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Relazione introduttiva di Sergio Pistone per la celebrazione del 75º anniversario della fondazione dell'Unione Europea dei Federalisti.

The UEF foundation took place in Paris on 15 december 1946, but de facto had been completed through the formal congresses of Montreux (1947), Rome(1948),Strassbourg(1950).  Members of UEF were all the federalist national organisations, which had been formed in Western Europe in the years immediatly before WWII, during the WWII (particularly in the frame of antifascist resistence), and in the first years  after WWII.  In these foundation years were defined the foundamental orientations , which have constantly guided (with of course some depenings and clarifications) the political UEF-action untill today. I think that it is usefull to remember (syntetically and schematically) these foundamental orientations, in order to comprehend what UEF is and what it has dun(3 orientations).

  • The first orientation is the clear federalist choice, that is the conviction that the irreversible and democratic European unity can only be achieved through the construction of a federal state. The UEF has allways opposed the confederalist choice represented in exemplary way by Churchill, De Gaulle, Thatcher,Chirac. The federalist choiche was shared by JEF, CEMR, AET,FIME and the majority of EM. The most important Europeanist organisation with a confederalist orientation was the PanEuropa mouvement guided by Coudenhove-Kalergi and since 1972 by Otto von Habsburg.
  • The second orientation of UEF is represented by the conception of European unity as a foundamental stage and decisive impulse towards world unity. This idea means in essence identifying in the Kantian universal peace the ultimate objective of the federalist struggle and rejecting any kind of Pan-European nationalism.
    Here must be remembered that this orientation coud not be translated for a long time into a link with the world federalist organisation since the world federalists were against the regional unifications. However, the situation began to change in 1980, and in the end, on occasion of the 20. UEF-Congress (Genoa march 2004), the decision was made to join the WFM.
    It is important to underline here that the orientation “to unite Europe for unite the world” implyed the conviction that the European unification was called upon to make towards peace not only in Europe but throughout the world.
    A particulary significant manifestation of this orientation was the line “start in the West” decided in the congress of Montreux. This line made it clear that the unification of Europe could only be commenced within the area of western influence because the leading American power expressed support for European integration through the Marshall Plan, in function of the policy of containing the USSR. It was specified on the other hand that if supranational unity was persued with determination in Western Europe, it would alter the East-West equilibrium, put the Soviet block in crisis and pave the way for the unification of the whole Europe.
    The validity of this set-up was confirmed by the historical process and the EU now expresses an orientation toward a more equal partenership with USA and an autonomous role for world peace. This emerges most notably  in the European strategy(approved  at the beginning of 2000 and constantly reasserted). A rapid progress towards complete federation is of course the essential condition for the EU to be able to more effectively pursue this orientation.
  • The third orientation to be considered is represented by the strategic line of the UEF. It can be said that in 1949 the UEF defined a direction which has constituted (despite alterations in order to adapt to the concrete political situation) the driving force in his struggle for European federation. In this regard 3 are the foundamental elements to highlight:
  1. National democratic governments are seen both as means for and obstacle to European unification. They  are means in the sense that they are forced by the historical crisis of the nation states (that is the structural incapability of confronting the foundamental problems of our times) to implement a policy of European integration.At the same time they are obstacles because their objective tendency to conserve the national power (the rule, describet by Machiavelli, of the structural tendency to the selconservation of the power) pushes them to make choices that postpone sine die the complete federation. This contradiction can only be overcome with the intervention of a federalist political force which is indipendent of governments and political parties, and therefore capable of exerting democratic pressure to push  governments towards federal choices.
  2. The tool to  obtain a federal choice is the democratic constituent method as alternative to the system of the intergovernmental conference.In the democratic constituent method deliberate the representatives of the citizens (being in majority in favour of a real European unification) and not the diplomats. Moreover the deliberations and the ratifications do not applay the principle of uninamity(national veto).
  3. In order for the federal choice and the democratic constituent method to be approved, the federalists must be able to exploit the deficit of efficiency (unaninimous decision making on foundamental issues) and democracy (transfer of important decisions to the supranational level without the creation at this level of a real democratic system) which characterize the integration implemented by the national governments. These deficits are destined to lead to critical situations in which the federalist mobilisation of the public opinion has possibilities to impose the method of democratic constituent or at list of some elements of this method.

After having remembered the foundamental orientations of UEF it has to be said  that our organisation has had an effective influence on the developpment of European integration and in particular as regards the introduction in this process of federal elements.        

Of course it was foundamental the role of great europeanist statemen, like Schuman, Monnet, De Gasperi, Adenauer, Spaak, Hallstein, Delors, Brandt, Kohl bis Merkel und Macron.

But they were strongly influenced by the theoretical and practical action of the UEF, that was a real and decisive factor in order to obtain:

  1. The overcoming of the rule of unanimity in the starting  of the Eur. Integration;
  2. The European parlamentary assembly;
  3. The direct election and the strengthening of EP;
  4. The monetary union;
  5. The constitutional convention(which had as a result the Lisbon Treaty);
  6. The COFE, which has the concrete opportunity to pave the way to the European political federal union – this is  the present front of the federalist struggle of UEF.

Sergio Pistone


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