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On 12 July 2016, Guy Verhofstadt presented to the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament his report on the institutional reforms that are necessary in order to safeguard the future of the European Union. This report is the most advanced proposal for transformation of the European institutions in a federal direction to be set out before the European Parliament since the initiative of Altiero Spinelli during the first European legislature.

At this point, the European Parliament must decide how, and within what time frame, to approve this report (without distorting it), together with the other two reports* that, overall, lay down the roadmap to be followed in order to promote, simultaneously, the policies needed to regain the trust of citizens and the consolidation of the monetary union and the starting of its transformation into a true political union.

It will not be an easy battle. Considerable resistance will be encountered. In the absence of any real political will on the part of the governments to address the issue of Treaty reform we are already seeing the first signs that there is a temptation, even within the large political families, to avoid even starting the constituent battle. As federalists we absolutely must make sure that the prospect of linking the launch of European policies to the creation of a federal and democratic framework is not allowed to disappear from the horizon of political struggle. In this setting, in Italy, we think the MFE has a very clear role: we must step up the pressure on the political class at all levels and also on the national and European parliamentary groups, first of all, to ensure that the European Parliament does what it must do, but also to ensure that certain governments, and the European and national institutions generally, engage effectively in the battle that will allow them to make the necessary institutional leap in a federal direction, resolving the issue of European sovereignty. At national level, we will begin immediately by sending ad hoc letters to individual national and European parliamentarians, to bring them face to face with their responsibilities. On the basis of these letters, our local sections will undertake similar initiatives targeting the parliamentarians elected in their constituencies, pending other initiatives to be taken in September.

But the time is already ripe for preparing to rise to another challenge: that of mobilising the people. The various crises of recent times have made it easy for some political groupings and leaders to exploit anti-Europeanist sentiment to gain votes and support at national level. But, as the outcome of the British referendum has clearly shown, one cannot, like the eurosceptics and europhobes do, reject Europe and at the same time expect to go on enjoying the undoubted benefits that come with remaining a part of it. Similarly, it has clearly shown that eurosceptics and europhobics, as well as those nostalgic for a return to full national sovereignty, have no credible plan for coping with the challenges of globalisation, migration and internal and external security in Europe.

The time has come for those who really care about Europe to make themselves heard, and show that they still make up the majority in this continent. The time has come for a strong and salutary pro-European popular mobilisation that the MFE intends, as of now, to promote and support in cooperation with all the forces and institutions that care deeply about the fate of our continent. The forthcoming sixtieth anniversary of the Treaty of Rome which is to be marked in Rome on 25 March 2017, and is widely seen as a watershed deadline in European politics, provides us with an ideal opportunity in this sense. Indeed, this anniversary cannot be seen merely as a celebration, but must also serve as an opportunity give voice to the need for MORE EUROPE, in terms of democratic institutions and the realisation of true continental policies.

This, then, is the work we have to do in the coming months: we must mobilise political, social and cultural forces, local authorities, citizens and young people in order to ensure that Bresso-Brok, Boege-Berès and Guy Verhofstadt’s reports are supported within the European Parliament; we must appeal to certain governments and national institutions in particular to support the federal union vision; we must help to ensure that European public opinion becomes, once again, a driving force in the process of European unification.


(*)The three reports mentioned in this letter are the Verhofstadt report on ‘the possible evolutions and adjustments of the current institutional set up of the European Union’ and the Bresso-Brok report on 'improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty' (both under discussion by the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament), and the Böge-Beres report on the creation of an autonomous budget capacity for the eurozone (under discussion by the Economic Affairs Committee of the European Parliament).



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