Analysis: What would a federal Europe look like?

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

In her book-project Florina-Laura Neculai, PhD student at the Catholic University of Leuven, explains European federalism in easily comprehensible terms. The project was supported by the Union of European Federalists (UEF) and is available in 14 languages.  

Preface by Dr. Friedhelm Frischenschlager, Secretary-General of the Union of European Federalists: 

The literature on federalism has now a short, simple and explicit text. A young author is trying to give an answer to the question: “What Would a Federal Europe Look Like?” to the young audience. 

Conducting three fictional interviews with characters that are more or less taken from the European political reality, the author gives a note of originality and dynamism to the literature on European federalism. The author explains what federalism is all about with a very practical approach: the fictional interviews, conducted by a young team of a reporter and a cameraman working for the European Television for Youth, reveal that European federalism has deep roots in history and describe its evolution in time. The book gives precise examples of European policies such as education, employment, health and consumer protection, and tries to explain what would change if Europe were a federal state; and it also shows the strengths a federal European Union would have on the international scene. Furthermore, it gives good arguments for the many advantages of a federal European Union and still leaves it up to the young public whether or not they personally approve of this model or not. 

Such initiatives coming from the young generation are more than welcome! Young people should be encouraged to get involved more actively in explaining the complex European issues and particularly the benefits of a federal European Union to the citizens. The federalist vision of a European Union needs to be explained in such a manner that the “man on the street” understands it. This is the main aim of this book and it fulfils this aim. But such an initiative should definitely go hand in hand with more political action.The European Union is currently in a crisis as quite a number of European citizens have lost faith in the capability of the EU to solve the most pressing problems they face today, such as unemployment for example. European citizens need to be better informed about European politics and they should be involved to a greater extent. The constitutional debate should continue and actively involve all citizens. All pro-Europeans and all that have voted in favour of a European Constitution – and the majority of the member states and of the EU’s population have done so – should jointly fight for a European Constitution.

The “reflection period” does not require silence, but more action. For the European project to go on, a synergy of action is necessary. The initiative of the European Commission to improve its communication with the citizens, the socalled “Plan D” (D for democracy, dialogue and debate) can only be a success if the citizens of Europe support it. On the other hand, it is difficult to involve citizens in such a complex process as European affairs.

However, through a greater transfer of power to regions and local authorities, citizens might get a better grasp of Europe and participate more actively in articulating the federal vision for Europe. The process towards a federal future of the European Union must involve the young generation. We have to make sure that they understand the many advantages a united Europe offers. As mentioned in its subtitle,  the book “What Would a Federal Europe Look Like?” is a visionary exercise for the young generation, but it can be a very useful source of information and inspiration for all that would like to read a short and dynamic and yet informative document on how a federal Europe could look like.

The book-project is available on the website of the Union of European Federalists (UEF) in 













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