What kind of Europe do we want? What form should a Confederation take? Ways and means to achieve a Confederation The following proposals are intended to be constructive and mildly contentious to encourage discussion, and wide-ranging enough to leave space for ideas on EUROPE that a majority of citizens can identify with.
History and insights into the functioning of supranational unions show that they are of limited duration and require continuous development if they are to achieve their intended purpose. The nation-state model as a form of state organiza- tion became established from the late 18th century onward. The federal-states model, as in the USA, was adopted by the EU’s predecessors in the 1950s. The European Coal and Steel Community was founded in 1951, the EEC in 1959 and the EU was created in 1993 (Maastricht). The EU was from the start and still is a ‘work in progress’.
The European Union was in effect designed to be an eco- nomic and centralist federation, geared toward enlarge- ment and bigness. After more than a quarter of a century, the time has come for Europe to change direction toward a devolved European Confederation1 (CE). The central-state model still pursued by the EU Commission should have been discarded a long time ago.
stronger multinational orientation and federalisation of large unitary states (Ger, Fra, Ita Spa). for small/smaller states that often overlap one or more regions, little will change.
gradual devolution of the unitary states. The opportunities of digitalization for administration to be fully exploited.
Devolution of regional economic development (with strategic exceptions)
Devolution for self-management of direct taxation
Developing the (personal) interface with citizens
fostering a sense of community and civic participation
• Europe as a network of regions with different speeds and levels of affiliation
• Europe as an area of jurisdiction, security and standardization, with options
• Europe as infrastructure coordinator for networks and transportation
• Europe as flexible currency area (currency snake, Euro and parallel currencies)
• Europeasexternalrepresentativeonforeignandtrade matters by elected representatives; coordinated defence policy (including procurement of military equipment)
The Confoederatio Europea (CE) is not a new ‘big’ idea. The Confederation with its unique, coherent confederative model for relations vis- à-vis the major states/powers can be a positive example for other parts of the world. But before that happens, many people will have to take many small steps.