In Memoriam: 20 years of the European Constitutional Treaty: For a Europe beyond the EU
By: ULRIKE GUÉROT and HAUKE RITZ
“10 Mehr” Editor’s Note: This statement was published on September 14, 2023 in several popular languages by two of the active figures of European peace and independence movement, Ulrlike Guérot, a former professor of European politics at the University of Bonn, Germany, and Hauke Ritz, a researcher of foreign policy in the field of conflicts between the East and the West. Given the pro-independent and anti-imperialist spirit of this statement, and its opposition to the continuation of the war in Ukraine and the further arming of this country and blind adherence of the European Union to the United States, and its call for a peaceful coexistence with the Russian Federation, we are publishing this statement with the authors’ permission.
20 years of the European Constitutional Treaty: For a Europe beyond the EU
With this memorandum we commemorate the draft European Constitution that was presented exactly twenty years ago, in July 2003, solemnly adopted by the European heads of state and government in October 2004, but never implemented
As a result, the EU has failed to deliver on the promise of a democratic political Union Europe as well as a European citizenship, and has ultimately displaced it. With this public statement, we would like to bring the question of a democratic constitution of Europe and thus that of European sovereignty back to the centre of the European discussion. As October 2024 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the later failed European Constitution, we hereby offer this text in the run-up to the anniversary as a starting point for a broad discussion on the future of Europe!
Europe at a crossroads
The world is facing a dramatic geo-economic and geo-strategic upheaval. The former West has lost its radiance, the global hegemony of the USA is breaking down and a multipolar world is taking shape. In this transition period, the future of Europe in particular is uncertain. For as a merely technocratic structure, the EU has helped to undermine democracy in European countries, which is why millions of European citizens are now turning away from the idea of a united Europe. However, a disintegration of the Union would not be a way out; it would merely be the last act of a long process of self-destructive European politics.
In the interest of its own self-preservation, Europe must respond to this moment in world history. In order to prevent a disintegration of the European Union, an emancipatory act is needed that is tantamount to a core institutional renovation: the European Union, which has so far been a purely contractual union and has no living identity, must actually become European. It must free itself from the unilateral transatlantic grip, bind itself to its own citizens and seek cooperation with all other states and powers in equidistance. Above all, however, it must reflect on its own intellectual, political, social and economic traditions in order to use them to shape a just and peaceful world in the 21st century.
In the run-up to the European elections of June 2024, Europe is in danger of being divided between the defenders of a technocratic, citizen-distant, and even corrupt EU and the advocates of a return to the nation state. There is an acute danger that the debate about a different Europe, which has been going on for years, will turn into a debate about no Europe. Conventional reform approaches, however, can no longer solve the structural crisis of European democracy.
Instead, what is needed is an updating of Europe’s former ambition, which was constituted a good 70 years ago against the backdrop of two world wars as a peace project and which set out to overcome the national lines of conflict and to establish Europe as a political, democratic, social and decentralised entity.
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