European journalists: EU needs political reform

The economic crisis is a chance to relaunch European political integration and bridge the perceived European democratic deficit, the Association of European Journalists said at its 50th international congress last weekend in Italy.

Meeting in Offida, off the Adriatic coast, journalists put the focus on the future of the European dream, often defined like a “building site,” said Italian Council of the European Movement President Pier Virgilio Dastoli.

“We do not know yet what are the works to be undertaken and which construction company we must rely on,” but we should as soon as possible and no later than 2013, he said.

Dastoli recalled Italian President Giorgio Napolitano's speech in Mestre earlier this year on the need of political parties able to think in an European dimension, no longer “fighting for the defence of national interests”.

At the same time, he invited Europeans not to wait for governments initiatives. The “works” have to start next year, so that the 2014 European elections will represent a referendum on the United States of Europe. 

To keep alive the European dream, a political initiative which reinforces the economic reforms is needed, said the vice president of the Italian Senate European Policy Committee, Giacomo Santini.

Marco De Andreis, member of the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank, imagines a reform leading to a “light federation”.

Summarising a proposal developed with Italian Senate Vice President Emma Bonino, De Andreis said that government functions such as defence, diplomacy, border control and management of trans-European infrastructure should be transferred to the European Union.

In this way, Europe would gain advantages from economies of scale as well answer the need for more democratic legitimacy.

With a view to the 2014 election, founder Christophe Leclercq said citizens require from the European institutions, especially the European Parliament, to boost online communication, mainly through social media. It is important to abandon the technicalities, in order to handle the crisis and forge real solutions.