BullsEye February 2016 / 54th Year / No. 63 / ISSN 2033-7809
The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
Originally used to differentiate Europe from the “New World” that emerged beyond the Atlantic in the Americas, the French expression “le vieux continent” has increasingly come to be endowed with a new meaning in contemporary political discourse. References to the “Old Continent” nowadays often do not simply tend to convey a sense of historic antecedence. Instead, they carry connotations of regression, parochialism, backlog, if not outright decline. Having seen its apogee, Europe, so it is suggested, is now on the retreat on the world stage, at best following trends set by “new” global players such as the United States, China, or India. This is by no means a new development: already the European founding fathers were acutely aware that the continent needed to pool its resources, skills and wills if it were to avoid falling into oblivion. Today, as we enter a new phase of globalisation spurred on by the digital revolution, the mission of the founding fathers is as relevant as ever: faced with geopolitical insecurity, sluggish economic growth, mass-migration and outdated state infrastructures, Europe needs more than ever to stand united and seek common, forward-looking solutions for the challenges ahead. This issue of BullsEye, together with EDS’s Winter University, is seeking to humbly contribute to the anything but small feat of forging a productive vision for a Europe of 2030 that continues to play a leading role on the global stage and grant its inhabitants the highest possible levels of peace, prosperity and freedom – in short, to ensure that the heyday of the “Old Continent” still lies ahead of it. I hope you have a most enjoyable and stimulating read! Henrique Laitenberger Editor-in-Chief
Current Affairs 04 Beyond Chavismo 06 Senatus Romanus Novus 07 Denmark and the Power of “NO”
08 Creating a Europe Fit for the Generation Y 10 European Identity in the 21st Century 12 Toward a Two-Speed Europe 14 Fiscal Union as the Ultima Ratio? 16 Interview with Paul Rübig MEP 18 In Defence of the Union 20 Digital Democracy 22 Last Chance for a United Europe 23 The Bridge
The European Union is a success story. We study, work and live in a culturally and economically prosperous Europe. Easily, we travel from one European country to another and may demand the protection of our rights anywhere on the continent. Nevertheless, Europe and the EU are facing serious challenges: youth unemployment, states as guarantors for the liquidity of banks, an aging population, mass migration and a growing energy dependency - and these are just a few examples. In addition, terrorism and organised crime continue to pose a constant threat to us. Today, Europe stands at a historic turning point. The pressure on politics, economy and society is constantly increasing. The expectations are high. In order to respond adequately to these developments, we have to analyse not only the status quo, but rather discuss how to shape future progress and trends in a long-term perspective. In this context and along the lines of “Quo vadis EUrope?” we are focussing on the question of how Europe can be shaped in the upcoming years - concretely by 2030. One thing is clear: if we want to tackle all challenges ahead, then we must walk this path together. Europe has the capacity to play a leading role in the world and set the course in global politics. Therefore, we must stand up, raise our voices and participate on all levels to set the foundation for a fruitful future. In this spirit, I wish you a thought-provoking read! Silvie Rohr Vice-Chairwoman
BULLSEYE The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
24 Will Europe Become Independent?
26 Japan’s Remilitarisation 27 Now It’s Our Time
28 Students At Risk Portraits
Council of Europe 30 A Changing Nature 31
ISSN: Print: 2033-7809 Online: 2033-7817 Editor-in-chief: Henrique Laitenberger Editorial team: Henrique Laitenberger Editorial team: Andreas Fock, Tomasz Kaniecki, Mindaugas Liutvinskas, Syrila Makarezou, Charlotte Nilsson, Mihaela Radu, Julien Sassel and Manuel Schlaffer Contributions: Diego Zuluaga Laguna, Virgilio Falco, Victoria Voda, Georgios Chatzigeorgiou, Sophia Skoda, Federico Reho, Mindaugas Liutvinskas, Paul Rübig, Henrique Laitenberger, Julien Sassel, Dr Stephan Eisel, Manuel Schlaffer, Charlotte Nilsson, Bernd Posselt, Simon Desplanque, Sara Artymata, Theodoulos Ioannou, Students At Risk, Silvie Rohr Photos: Balàzs Szecsődi, 123RF and Shutterstock Design: creacion.si Publisher: European Democrat Students, B-1000 Brussels, Rue du Commerce 10 Tel: +32 2 2854-150 Fax: +32 2 2854-141 Email: email@example.com Website: edsnet.eu Articles and opinions published in the magazine are not necessarily reflecting the position of EDS, the EDS Bureau or the Editorial team
Publication supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
Welcome to the third edition of BullsEye, the official debating magazine of the European Democrat Students, the largest student family of the centre-right, for the working year 2015/2016. This issue of BullsEye, “Europe 2030”, is mainly concerned with a number of matters related to the success of the European project over the next years. Indeed, the year 2016 will see EDS placing an increased emphasis on the European project and the achievements of the EU. Accomplishments on which we first of all must continue to pride ourselves and secondly, ought to remind us of our responsibility to strengthen Europe’s perception among the young generations. In this spirit, during our Winter University in Berlin, the city that symbolises so much about European integration, EDS is hosted by RCDS with the intention on providing a coherent vision as to how the continent can meet and eventually overcome the obstacles which nowadays challenge the viability of the European project. Amongst other topics, we will discuss the continent’s digital future, the European economic system, questions surrounding European identity, and the refugee crisis. The year 2016 further marks the 55th anniversary of the European Democrat Students. We should not forget that the centre-right youth or student cooperation as we enjoy it today was not always self-evident. Some sixty years ago, the establishment of a common centre-right student or youth structure was not yet a matter for debate. In 1961, when EDS was founded, the Berlin Wall was about to be built and Europe was nothing close to being united. Since then, we have come a long way and we should be very proud of what we have achieved. EDS has been an integral part in fostering a European identity and I am certain that our organisation will continue to provide incentives for the European project for many more years, until Europe is united to its fullest extent.
Therefore, on the occasion of our 55th anniversary, let us remind ourselves that in EDS, we do not merely represent our organisations but crucially the hereditary influences of many EDS generations who have set an example as to how to live in a unified and prosperous Europe. Please enjoy your reading of our new issue of BullsEye and keep in mind that the EDS Bureau is always interested in receiving feedback, hearing your ideas, and discovering more ways to proudly serve students across Europe.
On behalf of the EDS bureau,
Georgios Chatzigeorgiou Chairman
Beyond Chavismo – The Sources of Venezuela’s Plights Those of us who believe in free societies as the foundations of individual empowerment and human flourishing were encouraged by the resounding defeat of the incumbent chavista forces in the Venezuelan parliamentary elections of 6 December 2014. Yet Venezuela’s problems go further back than the disastrous years of chavismo.
For the first time since the advent to power of Hugo Chávez, opposition forces – grouped together in the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), which includes parties ranging from social democracy to free-market conservatism – won a majority in the National Assembly. Not only that, but they gained enough seats to push through constitutional reform and thus confront head-on the relentless concentration of power in the hands of current President and Chávez heir Nicolás Maduro. The shift was anything but unexpected. The economic policies pursued since the socialist government first took office in 1999 have been catastrophic for Venezuelans at all levels of the income scale. Inflation, gauged by the IMF at 160 per cent in 2015 (although it may be as high as 800 per cent according to reputable calculations from Johns Hopkins University), has ravaged the purchasing power of ordinary Venezuelans. Price controls on an ever-increasing basket of goods have led to acute shortages of everything from meat and nappies to essential medical supplies. Moreover, a fundamental lack of respect for private property rights on the part of the administration has scared away foreign and domestic capital. To top it all off, the ongoing slump in commodities prices has hit few countries as hard as it has Venezuela. Crude oil exports represent 96 per cent of the country’s foreign earnings, and at current levels of public expenditure the Venezuelan state needs a price per barrel of around $120 to break even. With the price hovering around $30 and little
prospect of a rebound, it does not take a maths genius to realise that Venezuela’s public finances are in a very dire state. The trouble is that a decade-anda-half of arbitrary intervention by public authorities into economic life has undermined the productive structure of virtually every other industry, making a redeployment of capital in the short term unlikely. Nevertheless, with the economy on life support and opposition forces newly empowered by the electorate, it might seem inevitable that change will soon come to Venezuela in the guise of market reforms, a rebuilding of democratic institutions and the separation of powers, and perhaps even a new non-chavista President. Indeed, Maduro has so far been unable to prevent the popular will from being enforced by the new parliament, despite his best efforts at undermining the transfer of power by curbing the National Assembly’s remit and bringing key legislative functions under the presidential wing. However, it is difficult to predict how long it will take for such fundamental transformations to begin. We do not even know what form change will take – whether it will follow democratic procedure or be the result of violent conflict between an increasingly power-hungry authoritarian government and its dissatisfied people. Furthermore, it is tempting to think that once chavismo is ousted from power, all will be well and Venezuela will enjoy a gradual but rapid recovery, perhaps even aided by resurgent crude prices. Yet, Venezuela’s problems – much as they have been entrenched and compounded since Chávez
took office – are more deep-rooted than 17 years of misguided socialist ideology. A weak rule of law, the use of state resources to bribe the electorate, and corruption by the political elites have characterised Venezuelan institutions since at least the 1950s. Two key figures defined what modern Venezuela has become – and chavismo took cues from both to come up with its own brand of nationalistic, antiAmerican, petroleum-fuelled state capitalism that has ended up bankrupting the country. The first defining character is Marcos Pérez Jiménez, an army general and dictator who ruled Venezuela from 1952 to 1958. Pérez Jiménez is today remembered for the large infrastructure and industrial projects which he sponsored, and for the wave of European immigration – particularly from Italy and Spain – which he encouraged and presided over. In many ways, he was a classic Latin American strongman: authoritarian, anti-communist and keen to implement Western ways. But Pérez Jiménez also came up with an ideology which set the goalposts for what subsequent governments have aimed and been expected to deliver. His vision for Venezuela was embodied in the socalled New National Ideal. This was a mixture of nationalism and developmentalism that sought to create a common narrative for all Venezuelans, based on a patriotic morality and the pursuit of prosperity through the exploitation of the country’s natural resources. The New National Ideal is not dissimilar from the corporatist nationalism prevalent in other Latin American states throughout the 20th
century. And, like Juan Perón in Argentina and Lázaro Cárdenas in Mexico, Pérez Jiménez’ legacy continues to shape Venezuela to this day. After the dictator’s ousting from power in 1958, Venezuela entered an extended period of democratic government, dominated by two political forces, the centre-right COPEI and the centre-left AD, which alternated in power all the way up to Chávez’ election in 1998. Few figures featured as prominently during this period as Carlos Andrés Pérez, a salient AD leader who was President of the country during two terms, first from 1974 to 1979, and then from 1989 to 1993. Pérez – or CAP, as he is known – was hugely popular during his first term, not least because of the high oil prices which accompanied it. Indeed, in 1976 CAP nationalised the Venezuelan oil industry and began to lavishly spend the proceeds from crude exports. New social programmes were introduced, including scholarships for Venezuelans to study abroad. Trade unions were granted extensive powers, and myriad industries were brought under the state’s wing in a bid to achieve full employment. Such oil-financed largesse was just about affordable during the years of high crude prices, but they became unsustainable as the price per barrel entered a steady decline from the early 1980s. Having left office with enviable approval ratings at the height of the Second Oil Crisis, it is little wonder that CAP was elected for a second term in 1988. But the second-term CAP was very different from the one Venezuelans had experienced in the 1970s – or
at least his policies were. Facing mounting external debts and capital flight, CAP brought in technocratic ministers who recommended spending cuts, privatisations and a reduction of the state’s role in the economy, which over the preceding decade had given rise to inefficiency and corruption. The International Monetary Fund offered similar recipes, which CAP went on to implement. While such measures were doubtless badly needed and market reforms would, over the long term, have greatly improved the fundamentals of the Venezuelan economy, they implied pain in the short term. In a country that had grown accustomed to generous state handouts during the boom years, belt-tightening brought social unrest. In the wake of two military coup attempts – one of them led by none other than a young Lieutenant Colonel by the name of Hugo Chávez – and amid allegations of stupendous embezzlement, CAP was impeached in 1993. The continuing economic and political crisis in the years that followed helped to bring Chávez to power, with a promise of change and a more equally shared prosperity, in 1999. Seventeen years later, we know how elusive the promise of 21st century socialism has proven. Indeed, while it inspired many similar movements across Latin America, notably in Bolivia, Ecuador and Argentina, chavismo is now on the retreat, as low commodity prices and disappointing economic performance have forced a reckoning across the continent.
