This blog is syndicated at the JEF-related online magazine Taurillon, and from time to time some interesting articles appear there. Today I happened to come across Paolo Vacca’s appeal for a Core Europe. For anyone who has ever been to a JEF or UEF event, such an appeal from Paolo is nothing new, with the exception perhaps that the 6 founding member states are not mentioned in that article. What is different today is the political situation that the European Union has to face – after no votes in the French and Dutch referendums, what is the next step for the EU?
Mainstream opinion within the federalist organisations is to call for a EU wide consultative referendum to approve the European Constitution in the same form as was rejected by France and Netherlands. There’s a slick website for the campaign (note: I didn’t design it), and there’s more about the launch here, but the politics behind it is so weak that only 700 or so people have signed. Campaigning for direct democracy is not something that is – in my mind – something that is in any way a core component of a Federal Europe.
So in that context, Paolo’s calls for a core Europe look reasonably appealing – on paper at least. If 27 can’t work out what to do, then a smaller number of states might manage. However, the everyday political reality is very different. Leaders that support such a plan are few and far between, and the only leader who might countenance it (Guy Verhofstadt) is on his way out – more on that from Taurillon here. Then there are the questions about what political areas a core group could work on, and how the institutions might be able to be organised. But with the precedent being set by Commissioner Laszlo Kovacs on corporate taxes, there are maybe some grounds for hope. In any case, the idea of actually looking at institutional and political questions on the basis of federalist ideology is a lot more interesting than pottering around talking abour direct democracy.