citizens. For this reason we believe that their input in the policymaking process should be taken into account even further.
Finally, we would also wish to promote a European public broadcasting station available all over Europe (on the model of today’s Euronews). The content of such a broadcasting station, differently from what happens today, shall be determined by European citizens through a participatory process.
7.4. A better functioning European Democracy: the Statute of European parties and trans-national lists
We consider that there cannot be a true functioning democracy in Europe if we do not have true European political parties. Currently the European Federalist Party is the only bottom-up and pan-European political party that is able to present candidates in several European countries who defend the same political programme. In fact, the other entities that take part in European elections are often alliances of national parties. It is therefore a matter of urgency to establish a simplified procedure to register pan-European political parties and to allow them to present candidates for European elections without having to follow all the different national legislations. We also call for the creation of trans-national lists that would allow candidates to be voted for by Europeans regardless of their place of residence or of nationality.
Adopted in Brussels, 10 November 2013