However, it is important to understand that Venezuela’s problems are more deep-seated and long-standing than the policies of the chavista government. For several decades, the country’s political leaders have used nationalism and natural resources to whip up public support, bribe voters into compliance and lull the poor and vulnerable into complacency. The elites’ patronage has arguably hampered the development of robust and independent public institutions, fostering instead dependency and a fixed-pie mentality about the country’s wealth which in turn has bred social conflict. We can all look forward to the day when Venezuela definitively leaves behind the catastrophe of chavismo. But we must understand that this will merely be the end of the beginning in the task to put the country back on a sound footing. For that to be achieved, the legacy of Pérez Jiménez and Carlos Andrés Pérez will have to be decisively confronted, and that will take a generation.
Diego Zuluaga Laguna, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)
CURRENT AFFAIRS of “perfect bicameralism”, according to which the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies equally shared in the legislative power in the Italian democratic system. A very substantive change, Renzi’s reform will, before entering into force, have to be approved by a popular referendum, most likely to be held in October of this year. Apart from the Prime Minister’s Democratic Party, the constitutional changes are also supported by the junior partners of the ruling coalition, Nuovo CentroDestra and Unione Di Centro. Both parties adhere to the EPP. The main opponents of the constitutional reform are the 5-Star Movement (EFDD), led by the very popular comedian Beppe Grillo, Forza Italia (EPP), the Northern League, and the Brothers of Italy – the latter two of which are both associated with Marine Le Pen’s Front National and have made significant gains in the last election. Immediately after the parliamentary approval of the reform, Prime Minister Renzi took to the social network Facebook to highlight the significance of the reform for the country: “There is still much to be done, we know. And we will do it, but in the meantime, something is moving.” He further added: “If I lose the constitutional referendum, I consider my experience in politics failed “.
Senatus Romanus Novus A constitutional reform is set to change the role of the Italian Senate. The first assembly bearing the title of “Senate” in Italy was born in the period of ancient Rome, more precisely in 753 BC. From that time onwards, the concept has spread in various forms across the world: today, many democracies in the world have adopted a senatorial body as part of their political system, such as the United States, France, Spain, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Poland or Romania. Modern Italy too has retained a Senate as part of its governing structure, uniquely benefitting of the same competences and powers as the lower chamber of the Italian Parliament, the Chamber of
Deputies. This is set to change under sweeping plans proposed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (Democratic Party – PES) and the young Minister for Reforms and Relations with Parliament, 34-year-old Hon. Maria Elena Boschi, one of the emerging stars of Italian politics. The proposed constitutional reforms would weaken the parliamentary assembly that had its historic origins in Rome. Aside from changing the name of the upper chamber from “Senate of the Republic” to “Senate of Autonomy”, the scope and nature of its work would substantially change: for one, it would be drastically reduced in size, counting only 100 instead of 315 members. Further, these senators, previously representing all Italian citizens, would now primarily act on behalf of the cities and regions. This primarily implies a limitation of their legislative competence to proposals concerning and affecting regional governance. Under the proposed reform, the new Senate would also no longer possess the competence of a vote of confidence in the government, which would be expressed only by the Chamber of Deputies. Together with other alterations to its functions, the constitutional reform would hence result in the abolition of the doctrine
Critics of the constitutional reform were quick to hit back, with former Italian Prime Minister and Leader of Forza Italia Silvio Berlusconi stating that Renzi abused his majority to change “the Constitution to build a power system tailored for himself, a real regime”. Italy will now face a tough electoral campaign before the people’s verdict is returned in the plebiscite. The first electoral committees for this contest have already been formed, the first is for the ”Yes”, headed by Hon. Ferdinando Adornato (NCDUDC). Yet, as Renzi and Berlusconi alluded in their respective comments, the battle announced seems to be more a referendum on the activities of the present government and its Prime Minister than on the planned downsizing of the Senate itself.
Denmark and the Power of “NO” On 3 December 2015, the Danish electorate voted against converting their country’s “opt-out” exemption from EU justice and home affairs legislation into a pick-and-choose “opt-in” model similar to that of the UK and Ireland. The “opt-in” scheme proposed in the referendum included a package of 22 pre-selected areas of EU law, with the Danish parliament being granted the competence to decide on and enact new legislation on a case-tocase basis. The 22 laws encompass a range of issues from police cooperation within Europol, divorce law, IT security, human trafficking to cross-border debt recovery. The adoption of this model would have represented a significant change in Denmark’s relationship with the EU, whose terms are still based on an agreement negotiated after the Danes rejected the Maastricht Treaty in another plebiscite back in 1992. The Danish Government had consequently negotiated the exemptions from EU legislation that are currently in place. These “opt-outs”, as they came to be called, are outlined in the Edinburgh Agreement and state that Denmark is not obligated to enforce EU policies relating to matters of security and defense, citizenship, justice and home affairs, and the adoption of the Euro. With these opt-outs, the Maastricht Treaty was eventually accepted in a second referendum held in 1993. The opt-out from the Euro in turn was put to yet another popular vote in 2000, where the adoption of the European single currency was decisively rejected. As a result, all four opt-outs negotiated in the early 1990s have remained intact to this day. Yet in spite of recent and historic referendum results, it would be mistaken to consider Denmark an overall EUsceptic nation. The turnout at the plebiscite was at over 70 per cent, with a comparatively thin majority of 53.1 per cent voting against the opt-in scheme. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, from the liberal centre-right Venstre party, as well as five other parties representative of the broad majority of voters in Denmark all came out in favour of the planned “opt-in” scheme. That these endorsements did not result in a victory for the “Yes” campaign was
to a great extent the work of the right-wing populist Danish People’s Party (DPP), the second-largest party in parliament: playing a dissident note, the DPP called on the Danes to vote “No”, arguing that adopting the government plan could eventually force Denmark to participate in future joint EU efforts to tackle the ongoing migration crisis - a claim which the parties in favour of the “Yes” option unequivocally denied. Denmark has so far been exempt from the EU’s migrant relocation scheme, despite receiving a historically unprecedented amount of asylum seekers in 2015. Further to the DPP’s opposition of the scheme, the referendum was poorly timed: the poll was announced in July, shortly after the election of the kingdom’s new government. The increasing flow of immigrants and refugees, terror attacks and the lack of a sustainable EU refugee policy that followed this announcement subsequently had a significant impact on the outcome of the Danish referendum, as they amplified pre-existing public concerns regarding high-scale immigration: in recent years, studies have come to suggest that the integration of first-, second- and even third-generation non-western immigrants in Denmark – not for lack of effort – appears to have failed. Moreover, although the free movement of EU citizens and goods has undoubtedly made the kingdom more prosperous, the number of foreign nationals in Danish prisons has likewise been increasing. Together with instances of protests in favour of the implementation of Sharia law by Islamic fundamentalists and the February terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, these developments have taken their toll on Danish society and significantly affected public opinion on the EU and immigration. Great shares of the Danish electorate were consequently reluctant to embrace the opt-in scheme, as they feared that it would turn into a slippery slope towards further losses of
sovereignty and a disproportionate increase in the number of refugees that the country would have found difficult to accommodate. Despite persistent warnings of the “Yes” campaign, highlighting that cross-border terrorism and the refugee crisis could not be solved without closer EU cooperation, the younger generations were not compelled to accept this narrative. One of the consequences of the “No”-vote is that Denmark will face difficulties to remain a member of Europol after the planned overhaul of the intergovernmental police agency in 2017. Furthermore, parallel agreements will have to be made and agreed upon with the other 27 member states. Likewise, the negotiation of such agreements, timeconsuming as it is, would cost Denmark a seat at the table where most policies are shaped. These prospects were a big part of the debate before the vote. On 3 December, democracy prevailed and the answer was loud and clear: Denmark, alongside Britain, is demanding a more flexible union at any cost.
Creating a Europe Fit for the Generation Y We have all heard of the term Generation Y, the demographic cohort born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. Generation Y is better educated than any that preceded it, grew up with the internet and travelled abroad. Our ambitions are set very high. We also grew up with the European Union as a perfectly normal part of our lives and accustomed to peace. The fall of the Iron Curtain is at best a childhood memory. Young Europeans today enjoy greater freedoms than ever before, may travel, study and work anywhere in Europe and for many of us, the only currency we consciously remember is the Euro. We should be very proud of what we have achieved. Nevertheless, over the last years, the EU has been facing an unprecedented crisis. After the euphoria of the 1980s and the accomplishment of the European Monetary Union in the 1990s, it can be argued that the European project has lost much of its dynamism. The global financial crisis has caused considerable problems in many parts of Europe and its impact on socio-economic developments has been immense. As a consequence, the polarisation between the Mediterranean regions and more prosperous NorthWestern Europe has been exacerbated. Unsurprisingly, the economic situation has sparked widespread political reaction. Together with renewed terrorist threats and a huge influx of refugees into Europe, it has caused a domino effect allowing populist parties to attract voters with their nativist and eurosceptic positions. They will likely continue to do so as long as the above problems remain policy priorities. The idea of a “United Europe”, as proclaimed by Winston Churchill and the other founding fathers of the European Union, is being challenged. Generation Y is thus also the generation which has experienced a long-standing period of crisis, without having had a say in the creation of the system that caused it. On average, we are faced with
unprecedented youth unemployment. We are the ones who suffered most from social, ecological and political decisions taken by our elders. In order to shape a Europe that fits our needs, several actions must be taken. First of all however, we need vision and the motivation to take those actions. For the purposes of this brief paper, I chose to discuss three areas of actions which in my opinion can shape the future of young Europeans at a critical juncture in the history of our continent. EDUCATION TO MATCH THE LABOUR MARKET/ENTREPRENEURSHIP Recently, the youth unemployment rate in Europe has dropped to 20 per cent, with overall unemployment at about 9 per cent (Eurostat Oct 2015). Those figures indicate that in most countries, young people are those facing the biggest hurdles when joining the labour market. Indeed, in countries with low overall unemployment rates such as Sweden, this problem is obvious. As access to HE has expanded and enrollment numbers have increased exponentially, the lack of the right set of skills is often cited as one of the main obstacles for the young generation on the market. So what can be done to bridge the gap between education and employment?
Despite the large number of graduates, young people should be encouraged to enter HEIs. Europe has to invest in human capital, given our limited resources. We need to invest in our researchers who can make new discoveries and find new solutions. The situation is serious; by 2020, we will need more than one million new researchers in Europe if we are to address the social challenges we face: aging societies, decreasing natural resources, new technologies. At the moment, only slightly more than 20 per cent of graduates have a degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). While leavers of secondary education should evidently not be coerced into entering a specific field, they must be advised on available opportunities in order to gradually develop their talents accordingly. For example, for those who stand out in Research and Innovation, the EU has reserved an unprecedented fund under “Horizon 2020”. The dual education system must be considered across the whole Europe and should not be regarded as a second-rate choice for those who are not able to pursue a higher level of education. The share of vocational education must be increased and the EU should support enterprises willing to provide such training.
