“European citizens are scared by the return of war to the heart of Europe. The Russian invasion of Ukraine exposes the weaknesses and dependencies of the European Union and its Member States, and their inability to project peace and stability”. Thus begins the manifesto signed by more than 200 intellectuals and personalities of different political orientations from 20 European countries to claim a United States of Europe after the Russian attack on Ukraine, which began on February 24. This document has been written by Roberto Castaldi, Yves Bertoncini, Anna Diamantopoulou, Ulrike Guerot and Daniel Innerarity, who wanted to make a call to action in what they consider “a decisive hour for the EU”.
Energy policies and defense spending, issues that after the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine are focusing public debate, are two of the issues on which the authors of the manifesto reflect. They underline that “EU Member States spend more than twice as much on defense as Russia, without any significant deterrence capacity. Increasing national defense spending to 2% will only increase waste, unless it is intended to create a true defense union.” To materialize this defense union, they propose as a first step “the start-up of a Rapid Deployment Force of 60,000 troops, decided at the Helsinki European Council in 1999”. Once this force is activated, they believe that it would be important to provide the EU Military Committee with an integrated command and control structure, “essential to create and manage this Rapid Deployment Force” and that “a European Training Center for cadres military forces to develop a common European strategic culture. They underline that it is important to show cohesion when acting: “An EU defense must be at the service of an EU foreign and security policy, which is why it requires a political union with a single representation of the EU in the institutions and the international arena”.
Regarding energy policies, which in recent days have marked the international sphere after the gas supply cut from Russia to the EU Member States Poland and Bulgaria, the signatories of the manifesto consider that a “structural solution” to the The energy crisis “goes through an energy union and the acceleration of the green transition by increasing investments in renewable sources and energy efficiency”. To achieve this, they believe that measures could be taken such as “a single EU energy and gas network”, which would reduce energy prices by half, or “the joint purchase of energy from third countries, such as in the case of vaccines”, in addition to establishing a “strategic reserve of the EU, like that of the United States”.
The fiscal union and a single foreign policy, the personalities who sign the manifesto point out, are essential to sustain these energy and defense policies. “This implies a true political union with the Commission, as the head of the Federal Executive against the European Parliament, in charge of managing the new energy, fiscal, foreign and defense policies, accompanied by codecision between Parliament and the Council and the abolition total unanimity throughout the EU decision-making system”, they point out. In May 2021, the EU launched the Conference on the Future of Europe, a digital and multilingual forum to reflect and deliberate on the community structure. The manifesto highlights that “the citizen panels and the proposals of the digital platform converge in the demand for a more united, efficient, social and democratic Europe, based on a true Constitution”. For this reason, they call on the Conference on the Future of Europe to demand the implementation of three measures: the first, “to demand a new European Constitution that establishes a federal European Republic”; secondly, that the European Parliament draft and propose a comprehensive reform of the EU Treaty after the new international situation created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and thirdly, they ask that “the European Council decide on the start of a new Convention that takes based on the project of the European Parliament”.
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