THEME The digital revolution is unstoppable - therefore schools and universities need to go digital too. Digital education should be a compulsory part of the curricula from as early an age as possible. Tablets, apps, and online material should be used across faculties and subjects. Last but not least, entrepreneurship must be further encouraged, potentially through an EU-led platform on how to get financial support and entrepreneurship programmes in HEIs. YOUTH ENGAGEMENT IN DEMOCRATIC LIFE According to a study by the European Youth Forum, 72 per cent of 16/18 to 24 years old did not vote in the 2014 European elections, while more than 50 per cent of 65+ olds did. Such figures are unacceptable. If young people want politics to change, they must also be willing to participate. Young people have different perspectives and a host of different ideas: by voicing their opinions, we could move the political world forward and avoid generation gap issues. This is not merely good, but necessary for society. Approximately 30 per cent of Europeans are below the age of 30. This age group should be adequately represented in national and European Parliaments which is not the case today. Although youth quotas are used as a means to elect more young
parliamentarians in certain countries, the majority of these limited seats are allocated to candidates pushing the boundaries of the concept of “young”, often defined as under 45 years old. All European countries should introduce quotas for young people of maximum 35 years of age. Although today’s youth has been given a bad name, there are still many who believe that young people can and should play an important role in politics. The assistance of the state in achieving this is essential. Further, in line with the digital revolution, it is time to embrace e-voting to encourage higher turnouts. Research indicates that young people were more than half as likely to turn out for an online ballot than vote at a polling station. It further alludes that people who vote online are more likely to hesitate on what to vote. Lastly, more research should be done in relation to lowering the voting age to 16 which could, in conjunction with a proper political and civic education at schools, instill a habit of voting in young people and encourage them to become involved with decision-making. Evidence indicates that Austria has so far been quite successful with that experiment. EUROPEAN SINGLE MARKET AND TTIP While the Single European Market remains a project of continuous creation, it has already
transformed the way Europeans live or do business. It can be accessed by over 500 million people in 28 EU Member States and has helped to create approximately 3 million jobs. Today, about 1 in 10 jobs are dependent on exports in other EU countries. I strongly support the completion and expansion of the common market into the services sector. Further, if we are now seeking to expand this market via TTIP, I consider this to be nothing more than a reasonable consequence of the EU Single Market. Similarly, we want to remove barriers to other markets in order to simplify trade between these markets and drive growth. Growth and job creation go hand in hand and TTIP thus has the potential to become a job catalyst. Likewise, SMEs currently constitute about 85 per of companies and employ two-third of workers in the EU, yet are not active in the transatlantic arena. If we help SMEs to grow by expanding into the enormous US market, this can be a major part of the solution to unemployment in the EU. It is not the purpose of this paper to analyse the TTIP agreement, the transparency of its negotiation or the ISDS mechanism. However, I must highlight that the Commission has no mandate to negotiate anything that would lower labour standards in Europe, including the number of jobs. In my opinion, TTIP is a once in a generation opportunity and we would be at least naive not to seize it. I provided some short views on how to shape Europe to the needs of our generation and I would like to express my optimism for the future. We should not forget that our ancestors set about to build a peaceful Europe for their children. Those children for whom the European project was made are we, and now we are the ones to decide what to do: I choose to use Europe to make our life better and more prosperous.
European Identity in the 21st Century Europe in the 21st century: if you were to ask any person on a street in France whether they rather felt French or European, what would their answer be? And which answer would you obtain if you were to ask the same question in Germany, Italy, Poland, Croatia or the United Kingdom? Would people be more inclined to respond with their own nationality? Or would they answer with: “I feel European”? These questions are questions of identity. There is widespread consensus that the European project and the European Union are a sine qua non if the continent is to remain a competitive player within the globalisation process. However, this does not imply that we, as Europeans, automatically feel positively about Europe. When Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet laid the foundations of the European project in the 1950s, the principal motive behind their actions was to create an economic and political framework that would allow its participants to stay united within Europe. From a historical perspective, Europe has always been very diverse in its culture. The idea was hence to unify the European nations and their values. An idea which may sound simple enough at first, yet it sometimes seems as Europe is too diversified in order to be able to stay together. In 1973, at the Copenhagen Summit, the “Declaration on European Identity” was signed by all Member States of what was at the time the European Economic Community (EEC), with the intent of promoting adherence to a set of common values and principles, as well as a common awareness of the community’s specific interests. Based on this declaration, the task of defining a European identity involved analysing the common heritage of the EEC’s member states, their obligations in the process of the European unification, as well as the dynamic nature of European integration.
THEME Now as then, the question is, what is the so-called and often evoked “European identity”? There are currently 28 Member States within in the European Union, suggesting at the very least the existence of twenty-eight individual national cultures grounded in historical developments. Additionally however, every nationality further harbours its own domestic cultural and/or political cultures. In Spain, a notable share of the native population of Catalonia does not feel that attached to the Spanish identity due to political and cultural reasons. Constellations of this kind are not exclusive to Spain, but may be seen all over Europe. Bavarians for instance also insist on their own distinctive regional identity that differentiates them from the rest of Germany. Europe could consequently be described as a pattern of different cultures, religions and languages. And this “multiculturism” is regarded as a potential solution to the dilemma of the European identity: multiculturism means that citizens from all over Europe live together. Of course, there are many different cultures, yet this does not need to imply that people cannot tolerate each other and work together harmoniously. Everybody can profit from diversification if it is done right. The European District in Brussels is in this vein also a melting pot of different nationalities. People work together efficiently regardless of where they come from. So if someone wants to know what such a seemingly elusive “European atmosphere” feels like, I say: “Go to Brussels and experience it yourself!” However, it is a matter of fact that there are states which cannot identify themselves quite as much with this specific European feeling. It may safely be asserted for instance that the Irish generally do not tend to feel as strongly about Europe, as they claim a sense of detachment rooted in their geographical separation from the continental part of Europe. And this leads to an understanding among the Irish that their national identity supersedes any hypothetical “European identity”.
especially in these days as Europe experiences hard times, people start to doubt the feasibility of a unified Europe. This may also come from the fact that citizens have experienced a general loss in emotional attachment to the European ideal. Anti-European parties such as the Front National in France would likely not experience such successes if more people would actually identify with the idea of Europe, rather than experiencing Europe as a set of political institutions in faraway Brussels. For the European project to have a future, a sense of identification with Europe across the community, from the North to the South, from the West to the East, is indispensable. But what can be done to foster a greater sense of identification with the European project? One solution simply is to encourage exchanges and interaction between European citizens. Erasmus, as an academic exchange programme, for instance permits students to spend a term at a university in another European country. Upon arrival, they come into contact with many different nationalities in a comparatively short period of time. Through mere engagement with their European peers, students often return to their home countries with their horizons broadened and more likely than not with a stronger sense of the concrete benefits of a united Europe and the European integration. One idea would be to extend such programmes to not only be restricted to students, but also allow people from different social strata to travel for example to Brussels, experience the so-called “Brussels Bubble”, and thereby provide them with insights that may help them to identify more easily with the European feeling. Such schemes are already offered on a minor level by MEPs, yet could be significantly expanded to be more inclusive. All in all, we can say that Europe is facing a difficult situation, with the long-term survival of the European project not necessarily guaranteed. We, as the Generation Y, now have the chance to make Europe not only a thought, but also and eventually an actual feeling.
This tendency can also be seen within particular age groups. The older generations tend to rather feel attached to their own nationality than a European identity. This may be considered quite logical as these generations did not grow up with the European Unification process to the same extent as younger demographics. Yet it also highlights the fact that children can experience their own identity differently to their parents. If the European project is to be maintained in its founding spirit therefore, it relies on younger generations feeling broadly more European than their elders. Crucially however, this must not imply that two identities rule each other out and cannot be experienced simultaneously. One can equally feel European while fostering an attachment to one’s own nationality. This is mainly about emotions rather than rationality: we can still see that in the year 2016, European citizens tend to think about Europe as a rational construct rather than an emotional one. The importance of a single market and a common policy framework is logical, but not emotional. However,
Toward a Two-Speed Europe – Feasibility and Successful Implementation When the Lisbon Treaty entered into force in December 2009, after years of difficult negotiations, most observers agreed that the institutional balance reached therein would be maintained for long. However, pretty much at the same time, the Greek crisis started, soon to become a crisis of the European Monetary Union (EMU). Clamour around the ratification of the new treaty had hardly ceased when it became clear that the Euro area, the core of the EU and the vanguard of European integration, was in need of an institutional overhaul.
Amidst recurrent storms on financial markets, endless emergency summits of European leaders and EU-sponsored programmes of financial assistance and economic reform in several countries, a consensus emerged among pro-European elites that the Euro area would need further integration to become a more lasting and stable currency area. A blueprint of this “genuine EMU”, as it is named in EU jargon, was offered in the so-called “four presidents’ report” of 2012 and restated in the “five presidents’ report” of 2015. Broadly speaking, these reports envisage to supplement EMU with a banking union as well as with elements of an economic and a budgetary union. Opinions differ widely among countries as to the concrete contours of the latter two pillars, but it is believed that they must entail a significant transfer of powers to the European level and important limitations to the discretion of national authorities in issues as central to national sovereignty as economic and budgetary matters. This is precisely why these plans are invariably complemented by calls for a tighter “political union” among countries adopting the Euro, which would strengthen the democratic legitimacy of the European level. It is against this backdrop that recent reflections about a “two- or multiple speed Europe” or a “Europe of multiple circles” must be understood. Experts on EU institutional matters never tire of explaining that,
at least since the Treaty of Maastricht, we have already had a two-speed Europe – which implies two groups of countries advancing towards the same final destination at different speeds – and possibly even a Europe of multiple circles – which implies that some countries may not be heading all the way towards the final destination with the rest, but stop short of it. Out of the twenty-eight EU countries, nineteen have already adopted the Euro as their currency (first circle), but nine have not. In the latter group, the United Kingdom and Denmark have a legal opt-out from the Euro (second circle). The remaining seven countries would be legally obliged to adopt the common currency as soon as they fulfill the necessary economic conditions (third circle). However, their appetite for doing so has steadily decreased in recent years. One country, Sweden, has long fulfilled all the necessary conditions but rejected Euro membership by referendum in 2003. There is really no legal commitment on earth that could ensure other countries join the Euro if their citizens similarly reject Euro membership in the years to come. Therefore, what was deemed to be a waiting room for a short stay before being admitted in the main hall of the club may well be turning into a space for more stable settlement, at least for a minority of countries which could include important players such as the UK, Sweden, Denmark, but also Poland and Hungary.
This aspect of the EU institutional conundrum was well understood by British Prime Minister David Cameron in his attempt at renegotiating the UK membership of the EU. Cameron has specifically asked for a legal recognition that the EU is a “multicurrency union”, as well as for mechanisms that would safeguard the rights of the “Eurozone Outs” against possible discrimination by the “Eurozone Ins” within the European Single Market, once the latter group integrates further in accordance with plans for a genuine EMU. From this perspective, the stake of the British renegotiation goes beyond the future of Britain in the EU and has the potential to influence the emerging institutional structure of the EU in its more or less permanent internal articulations. I see many potential difficulties with the way plans for a genuine EMU among Euro countries seek to reshape the EU institutional structure. Let me address two of them. First, within the Euro area we are clearly heading towards some sort of “dysfunctional federalism”. In traditional federal orders, very few functions are centralised and entrusted with supranational institutions. They usually include defense, foreign policy, some minimal treasury functions and the powers to enforce complete free movement of goods, services, capitals and people within the federation. All other powers are rigorously reserved to member states and smaller administrative units,
as the essence of federalism is decentralisation and respect for local freedoms and traditions. As a result, in a federation, harmonisation must be kept to a minimum and regulatory competition between different jurisdictions must be preferred to the imposition of a unique regulatory regime at the federal level. Unfortunately, the emerging “genuine EMU” does not seem to respect these priorities. It is in many ways an upside-down federation, which risks intruding too much on economic, budgetary and regulatory matters at the national level while having too little power in traditional areas of federal competence such as foreign policy and defense. Second, it is unclear whether present plans for a genuine EMU can solve the thorny problems of democratic legitimacy they raise. In the early stages of all federations in history, member states remained the main repository of citizens’ allegiance. This is why lasting federal constitutions have always tried to clearly enumerate and circumscribe federal powers so as to maximise the residual freedom of member states. The EU and its currency area are no exceptions. The feeling that, in the EU, there is no clear limit to the transfer of more and more powers to the European level and that sovereignty can potentially be shared in virtually all areas of public policy has already contributed to massive waves of Euroscepticism both within and outside the Euro area. Honest pro-Europeans should admit that
increasing democratic controls at the European level has not produced the benefits we had hoped for, and is unlikely to do so in the near future. We are dealing with a substantive problem of identity and political allegiance (which are still primarily national). No procedural solution (e.g. no increase in the powers of the European Parliament, however welcome it may be on other grounds) can be a credible way out. In conclusion, talks about a two-speed Europe overlook three fundamental issues. First, we are already beyond a two-speed Europe. Two countries are legally allowed never to join the currency union if they so wish and many others may prefer to remain in a limbo in which nobody can enforce their legal obligation to join the Euro. This would already represent a Europe of multiple circles in which the bonds between the inner circle and the outer circle would inevitably weaken with potentially negative consequences, not least for countries (e.g. the Western Balkans) that cannot credibly join the inner circle straightaway. Second, whether present plans about a genuine EMU can be successfully implemented remains to be seen. A political backlash in some countries (e.g. France) is far from impossible in the short to medium run. The economic viability of these plans is also contentious, as they do not offer credible solutions to the more structural problems of Europe’s economies (e.g. their unsustainable levels
of welfare spending and bureaucratic controls, especially in Western and Southern Europe). In fact, it is from the core of the Euro area that the backlash is more likely to come. Third, however many different speeds different countries have along the road of European integration, the fact remains that none of them knows precisely what it is speeding towards. What is the final destination of this political journey? How will the Euro area look like once it reaches this destination? What about the EU? In the history of European integration, this was traditionally posed as a question about the finalité of the European project. We are still waiting for a credible answer and the ambiguity in which we are kept has become more dangerous with almost any election in recent years.
Federico Reho, Wilfried-MartensCentre for European Studies
Fiscal Union as the Ultima Ratio? Ideas for a More Resilient Eurozone The 2007-08 global financial crisis revealed numerous defects rooted in the design of the Euro. Ironically, the major flaws of the single currency, including the absence of a fiscal union, stem from the same factors that enabled its creation – the primacy of political interests over economic rationale. It is this dominance of political considerations that accounts for inherent structural fragility of the Eurozone (EZ) and has led to a mismanagement of the crisis, prolonging it and increasing the overall costs of its mitigation, with a particularly negative impact on the Southern periphery. It is now widely accepted that since its creation the single currency area has not been in line with the objective economic conditions necessary for a successfully functioning monetary union. These include business cycle coordination, considerable labour market and wage flexibility and a fiscal (budgetary) union, that should all serve to reduce the probability of asymmetric shocks occurring and alleviate their possible negative impact on countries belonging to the monetary regime (this is known as the “optimal currency area” argument). However, instead of relying on the economic logic of monetary integration, European policymakers opted for the establishment of Maastricht criteria, which were used primarily as political conditions for membership in the EZ. This allows claiming that the objective was not to create an optimal currency area, but to give birth to a new political project that would be a step forwards in European integration. The fact that even the freshly established Maastricht criteria, not to mention the more rigid requirements stemming from the optimal currency area argument, were not enforced on countries wishing to join the Euro (for example, Belgium and Italy were allowed to join despite government debt levels above the foreseen ratio of 60% to GDP) created an apparent lack of ex-ante economic convergence. This was originally envisaged to be overcome
by employing ex-post convergence mechanisms, such as the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), which should have disciplined members of the club with regard to their national fiscal policies, making them more similar and compatible. However, even this main instrument of expost convergence was eventually disregarded and pushed to the sidelines by the main actors – Germany and France, the first countries to breach their commitments under the SGP, thus creating precedents for other countries to follow without being penalized for doing so. This left the Eurozone with no viable means to ensure the economic homogeneity of its member countries, meaning that asymmetric shocks, that were bound to arise at some point, would ultimately threaten the existence of the monetary union as a whole. The 2007-08 crisis turned out to be exactly such a shock. Looking back, it is clear that the consequences and the ongoing implications of the crisis would not have been so grave if an EZ-level adjustment mechanism would have been set in place from the beginning. It is crucial to understand that countries joining the single currency give up their independent monetary policies, making external adjustment impossible. The other remaining way to adjust to asymmetric shocks then is internal devaluation via austerity policies. However, this option did not turn out to be politically viable, especially in the Southern periphery. With countries unable to adjust
THEME either way, a deadlock situation was created, dragging on the crisis and increasing the overall costs of its mitigation dramatically. Economic logic suggests that the sole viable option to deal with the negative outcomes of this and future asymmetric shocks is the establishment of a fullyfledged fiscal union within the Eurozone – essentially a transfer union, operating on the same principles as the US Federal budget. In practice, this would mean large volume financial transfers between EZ states, aiding countries facing economic difficulties due to asymmetric shocks and allowing them to get back on the growth track as quickly as possible. The existence of such an arrangement would take the question of emergency financial aid provision to Southern countries from the hands of national governments, which largely base their decisions on local considerations, not the interests of the EZ as a whole. Such a radical re-arrangement is necessary because the current institutional set-up has made emergency financial aid provision from an economic concern related to the stability of the monetary union to a politicized bargaining among national governments, with each actor looking after its own narrow national interests. “Realist” zerosum perceptions have dominated many of the national governments since the outbreak of the EZ crisis in 2011, making any commitment to institutionalised welfare transfers a “taboo”. The Northern creditor countries are the main opponents of Eurozone gaining more features of a transfer union, as this would imply losses on their part – despite the positive impact this would have on the EZ as a whole, making it more resilient and “complete”. The establishment of a fiscal union would make welfare transfers to distressed states automatic, eliminating the harmful political nature of the debate. Nevertheless, no matter how useful this would be for the stability of the EZ in general, such an arrangement is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future. “Economic nationalism” that continues to dominate public opinion in the “core” creditor countries of the Eurozone means that policymakers find their hands tied, at least if they do not wish to risk their own political careers. This leads us to the conclusion that domestic opinion concerns and the resulting divergent national positions are bound to keep blocking otherwise economically sound decisions, essential for the health of the monetary union. To put it bluntly, is a fiscal union necessary for a more resilient and effectively functioning Eurozone? Yes. Is it likely to happen any time soon? No.
“THE END OF ROAMING AND THE GENESIS OF THE DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET” BULLSEYE INTERVIEW WITH PAUL RÜBIG MEP MR RÜBIG, AS YOUR NICKNAME “MR ROAMING“ INDICATES, YOU HAVE BEEN ACCOMPANYING THE INITIATIVE TO ABOLISH ROAMING CHARGES WITHIN THE EU FOR A WHILE. HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE THE AGREEMENT OF 30 JUNE 2015 WHICH IS SAID TO HAVE ACHIEVED THIS AIM? IS IT SATISFACTORY IN YOUR OPINION OR HAD YOU HOPED FOR A GREATER RESULT? Paul Rübig MEP (PR): To perhaps retrace the beginnings of this initiative: a student from Linz in Austria once complained to me how unacceptable these roaming fees were. On the basis of that complaint, I requested with the European Commission to prepare a legislative draft which was converted within seven months into the so-called “Roaming I” accord. This focused primarily on voice telephony. “Roaming II” centred mostly on texting and wholesale prices for data roaming. By the time “Roaming III” came into being, it had become clear that data roaming would become ever more important and needed to be prioritised. Now, we have arrived at “Roaming IV” which should have constituted the completion of a European single market in the area of telecommunications. It is insofar a huge leap forward since the limits for abuse have now again be reduced. However, it is not yet a final breakthrough which would enable competition between all telecommunication providers within the EU. Particularly, it does not allow customers to choose those service providers in Europe which offer the best deals to them. 2017 will be a great leap forward, but not yet the creation of a fullyfledged, functional internal market. My aim would be to introduce, together with Commissioner Günther Oettinger, a final directive on roaming by 2018 and at the latest by 2019, before the next elections to the
European Parliament. This should ensure that the prices would indeed be regulated by means of competition and not abuse limits stipulated by the European Commission. A liberalisation of the telecommunications market without pricing limitations would be the political aim of the European People’s Party. WHAT WERE IN YOUR OPINION THE GREATEST OBSTACLES TO FULLY-FLEDGED ABOLITION? IDEOLOGICAL OPPOSITION FROM WITHIN THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL OR SIMPLY HEAVY-HANDED LOBBYING FROM TELECOMMUNICATION COMPANIES? PR: Given that particularly former monopolists on the telecommunications market have retained strong relations to the national governments, lobbying evidently stood at the heart of attempts to preserve the status quo. We naturally had the advantage that the consumers desired this liberalisation, putting the telecommunication ministers under great pressure to conclude an agreement. Particularly under the German Presidency of the European Council however, this regulation was very successfully implemented. BEFORE THE 30 JUNE AGREEMENT, YOU CALLED ON TELECOMMUNICATION ENTERPRISES TO UNILATERALLY DISPOSE OF ROAMING FEES, SAYING THAT SUCH CHARGES WERE INDEED HURTING THEIR INTERESTS. GIVEN HOW EXTENSIVELY THESE COMPANIES LOBBIED AGAINST REGULATION, THIS IS AT FIRST SIGHT A SURPRISING CLAIM. HOW DOES THE END OF ROAMING AND THE CREATION OF A DE FACTO COMMON MARKET BENEFIT THE INTERESTS OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET? PR: The fact is that 140 million Europeans travel and
cross a border each year. Statistics clearly prove that the exorbitant prices that are currently being levied compel the consumers to turn off their devices. Telecommunications companies thus lose out on enormous share deals and revenue opportunities. To give a concrete example of the disproportionality of charges: one gigabyte is, in some European countries, available at 2 to 4 Euros. The upper limit for charging 1GB within the EU is at 240 Euros. Outside of the EU however, one gigabyte may well cost up to 19,900 Euros. This is a scandal and one we can only respond to by demanding a global internal market which is costoriented. To this end, we are also in exchange with ITU [UN International Telecommunications Union] whose members are in extensive talks about the adoption of a recommendation which would promote a global cost-
THEME CLAIMED, PARTICULARLY AFFECT SMALLER LOCAL COMPETITORS AND LEAD TO A CARTELISATION, WITH A SMALL NUMBER OF MULTINATIONAL OPERATORS DOMINATING THE MARKET. IS THAT A REAL RISK OR FEARMONGERING? PR: That is the aim of many large international service providers in Europe: that deregulation would cause a selection which would only guarantee the survival of the largest operators. Reality proves the opposite however: in Austria, we have, through the bankruptcy of one service provider, gained a new range of operators. Business groups and service providers from cable network operators have now entered this market. This has led to a drastic reduction in pricing for Austrian consumers. We furthermore have, as part of Roaming III, a so-called “local break-out” clause which makes it possible for any telecommunications operator to offer their deals in other member states. What the European Commission has very successfully done, is to create a greater framework for competition which enables very good results.
oriented approach towards roaming. This would not only benefit consumers, but operators who could tap hitherto closed revenue sources. SPEAKING OF A COMMON MARKET: CURRENTLY, THE EU IS COMPOSED OF TWENTY-EIGHT NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION MARKETS, SERVICED BY ROUGHLY 200 OPERATORS. A HARMONISATION WOULD EVIDENTLY GRANT CONSUMERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE FROM A WIDER RANGE OF SERVICE PROVIDERS. ON THE OTHER HAND, IT WOULD EVIDENTLY TRIGGER A SELECTION PROCESS: SOME COMPANIES COULD NO LONGER COMPETE. THIS COULD, AS CRITICS
ROAMING IS, AS YOU HAVE ALLUDED IT, MERELY PART OF A GREATER PHENOMENON: THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION AND THE NEED FOR CURRENT REGULATIONS TO ADAPT TO THESE NEW REALITIES. AS YOU HAVE MENTIONED, THIS COMMISSION HAS BEEN VERY ACTIVE IN THIS AREA. ONE OF THE MAIN ELECTORAL PLEDGES OF JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER WAS THE PRIORITISATION OF THE “DIGITAL AGENDA”. HOW SUCCESSFUL HAS THIS COMMISSION BEEN WITHIN THE FIRST TWELVE MONTHS OF ITS MANDATE IN FURTHERING THIS AGENDA? PR: There has been great progress, particularly since Commissioner Oettinger has taken on this task. He has acquainted himself excellently with this portfolio and remains true to the principles which underpinned the roaming initiative – for instance, the first effective implementation, at my behest, of the principle of the “sunset-clause”: in light of the fast pace with which telecommunication and the digital landscape changes, we decided that legislation in this sector may at most be in force for three years. This forced the Commission to regularly present a new regulation, remaining on top of recent developments. The second great achievement of this Commission is that we have not limited ourselves to regulating prices, but indeed begun to identify market abuses – a fundamental change of approach. What was also entirely novel was that it only took seven months until the Commission’s first proposal was enacted – never before or since has European legislation been introduced as fast. CAN THE UNPRECEDENTED SPEED WITH WHICH THE COMMISSION IS ACTING BE CREDITED, IN YOUR OPINION, TO THE EXPLICIT MANDATE PRESIDENT JUNCKER WAS GIVEN AS THE EPP SPITZENKANDIDAT? PR: Under President Juncker, the Commission has finally
allowed for the ingenious principle of “better regulation” to assume centre-stage. Under these circumstances, the digital internal market is far easier to implement. As Juncker stated in his first statements after assuming the Commission presidency, there is need for an internal financial, electricity, energy, and digital market – that means a deepening of the European Union on the one and “better regulation” on the other hand. Juncker’s principle of pairing two commissioners from different sides of the political spectrum together on certain policy priorities was especially instrumental for the Commission to work more quickly and efficiently. That is indeed crucial when you need majorities in all three institutions to introduce legislation. HOW HAS THIS DEVELOPMENT THEN IMPACTED ON THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL AND PARLIAMENT? PR: Within the European Council, the national presidencies play a fundamental role. Personally, I found the German Presidency to have done its work in an exemplary fashion. It should also be highlighted that the last roaming accord was overseen by Latvia, another EPPled member state. Indeed, the abolition of roaming was a purely EPP-led initiative: Roaming I was created under my auspices during the German Council Presidency, in cooperation with Ambassador Witt, Secretary of State Joachim Wuermeling, and Commissioner Viviane Reding – a pure EPP team. There is a famous photograph taken in the European Parliament where this act was signed by Chancellor Merkel as German Council President, European Parliament President Pöttering, Angelika Niebler MEP as the Chair of the relevant Select Committee, Commission President Barroso, and Paul Rübig MEP – one-hundred per cent EPP with a precise gender balance: three men, three women, with Merkel at the head of the initiative! This will never happen again in this form. Again, Roaming II was negotiated by Angelika Niebler, another EPP representative. Roaming III was spearheaded by AdinaIoana Vălean who, after defecting from the liberals, is another EPP member. Now, we have Pilar del Castillo Vera, a Spanish EPP representative. We can thus see: where there is EPP, there is clout, there is progress. We are working for students and every young person who believes that the future lies in the digital world.
In Defence of the Union – European Military Strategy for the Years Ahead The question of the creation and development of European Union military capabilities is a popular topic among European leaders. However, since the European Defence Community, the concept has had many names but few steps were taken to constitute an embryonic form of European Defence. While it is easy to claim to be in favour of an European Defence, it is much harder to define its raison d’être: it is necessary to elaborate a clear and sustainable strategy answering why we need it, what it needs and how we should use it. MILITARY IS NOTHING BUT A TOOL IN A WIDER STRATEGY “War Is Merely the Continuation of Policy by Other Means” said Carl von Clausewitz in his On War. This observation can be extended to all forms of use of military means, which have to be included in a political framework. Political decision-makers will have to decide if such tools are more efficient than non-military means in order to reach stated goals. Furthermore, military tools must be given strategic instructions and objectives from the political level: it is dangerous not to set such goals for the military, as it leaves huge and costly institutions without a raison d’être. This situation appeared in the context of the end of Cold War in many Western European countries: as the main threat disappeared, some politicians started to even question the existence of armies, arguing that they were safe from attacks. In the end, the eruption of several crises in Europe provided certain political actors with new missions, such as crisis management and peace enforcement, in which military instruments would prove useful, while most European armies entered in significant restructurings in order to fit with the new paradigm. THE LONG WAY TO A EUROPEAN SECURITY STRATEGY Many European political leaders have advocated for various degrees of military cooperation between Member States within the European integration framework, ranging from an ambitious European Defence Community (EDC) to lower level targets such as European military units. However, few have risen
to the question of the purpose of such initiatives. If an EDC made sense in a Cold War context when pitted against the Soviet Union, the project faded from political consciousness as soon as NATO expanded to the East. With 22 of 28 EU Member States equally part of NATO, a collective or mutual defence initiative using the EU framework would appear to be redundant. In 1997, EU and its Member States instead decided to absorb, by including them in the treaty of Amsterdam, the socalled Petersberg Tasks. These tasks were originally ideated by the Western European Union, a military organisation which had become dormant following NATO enlargement, and primarily included: Humanitarian missions, Peacekeeping and Peacemaking. It seemed that European military interventions would occur only outside of EU territory in the field of what is known as Crisis Management. At the same time, efforts were undertaken to elaborate a EU strategy in the domain of security. This resulted in December 2003 with the publication of a European Security Strategy (ESS) under the auspices of Javier Solana, then EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Secretary General of the Council of the EU. The document, divided in three parts, cited the prospective threats (Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction proliferation, regional conflicts,etc.) and challenges for the EU, strategies to tackle such problems, and their policy implications. The work was highly praised and described as proof of the European
specificities in the field of External Policy, as it proposed a use of tools in which the EU excelled (Humanitarian Aid, Development Cooperation, etc.) while combining them with other instruments. During the same year, EU launched its first military operation which would fall under the European Security and Defence Policy, now Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The ESS was updated in 2008 in order to renew the list of threats including cyber warfare, climate change, energy security. In 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon raised high expectations in this field as the position of High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy came to absorb the position of Commissioner for External Relations and be one of the Vice-President of the Commission. The newly formed European External Action Service (EEAS) merged several services from the European Council’s General Secretariat with various Directorate-Generals, offering the possibility of concentrating all the needed staff and resources. The absence of any update or any new ESS has been highlighted as one of Catherine Ashton’s main failures as High Representative. A CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT Since 2008, the EU is facing an increasingly challenging environment: relations with Russia have cooled down after Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, the Middle East is torn apart by the war raging in Syria and Iraq, while Northern Africa and the Sahel face structural instability. Moreover, the US are gradually expecting European countries to take the lead in the solution of such crises, as seen in Libya. Catherine Ashton’s successor, Federica Mogherini, has taken a proactive stance and committed to elaborate a new strategic defence document. A Strategic Review of the current context was presented in June 2015 to the European Council. The final document, called “EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy” is expected to be published in 2016. In light of various elements mentioned in the Strategic Review - such as the Eurozone crisis, migration and terrorism - , it is possible that the Global Strategy will advocate for an increased cooperation between the internal and external aspects of Security and Defence, leading to the use of military means in defence of EU territory. COHERENT AND CREDIBLE EUROPEAN CAPABILITIES Besides the need for a common strategy, Member States have tried throughout the last two decades to provide Europe with military capabilities. The main impulse on this policy front came from the summit of Saint-Malo between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac. Their appeal for the creation of such capabilities concretised in the Helsinki Headline Goal in 1999. The EU’s ambition was to be able to deploy 60,000 soldiers within 60 days in a range of
THEME 4,000km by 2003. In 2004, the concept was reviewed as Headline Goal 2010, leading to the creation of the European Union Battle Groups (EUBG) which are of a much smaller scale (1,500-2,500 soldiers) but deployable on a shorter notice (5-10 days). Today, 18 EUBGs exist and two of them are always on stand-by. While never utilised in operations, the manoeuvres they undertake before reaching the operational status can be considered as an efficient way to increase cooperation and share expertise. Next to these operational capabilities, military structures were created: the European Union Military Staff supervises CSDP operations and reports to another new EU instrument, the European Union Military Committee, composed of all Member Statesâ€™ Chiefs of Defence. While implementing the Headline goals, many shortfalls preventing their complete fulfilment have been identified. In response to these problems, the European Council agreed on the creation of a European Defence Agency (EDA) in 2004. Since then, the EDA set up various programmes and identified many priorities. OVERCOMING NATIONAL RELUCTANCES The development of an effective military strategy lies in the Member Statesâ€™ good will: all goals and instruments are the result of a consensus between them and it is up to them to reach or implement them. Such will is critical in at least two aspects where it has previously often lacked: the will to commit resources and the will to use existing EU military instruments. The development of EU military structures has unfortunately prompted some national leaders to think that Europeanisation implied a reduction of their investments by achieving an economy of scale. This logic must be contrasted as the main rationale behind the European efforts is to do more with at least the same resources. At the same time, many EU military tools are considered ready for deployment and the international context presented many occasions in which they could have been used. However, it was impossible to reach the necessary consensus to put them into action. It is clear that whatever strategy will be written or whatever instrument will be created by future treaties, the Member States will have to decide if they wish to deploy them together.
Digital Democracy - Opportunity or Lame Duck? For democracy to function, commitment, participation and involvement on the part of its citizens are indispensable. Here, the internet undoubtedly offers new opportunities: it provides easier access to information and new fora for the exercise of freedom of expression. However, the internet is not inherently democratic. As other media, the web offers its own opportunities, while simultaneously involving specific risks. In a free society, the fascination with technology has to be combined with an acute understanding of the needs of a liberal democracy. 1) THE DANGER OF THE LIMITED RANGE OF THE INTERNET FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION Democracy must guarantee all citizens universal, direct and equal access to the political arena. That is not the case with the internet so far: about 20 per cent of Europe’s population has no access to the world wide web. This number has only marginally changed in recent years and is exacerbated by the fact that only half of those with an internet connection are regular and experienced users of it. It must not be overlooked that at its core, the internet is not a low-threshold, but a demanding offer: its use requires not only a minimum of technical understanding and willingness to activity, but also the necessary time. It privileges those who have a constant network access at work. As such, it does not provide the same opportunities for a construction worker or bus driver, as it does for a broker or office clerk. The structural digital divide runs between those for whom using the internet at work and leisure time does not make a difference, and those who have to weigh the importance of the use of the internet for themselves in their spare time budget. On the web, the “time rich” are in a dominant position. 2) THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF THE WEB’S COMPULSION FOR SPEED AND GLOBAL REACH WITH LIBERAL DEMOCRACY Liberal democracy relies on a commitment to the common good and a will for the peaceful settlement of conflict, based on decisions preceded by an open exchange of arguments. This requires both a universally accessible, but simultaneously
manageable communication space, as well as the necessary time for the debate. Yet the internet privatises the public sphere just as much as it globalises it. Both tendencies are dangerous: on the one hand, it encourages a tunneltype vision, where views are exchanged within a strictly defined circle of like-minded users, while on the other causing for the public sphere to lose its integrating effect through its boundlessness. It does not provide the unified communication space which is so important for democratic debate. Unlimited, it breaks down into fragmented echo chambers. While everyone can express themselves on the web, this does not mean that everybody will be heard. The location of the debate is as difficult to establish for the initiators of discourse as it is challenging for users to find. At the same time, fast clicks are the valid currency on the internet. Speed however is not a badge of honour in a democracy. Liberal democracy gains stability through granting a prolonged time for the formation of opinions and decisions to mature. On the contrary, the pressure for speed promotes superficiality, flippancy, and an atmosphere of quickly changing moods, emotions and scandals. On the web, there is rarely time for substantive reflection, integrating communication, and decisional serenity. The compulsive fixation on speed on the internet is in many cases accompanied by credulity. The lightweight access to information and the enormous amount of information often prevents a critical gaze at the actual information content. Reach is a naive net-credulity – as if the availability of data on the internet would ensure its reliability. Content is not transparent, nor trustworthy just because it is on the web. Data wealth does not per se lead to knowledge.
3) THE POTENTIAL OF THE INTERNET VOTING AS AN UNDEMOCRATIC MANIPULATION TOOL FOR SMALL POWER ELITES At first glance, the internet appears to be a breakthrough in a plebiscitary era: voting everywhere about everything now seems to be technically feasible. However, at the same time, the weakness of a “democracy by plebiscite” becomes ever more obvious in cyberspace: in addition to decoupling decision-making and responsibility, it is a wrong assumption to implicitly consider politically interested and constantly active citizen as the norm. Liberal democracy relies on the political commitment of citizens to their society, but explicitly preserves their right to be apolitical. The internet has not been invented, tested, and developed for political purposes and is also used only by a small minority for such ends. Cyberspace is more of a market-place and playground than a forum for politics. This is also reflected in the consistently extremely low participation in “digital liberal democracy”. Despite a very easy access through simple registration via an e-mail address, online-participation tends to stagnate everywhere at less than two or three per cent of those entitled to participate. It remains a tool for very few.
THEME Further, web-based voting cannot until now ensure simultaneously both a secret ballot and the verifiability of the process. If the vote is anonymous, it cannot be safeguarded against fraud e.g. through hacking. If it is safeguarded e.g. with a system of PINs (Personal Identification Number) as with onlinebanking, it cannot be secret as at least system– administrators can link a vote to the individual voter. So far, for online-voting to be a feasible option, a principal problem has not been solved: the person or institution to whom your ballot is submitted should not be able to know how you are. There are serious doubts whether this in principle might possibly be implemented in cyberspace. And there is another problem with protecting onlinevoting against manipulation: as opposed to a real, analogical ballot box, digital voting cannot easily be tested by participants as to their adequate and correct functioning. Public control of the electoral process as a fundamental necessity of democratic elections becomes more difficult as more sophisticated programming is involved. The casting of votes on the internet cannot only extremely easily be tampered with, it also potentially permits for small active power elites with sufficient resources to manipulate the system. Until these
problems are solved, one should refrain from voting tools in digital participation and strengthen it instead as a forum for the exchange of arguments. The interplay between politics and the web is mostly discussed by politically interested and active people. They tend to set themselves as the benchmark and overestimate the role of politics in cyberspace. They should not be misled by their own perspective: the original “Thesis of Mobilisation” that assumed that the web would spark a new interest in politics is all over and done with and has been replaced by the “Thesis of Intensification” which describes the internet as an additional political playground for those who are interested or active in politics anyhow. These limitations of the internet must be understood when one wants to use its opportunities responsibly – for digital participation as a platform for discourse does provide interesting additional opportunities for a liberal democracy: the expansion of freedom of expression and information is its foundation and core. But those who not only seek debate, but also the exercise of government through the internet risk to see it degenerate it into a Potemkin village, where privileged and small web elites act at the expense of the great majority of citizens. Thus, democratic
competence would be sacrificed to the fascination with technology. Exiting the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.” In relation to the internet and its opportunities with view to heightened civic participation, one could now add: “Democracy - if you can use it.”
Dr Stephan Eisel, Taurus Editor-in-Chief 1980-1984
Last Chance for a United Europe or: How to Maintain the Schengen-Agreement The Schengen Agreement as we know it is one of Europe’s biggest success stories. After being criticised at first, Europeans nowadays enjoy their right of crossing the borders of 26 countries without having to undergo any passport checks. However, facing a huge influx of asylum-seekers and the imminent risk of Jihadists entering Europe with them, several countries such as Germany are now about to reintroduce border controls. This should only be the last resort. If countries start to perform border checks again, this would be a major setback for the EU and its goal of establishing a feeling of unity, symbolised by the absence of borders. In order to prevent this, several measures ought to be undertaken, but we have to act fast. Angela Merkel and her approach to the refugee situation in Europe have been ground-breaking and a beacon to most European Member States in the last few months. Sadly, following recent events in France, Cologne, Turkey and Indonesia, the trust in her methods appears to be fading. As the EU’s cooperation with Turkey and the erection of registration centres do not proceed as planned, ever more members of the Union support the idea of border controls, seemingly unaware of the imminent damage this would cause for the European economy, as well as the citizens’ faith in the EU. Of course, every country is legally permitted to control its borders for a limited matter of time within the Schengen Agreement, but as European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in his hearing in the European Parliament: “If Schengen collapses, then this will be the beginning of the end of the European project.” Defying the advocates of the reintroduction of border controls, many believe that there are several other possibilities by which to protect European citizens, provide humanitarian aid and foster a pro-European spirit. Already in 2015, several politicians, among them Chancellor Angela Merkel, presented plans outlining a potential
stabilisation of the situation. These mostly centred on the idea to evenly distribute asylum-seekers arriving at Europe’s external borders among all Member States. A scheme that was based on the belief that once migrants were assigned to one county, uncontrolled migration inside the EU would cease and remove the primary incentive for the reintroduction of border controls. Sadly, this solution is unlikely to come into effect in the near future. The fact that many EU Member States are not willing to join such an agreement, as well as a lack of facilities at the EU borders to receive and adequately register immigrants prevents this plan from coming into fruition. Other voices call for a strengthening of the EU’s external border in order to “keep migrants out” or at least reduce their numbers. While this solution might solve some of the European Union’s practical problems, it is neither implementable without resorting to military force, nor is it humane to shut people fleeing war and hardship out. This leaves only one realistic option to keep the EU united: a truly European agreement on a system for the processing of asylum applications and the registration of
asylum-seekers upon arrival. A major problem at present is that it is for instance the individual competence of every Member State to negotiate accords with states generally considered to be safe countries of origin. Austria thus has such agreements with only four countries, leaving no other option than to accommodate nationals of any other country applying for asylum for an often indeterminate period of time. Together, the European Union could place greater pressure on these states and negotiate for better arrangements, rendering it easier to return nationals of these countries to their homes, while ensuring that help continues to be provided for those who need. Another significant challenge prompting the desire for renewed border checks is the the increasing arrival of migrants carrying forged documents. According to staff of the Austrian Federal Office for Asylum, approximately 95 per cent of all people coming from African states use fraudulent identification documents, yet are unlikely to face any consequences when caught. Of course, this is an eventuality that presumes that newly-arriving asylumseekers possess any documents at all. A stricter legal framework for the handling of people with phoney or no means of identification may discourage migrants with little hope of having their applications for asylum accepted from using false identities to enter Europe. Measures to that effect could for instance include the introduction of more detailed background checks, as well as language analyses to determine a person’s true origin and subsequently whether they qualify for asylum. These seemingly straightforward measures could reduce levels of migration drastically. More specifically, they would help focusing efforts and resources on those people who truly are in need and assure the security of EU citizens.
THEME Øresundsbron, known in English as the Oresund Bridge, stretches over 7,845 metres, connecting the neighbours and historic arch-enemies Sweden and Denmark. Upon its inauguration sixteen years ago, Queen Margarethe of Denmark famously said: “A bridge is a carrier of dreams … Both time and space get a new dimension. Today, a dream has come true.” Recent political developments however have cast a shadow over the historic achievement that the bridge represented at the turn of the millennium – becoming the embodiment of Schengen’s crisis of legitimacy in light of historic refugee movements.
The Bridge In June 2015, FMSF and KS had the privilege to host the EDS Policy Days in Malmö and Copenhagen. The theme of the conference was “Cross Borders” and its subtitle read: “Borders are the place where neighbours meet”. At the time, this could barely have been more true of the Oresund Bridge which has truly become a symbol for the Oresund or Greater Copenhagen region. Every day, 75,000 people travel across it, many Danes and Swedes have found both love and work on the other side of it. However, the motto of the EDS Policy Days has undergone a drastic and tragic change since last summer. These days, many who cross the Oresund Bridge have a quite different experience to our delegates in June. During the autumn of 2015, the Swedish Migration Office received 10,000 asylum applications per day. One can assume that not all migrants were registered upon arrival. A very difficult situation for any small country, the Social Democrat-Green coalition government decided to make a strong statement towards Europe, reinstating border controls on 12 November to ensure that passengers bound for Sweden could not do so without a valid ID or passport. Extended several times since, the Swedish parliament decided on 4 January 2016 to place the responsibility of carrying out these ID controls in the hands of the operating train and coach companies. The practical consequence was that every passenger travelling from Denmark to Sweden now has to present their ID twice before being permitted to pursue their journey: once when stepping onto their train or coach and once when reaching Sweden, where additional controls are undertaken by the local police – every twenty minutes during the day and more often during rush hour. Among the main criticisms against this decision coming from the region have been the lack of coordination with the Danish government, as well as the complete disdain for existing agreements forged when the Oresund
Bridge was built, where such emergencies were indeed considered. The agreement for instance stipulated that Swedish and Danish police forces were allowed to operate on opposite sides of the Oresund Bridge – enabling the kind of cooperation that may be observed on the popular crime show “The Bridge”, but also border controls if either of the two states should choose to leave either Schengen or the EU. There is a case for arguing that this unwillingness for cooperation may be rooted in wider philosophical disagreements between the two countries’ governments. When it comes to migration issues, Sweden and Denmark are on very opposite sides of the spectrum. Denmark has upheld a restrained policy on migration, accepting a record number of around 20,000 migrants in 2015. Sweden too registered a record number of refugees – with around 160,000 migrants. An attempt to coordinate the between the two different policies was undertaken in September last year and failed. It has been considered reflective of a remarkable low point in modern Danish-Swedish relations. One of the main problems that Sweden will be encountering as a consequence of the border controls is heightened political instability. For a long period of time, the kingdom has benefitted of a stable political system and climate. Since the autumn of 2015, the people in the Oresund region are well aware of the consequences and implications of drastic and uncoordinated decisions. In combination with a Minister of Foreign Affairs accused of corruption, Sweden can no longer claim to be a “Human Rights Super Power” and faces further volatility in its internal politics, shaken up by the steady rise of the farright Sweden Democrats.
should infringe on the economic foundations of the Union, namely the integration of markets and people. Annual trade between Denmark and Sweden amounts to roughly 200 billion Danish Crowns (€26.7 billion) and 1 billion Swedish Crowns per day (€107 million). If economic activity in the region is further curtailed by measures such as the above ones, then both current and new citizens will be facing heightened difficulties in both the job and housing market (see “How To Ruin A Housing Market” in BullsEye No. 62 – December 2015). Schengen is not only great for travelling, living or studying a semester in Italy, Estonia, or Denmark. It enables services and goods to circulate freely. It enables our citizens to find their country of choice to live in. In an increasingly global economy, political stability that sustains this freedom of movement is more important than ever. The EDS Policy Days are always a treat for its participants. Seeing new countries and obtaining new insights in European politics can be both exciting and enjoyable. However, we should never forget the importance of these trips. Sixteen years after the bridge’s opening, the lack of cooperation between the Swedish and Danish government have turned what was once described as “a dream come true” into a nightmare for the Oresund region – both for future and present citizens.
Charlotte Nilsson Europe finds itself in the midst of a huge crisis, one that needs to be tackled. However, no viable solution
SERIES: THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN FEDERALISM
Will Europe Become Independent? – The Pan-European Idea in the New Millennium Europe’s strength has always been the vitality of its Christian-liberal culture and its productivity in economic, scientific and technical matters. Its weakness has been its fragmentation into nation-states. Richard Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, the founder of the Pan-European movement and thereby the modern European unification process, referred to this problem already in 1922, when he wrote: “Not the people of Europe are senile, but their political system”. In doing so, he did not in the slightest refer to the parliamentary democracies that had just developed in Central Europe and which he endorsed with all his heart. On the contrary, he not only demanded a common currency, a common defence, a common market and a common highest jurisdiction on the continental level, that is the united Europe which he propagated under the name of “Pan-Europe”, but from the very beginning also a European parliament with the power to elect a government. He varied this concept in the course of his long political life, yet defended it at all times vehemently against all totalitarian and populist challenges. More than ninety years after initiating his plans, the PanEurope founder would certainly have recognised his ideas in today’s European Parliament and the EU Commission, by now becoming a kind of a European Government, elected by the former. However, he would likely urge for further decisive steps to be undertaken. In the view of the Pan-Europe Union, the current EU needs to be particularly strengthened in three areas: for one, in its communal consciousness which is the basis for all true solidarity; in the competences and capacities to act of its communal bodies, as well as in its external assertiveness, that is its position in global politics. This is regularly reviled as an attempt to erect
a “European superstate” – a preposterous bogeyman in view of the fact that in reality, Europe is rather threatened by renewed nationalisms and disintegration. No rational human being and certainly no Pan-European wishes for the united Europe to be a centralised, bureaucratic monster which regulates all aspects of life to the smallest detail. Such tendencies evidently exist among parts of the Eurocracy, as well as those politicians who consider themselves to be benefactors of humanity and wish to coerce the individual citizen, if need be also against their express will, to adopt certain attitudes. Particularly the Pan-Europeans vehemently resist these tendencies and are supported in this endeavour by the great democratic forces, especially the European People’s Party. Equally dangerous as the self-proclaimed benefactors of humanity are however those populists who permanently speak of freedom, yet abuse it in order to erode representative democracy, replace the Social Market Economy with its intellectual foundations – Catholic social teachings and Protestant social ethics – with a market economy without attributes, that is a mere liberalist capitalism, and reverse the process of European unification, rather than pushing it forward. The latter is often concealed by the phrase: “I too am a committed European, but Europe for me particularly signifies diversity”. Indeed, a European pabulum is not desired by anyone – but mere diversity leads to disintegration. The official slogan of the European Union rightly is: “United in Diversity”. Europe does not consist of many different
cultures, but one common culture with many facets – just as a diamond, which constitutes a firm entity, yet sparkles in the most various colours. Its correspondent political system must be designed accordingly: anti-centralist, but when the common interests of the continent are concerned, equipped with strong supranational institutions which decide within the confines of their closely defined competences on the basis of the principle of the majority, not unanimity. A glance at American history is rather instructive in this instance. The Declaration of Independence of 4 July 1776 created thirteen self-reliant legal subjects of international law. Only the recognition that these states were doomed without a common executive and a common parliament, without a common army as well as a common foreign and economic policy, prompted the thirteen to unite first in a conferederation and then a federation, to be later joined by other former colonies. It is most fascinating how deeply the body of thought of the US federalists who enabled this process was anchored in European traditions. The most important founding fathers of the United States, Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, were guided by the political philosophies of antiquity and the Christian middle ages, which preferred a mixed form of government, not an absolutist demos, and hence propagated a system of “checks and balances”, a separation of powers, inter-institutional balance, and federalism. The second US President, John Adams, was granted the privilege to see how his equally gifted
SERIES: THE FUTURE OF EUROPEAN FEDERALISM son, John Quincy Adams, rose to the presidency too – a political philosopher, he was inspired by Edmund Burke, the liberal-conservative founder of constitutionalism who defied the French Revolution. It was Adams who made the great Irishman known in the New World. They all desired the establishment of a personal freedom respectful the natural community, an economic policy directed toward the common good, a strengthening of the central power towards the exterior and simultaneously the preservation of the distinctive character of the individual member states in the interior.
This very much corresponds to the deliberations of Count Coudenhove-Calergi outlined in his work “Pan-Europe”, published in 1923: “If the liberation of the European peoples is not complemented by its unification, the European states will within a brief span of time be devoured by the growing world powers.” This prophecy became reality only one and a half decades later – first in the shape of National Socialism and then Communism. The Western part of Europe remained free, yet lost for decades its political autonomy and had to accept a certain economic dominance by the USA. Today, the task of 1923 is posed again, in a new fashion. The European unification of the last decades has already contributed much to furthering the independence of Europe. For it to become a real independence, three factors have to be combined: the erection of a federalist European contitution with a strong European Parliament, the preservation and further development of a European way of life in culture and economics, as well as the creation of a common foreign and security policy worthy of
the name. The latter will not succeed if pursued as part of an intergovernmental approach, regardless of whatever effort may underpin it. As te great Bavarian Pan-European Franz Josef Strauß wrote in 1968: “The coexistence of the potential of nationstates can never compensate the force of a greater integrated space … The United States would not be what they are if they were only a functional consortium of sovereign states.” Of course, Europe, with its diversity which has organically grown over centuries, is more difficult to unite and to be united differently as erstwhile the USA. The path and the structure of the integration of North America cannot simply be imitated. The result however should resemble that of the federalists in the US which they similarly achieved in the face of vehement opposition and many populisms: namely the foundation of a federal level which maintains our tolerant and multifaceted Europe on the inside, yet preserves it through responsible and peaceful strength from downfall. One must no longer accept the denunciation of this model as “superstate” by the adversaries of the Pan-European idea. Even ninety years after the first strides by Coudenhove-Kalergi, we have only undertaken first steps on our way to a true PanEurope, as it was also advocated by Coudenhove’s successor Otto von Habsburg. These steps are important, yet by no means irreversible.
Bernd Posselt, former MEP and President of the Pan-Europe Union Germany
Japan’s Remilitarisation: So What? On 31 August 2015, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formally announced a new military budget increase, the fourth in less than five years. The stakes of this remilitarisation seem to be both misunderstood and underestimated on the Old Continent. This short contribution aims to put Japanese rearmament into an historical perspective in order to provide some key elements to grasp the potential military evolution of Japan. The additional funds granted by the Abe government will be mainly devoted to the purchase of new technologies, including the newest Lockheed Martin 5th generation fighter (the controversial F-35), surveillance drones and helicopters, amphibious assault vehicles, and submarines. A few months earlier, the Japanese Marine commissioned the largest homebuilt ship since 1945: the Izumo helicopter carrier, a ship which can also host up to 28 aircrafts such as F-35’s. This evolution did not go unnoticed in the wider AsiaPacific region: in China, several leading personalities of “civil society” expressed their deep concerns about Abe’s overt ambition to modernise Japan’s Self Defence Forces (JSDF). But why does this process raise such anxiety in a region where every country, including Vietnam, China’s millennial enemy, is increasing its military budget? A PARTICULAR HISTORICAL CONTEXT On 2 September 1945, Japan officially surrendered to the US Armed Forces. This capitulation marked the end of Japanese imperialism which began with the modernisation of the country (the so-called Meiji era) seventy-seven years earlier. The United States subsequently came to occupy the country, with General MacArthur becoming Japan’s de facto ruler until 1951. For the first time in its history, the nation was occupied by a foreign power. The major political change of that time was the substitution of the existing regime, formalised by the new Constitution which drastically reduced the power of the Emperor, a character seen as a living deity by his population. Because of the many atrocities perpetrated in its imperial expansion phase, the occupying powers intended to turn Japan into a pacifist State. In this context, the notorious article 9 was written. It stipulates: “(1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never
be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognised.” Originally, this article was interpreted as a strict interdiction for Japan to resort to any kind of military means, including for self-defence purposes. However, in 1954, at the height of Cold War, the country was conferred the right to maintain military units for the sole purpose of assuring its security from external aggression. The external projection of military might was wholly out of the question. Besides, all major operations were conducted in close cooperation with the United States Army, to such an extent that the interoperability between these two armed forces remains one of the strongest in the world. Along with these strict limitations, the minds of the Japanese society deeply changed. Pacifism was widely spread in huge segments of the nation, encouraged by (far) left parties who strongly opposed any modification of the Constitution and its 9th article. Young people who wished to join the Army were considered odd and suspicious, resulting in increasing difficulties for the JSDF to recruit new soldiers. However, not everything was entirely settled. Because of Japan’s strategic importance for the United States in the context of the Cold War, the authorities did not seek to pursue a genuine collective memory work which could have led to a sweeping rejection of national institutions. Japan, unlike Germany, still refuses to admit to the grave war crimes it committed at the time of its imperial expansion. Several atrocities crystallise this highly sensitive issue: the Nanking Massacre, the notorious experiments of unit 731 or the Korean Comfort Women, sexual slaves who were at the disposal of the Emperor’s armed forces during the entirety of the conflict. THE RISE OF THE PHOENIX This absence of collective memory work at a national level can partly explain the current rise of nationalism in Japan. The old political leaders, deeply influenced by the pacifism of the post-WWII period - by conviction or for mere electoral reasons - progressively disappear and are gradually
replaced by far more assertive politicians who wish to see their country play a greater role on the international stage. One of their contentions is that Japan should no longer be a military dwarf in the Asia-Pacific region. However, this revival of nationalist pride is seen with a mix of fear and uncertainty in this part of the globe - and not only in Beijing, with whom relations are most tense as can amongst others be witnessed with the Senkaku/ Diaoyu dispute. Even some of Japan’s regional allies who share Tokyo’s concerns about the potential implications of China’s rise are likewise worried by the developments in Japan: in South Korea, Nippon’s national awakening stirs painful memories, largely because of the absence of a long-lasting memory policy in Japanese society. These dramatic historical events are frequently used by the Chinese authorities to distract popular attention from their own internal troubles, such as corruption and pollution. In light of this background, how could Japan evolve over the course of the next decades? There are strong grounds on which to argue that remilitarisation is well underway and that little will stop it. It is a matter of time before the obstacle represented by article 9 will be out of the way. The country will therefore have the choice to become a responsible stakeholder contributing to a world under the aegis of the United Nations or using its modernised army as a tool of a militarist foreign policy. The current political leaders will thus have the risky task to temper the domestic nationalist pulse while continuing to monitor the rise of its Chinese neighbour whose intentions are still unclear. Mission: Impossible?
Now It’s Our Time – Cyprus’s Path Towards Reunification As Europe is experiencing its most severe refugee crisis since the Second World War, negotiations for a solution of the Cyprus problem have further progressed, raising hopes for a solution to one of Europe’s last frozen conflicts. The positive developments of the recent months are the direct result of three fundamental shifts in Cyprus and the region that have helped renew interest in a solution. Primarily, the election of Nicos Anastasiades as President of Cyprus in 2013 again brought the Cyprus problem to the centre stage. Moreover, the interests of Turkey in resolving the issue have been reinforced by recent oil and gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean. At around the same time, the international community has shown an active interest in resolution of the conflict, stressing that Turkey would find it difficult to integrate its infrastructure in the regional energy market and Europe as a whole. Unless the Cyprus issue is resolved, EU membership, still a long-time goal of Ankara, will not be achieved. Most recently, the election of Mustafa Akinci, a moderate, as Turkish-Cypriot leader has further contributed to aiding the process of reunification. The rapports being built between Anastasiades and Akinci have been quite influential in bolstering negotiations, as well as the hopes of the two communities for a swift peace settlement. Divided since the Turkish invasion of the island’s north in 1974, Cyprus currently is the last divided country in Europe. In spite of the occupied territories declaring independence shortly after the arrival of Turkish troops, the secession has not acquired general international recognition. Today’s younger generation of Cyprus strongly supports the ongoing negotiations and believes that one day, in the near future, they are going to have the opportunity to return to their homeland and live peacefully after forty-two years of separation. Almost one fourth of the Cypriot population carries, even to this day, refugee status. When considered with view to the events surrounding Europe’s current refugee
crisis, the Cyprus issue provides Europe with an opportunity to make a difference in the Middle East and prove that the values it represents can bring about sustainable change. If Europe is able to resolve issues within and at the European and Mediterranean rim, it can also claim to be a leader in global affairs. The negotiation process has reached a turning point. Over the coming months, a plan is expected to be finalised. The two leaders will need all the support they can gather and the international community must encourage Turkey to cooperate in order for a solution to be possible. However, in order to achieve peace in Cyprus, a lot more than a diplomatic agreement is needed. As one of the largest youth organizations, NEDISY, the youth of the EPP-affiliated DISY, established together with other youth organisations, political organisations, and NGOs the “Cyprus, We Can!” initiative, promoting the social media hashtag #CYWeCan, which can also be read as ”See why we can”. The aim of #CYweCan is to raise awareness about the importance of a swift, yet comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue. The initiative supports the negotiation process and the values of peace, cooperation and interdependence. It shares the wishes of the youth of Cyprus for a peaceful and united island and asks for respect of the different identities, as well as the shared and separate values and customs of the people of this island. The initiative also acknowledges the effort of Anastasiades and Akinci to reunite Cyprus, while rejecting the status quo and the injustice it causes. We seek a future on this island governed by the rule of law, with equal opportunities for all. #CYweCan encourages the two leaders to work toward
peace in the knowledge that the youth of Cyprus offers the best guarantee for the future of its common homeland. “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win” was the slogan of the founding conference of the initiative which was held on the 18 December in the buffer zone in Nicosia. At the event, political leaders such as DISY President Averof Neofytou, CTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat and TDP leader Cemal Ozygit expressed their support to the initiative which aims to support peace, cooperation and share the will of the youth to live in a united and peaceful Cyprus.
Theodoulos Ioannou, CYWeCan
Students At Risk - Tales of Refugee Students
Country of Origin: Gambia
Country of Origin: Syria
Country of Origin: Swaziland
UNIVERSITIES Sait is a 30-year-old social justice activist from The Gambia. He was accepted into the Students at Risk (StAR) programme to pursue an MA in Public Administration in Norway. For nearly fifteen years, Sait has been engaged with advocacy work ranging from children’s right, youth empowerment, and most recently, women’s rights. As a social justice activist and a fervent believer in human rights, he has participated in and continues to be involved with several national and regional campaigns with far-reaching results to improve the lives of children, women and young people in The Gambia and Africa in general. In 2014, he coordinated the First National Youth Forum on Female Genital Mutilation, bringing together more than one hundred youth from all regions of the Gambia to discuss youth engagement strategy to bring an end to FGM. With intense campaigning following, the act was finally banned by The Gambian President and a law criminalising it has already been enacted. On 5 November 2014, Sait was arrested in connection with his involvement in an opinion poll. His imprisonment stirred a global campaign on social media, contributing to his release a week later without facing any charges. This changed in December, when he was again apprehended and this time charged on what many of his supporters considered spurious grounds. Sait was incarcerated at the remand wing of the Central Prison of Gambia under horrible conditions. After nearly two weeks, he was released on bail after his father and uncle had relinquished two
landed properties worth five million Dalasis ($125 000). While colleagues of his pleaded guilty as part of a plea bargain, Sait maintained his innocence, aware of executive meddling in the judiciary. On 29 April, he was acquitted and discharged by the magistrate court following a no case submission by his lawyers. The government threatened to appeal the case. Sait temporarily relocated to Dakar to avoid further arrest while waiting for his Norwegian visa. Nominated for Students at Risk while in jail, Sait is now on a full scholarship: “The Students At Risk provided me with an opportunity and gave me hope to continue to believe in myself, prepare myself for the challenging work to be done in my country”. Sait is slowly integrating himself in his host country. He challenged himself to learn the Norwegian language despite the fact that he dreads the cold. In addition to his studies, Sait still finds the time to engage in student activism. He is still engaged with events in his home country. Although he misses his team and community work, he is proud of his team of young women (Think Young Women and Safe Hands for Girls) back home who continue to push for women’s rights, particularly on FGM. This year, an election is held in Gambia and Sait hopes to use his blog to reach out to mostly young people to vote for change. He is hoping to return to his home country upon finishing his degree.
Two years after he left his country and fled to Turkey, Nour arrived in Norway in September 2015 as part of the Students At Risk (StAR) programme. While pursuing his Bachelor degree in Syria, he was the head of his university’s Student Union. A position which caused him problems since it fell directly under the orders of al-Assad regime: often, he would be asked to forcefully confront any protest occurring within the university by any means necessary, an order he rejected. A new student union was created by the regime to take over the university. Its officials were permitted to carry arms on campus in order to terrorise students. After graduating, Nour moved to work at the University of Kalamoon in order to join his family in the city of Deir Atyia, to which they had escaped after their home town Homs had almost wholly been destroyed by the heavy military operations conducted by Assad’s troops. Not very long time after settling in Deir Atyia, Nour was caught in the crossfire again when fights between the regime and rebels erupted in the town in late 2013. Under siege for days, he was stranded at his home, unable to escape due to heavy shelling and airstrikes in the area. Nour eventually decided to flee for Turkey. In itself a risky travel, he had to face
another harsh reality upon arrival, with the Turkish government struggling to cope with the high number of refugees, denying them residence and work permits. As Turkish law stipulates that only Turkish citizens can practice medicine in the country, Nour was further not allowed to practice as a pharmacist. In that period, Nour tried to help other Syrians in Turkey by volunteering at a non-governmental health organisation which provided health care for Syrian refugees, assisting them until being granted the chance to continue his studies – impossible for him to do so in Turkey, he would not have been able to resume his education had it not been for the StAR programme.
“Arrested for the second time in 2010 and forced into exile in May 2014, I cannot return to Swaziland. It will not be safe for either me or my family as I would go straight to prison. I am however more determined to continue the Swazi-struggle regardless of where I am. I have suffered at the hands of the regime. I have seen it all, from beatings to torture, to arrests, detentions and exile. For me there is no turning back. It were especially my years at university, from 2002 to 2006, that raised my political consciousness. I started to understand why the state was using its armed police to break up student and workers marches, simply for demanding a better livelihood. I however soon realised that the problems that we were facing as students were linked to a broader national question in Swaziland. A question about the royal dictatorship, the lack of democracy and the lack of respect for human rights. Since 1973, Swaziland has been an absolute monarchy. The king’s word is law, all political parties are banned and the king has personally rejected any democratic reforms urged upon him by the international community. Almost 70 per cent of the approximately one million inhabitants live below the poverty line and Swaziland has one of the highest rates of HIV in Africa. My motivation has always been the love for my fellow countrymen and the belief that the course I am pursuing is noble, as it seeks to bring justice, equality and
freedom to an oppressed nation. In 2006, after I graduated from university, I became a member of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) in Swaziland – the biggest opposition movement in the country, which since the Swaziland Terrorism Act in 2008, has been regarded as an act of terrorism. For this reason alone I have been detained and arrested several times. On 16 June 2010 I was arrested and charged with six counts of terrorism, just because I was politically active in PUDEMO. I was beaten and tortured. After almost four years in prison, I was acquitted of all charges and released from prison. There are still political activists in Swaziland both in prison and out on bail where they are strictly observed by the regime. This is not about me, but the people of Swaziland. I will not stop until democracy is achieved. My goal is to one day witness a free, just and democratic Swaziland that respects human rights and where the people can choose their own path. I am grateful to the Norwegian people for this opportunity to come and further my studies - an opportunity I cannot get at home. The regime does not invest in education for the youth and a lot of other activists have been denied the right to education through expulsion and withdrawal of government scholarships. I believe that such a programme continues to assist young people who are determined to change the fortunes of their countries.”
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
A Changing Nature
Non-Formal Education as an Equal Partner of Lifelong Learning Education is the key to the development of open-minded, critical and self-determined societies. The process of gaining skills, knowledge and new competences does not end with the receipt of certificates or diplomas in formal education. It is a daily and lifelong process. Bearing this in mind, educational concepts should award special attention to a form of learning which has been underestimated for quite a long time: non-formal education. According to the glossary of the European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy, non-formal learning is “purposive but voluntary learning that takes place in a diverse range of environments and situations for which teaching/training and learning is not necessarily their sole or main activity.” The concept could also be summarised in one short sentence: learning by doing. This way of learning can have a huge impact in the youth field because it provides learning opportunities sui generis for young people. It suits the needs and interests of youngsters and affects a number of other sectors such as economics, politics and society. Participants in non-formal educational activities can train communication, mathematical and scientific competences, as well as digital skills or social and civic competences. Particularly on the European level, nonformal activities provide an intercultural learning dimension which supports the dialogue between people and nations enormously. Through the policy of the Council of Europe and European Commission, the acknowledgement of non-formal education has magnificently changed. Since 1998, non-formal education is a priority working area in the Council of Europe’s youth field. In 2011, the Council of Europe and the European Commission released the new joint working paper “Pathways 2.0” which put forth a new strategy for an improved formal, social and political recognition of non-formal learning. Further to this, the Agenda 2020 produced by the Conference of Ministers highlights that the recognition of non-formal education and learning constitutes a strong contribution to young people’s access to education, training and working life. Although these efforts and achievements a comparable quality and recognition standard on both, a national or European level is not reached yet. This aim is however a quite challenging one, since the risk to excessively formalise this aspect of education and thereby lose the diversity of tools, methods, approaches and priorities provided by this type of learning persists. In order to find the suitable balance between respecting the diversity
of educational approaches while establishing an adequate recognition system, it is necessary to stimulate communication and cooperation between the different stakeholders from the formal educational, political, economic and social fields. This dialogue, which should be accompanied by scientific research, must focus on three elements: first of all, the development of efficient learning concepts, combining formal, informal and non-formal elements must be prioritised. Secondly, political strategies should be revised and modified in accordance with existing good practice. And thirdly, a permanent exchange between the education system, the labour market and the youth sector must be established. Within this framework, special attention should be granted to the actors who are already operating in the non-formal education sector, such as youth organisations, trainers and volunteers. Nevertheless, this dialogue should not only take place behind closed doors, but must be made open and visible to everyone. On the European level, this goal could be achieved through a European Youth Summit organised by the Council of Europe and the European Commission. The aim of such an event would be to gather relevant actors and provide new impulses. In the run-up to the summit, an open online-platform could be launched in order to stimulate the discussion. Everyone could be invited to make proposals, debate existing practice and strategies – or indeed vote on such. The outcome of such online discussions may in turn be used as submissions for workshops, working groups and keynote speeches during the summit itself. Through the combination of online tools and traditional elements, a wide field of participants and interests of all areas from civil society, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders from a national, European and international level could be efficiently reached. Media coverage of such a largescale event could furthermore serve as an interesting platform to provide a dynamic communication and a tool to acquire new impulses for a joint political strategy.
Nevertheless, education is primarily the preserve of the individual nation-states. Therefore, it is axiomatic to ensure that any European strategy is put into effect on a national level. In doing so, the relevant states have to improve their own educational strategies. State education bodies, universities and private enterprises should build stronger ties on a local, regional and national level to make an optimal use of the volunteering capabilities of all educational institutions and their partners. Efforts should also be made to encourage long-term partnerships between educational institutions, business and NGOs, as well as to strengthen the visibility of existing good practice within the voluntary sector. Traditional state reports and scientific analyses are suitable tools to monitor the progress in each individual country. In times of increasing globalisation and digitalisation, educational strategies cannot only be made by nation-states or regional entities. It is important to recognise education as a joint task and to implement concrete steps on all levels while acknowledging non-traditional forms such as non-formal learning as an equal partner in the process of lifelong learning. The education sector plays a significant role in our lives and must in turn be granted the necessary attention. It is an investment in our future.
EDS Executive Bureau 2015/2016
Georgios Chatzigeorgiou is Chairman of EDS. He studied Law at the University of Lancaster in the UK and he became a Barrister-at-Law in October 2014. Georgios is currently undertaking a Master’s degree on Corporate Law at University College London (UCL). Within EDS, Georgios is responsible for policy development and external representation.
Ivan Burazin is EDS Secretary General. He holds a Masters degree in National Securities Studies and a Bachelors degree in Administrative Law. He is currently pursuing PHD studies in Diplomacy and International Relations in Zagreb. Ivan runs the EDS Office in Brussels, and takes care of its day-to-day work.
Virgilio Falco lives in Rome, Italy. Virgilio is EDS ViceChairman, StudiCentro National Spokesperson and coordinator of the education committee of the Italian Youth Council. He is studying Law in Rome. Virgilio is responsible for updating the website, the coordination of the newsletter and all membership enquiries. He is also a member of the Social Media Team.
Efthymia Katsouri comes from Athens, Greece. She studied Law at the University of Surrey in the UK. She holds a Masters in European Law. Efthymia is a practising Attorney at Law in Greece. Her responsibilities within the Bureau involve amendments to the statutes and the coordination of the newsletter.
Mitya Atanasov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. He graduated in Information Technologies and is currently studying for a Masters’ degree in Political Science – European Governance. A member of MGERB’s leadership team, he is also working as a manager for an IT company. Within the Bureau, Mitya is together with Olivia Andersson responsible for the conference resolutions and the Permanent Working Group Policies for Europe.
Silvie Rohr lives in Berlin, Germany. She is studying for a state exam in law at the Humboldt-University. Silvie has been an active member of EDS since 2012 and is serving her first term as EDS Vice-Chairwoman. Within the Bureau, she is mainly responsible for fundraising and publications, coordinating and overseeing the work of the EDS Editorial Team.
George Serban was born in Bucharest, Romania where he is studying Computer and Science at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics of the University of Bucharest. George is responsible within the EDS Bureau for fundraising, with a particular focus on the private sector. He is also the head of the Social Media team.
Sophia Skoda lives in Vienna, Austria where she is studying International Business Administration at the University of Vienna. She has been active member of AG and the Austrian Students Union since 2013. As Vice-Chairman, Sophia is mainly in charge of the Permanent Working Group Higher Education and Research, EDS Erasmus and the Alumni Club.
Alexander O’Brien lives in London and works in corporate governance. He read Law at the University of Nottingham and has a Master’s in Law & Corporate Governance from the University of Portsmouth. He is Chairman of the Young Conservative Europe Group and leads EDS’s proofreading team. He has been an active member of EDS since 2012.
Olivia Andersson is undertaking her MSc in European Studies at the University of Gothenburg. She is a student of Stockholm Free World Forum’s Foreign Policy Academy and International Secretary of FMSF. Olivia’s responsibilities within the Bureau are the drafting of policy papers and conference resolutions, the Human Rights Permanent Working Group, and fundraising.
epp european peopleâ€™s party