Category Archives: EU Constitution

Low expectations for the European Summit, Brussels, 21-22 June 2007

Sherpas are concluding consultations – next steps

The Sherpa consultations of the German chief negotiators Silberberg and Corsepius with their counterparts from the other 26 member states have been concluded last week. Now, they are preparing a draft paper for the European Council. To some extent surprisingly is that the paper for the summit will already include a very detailed overview of concrete decisions with a long(er) list of “non-negotiables”, i.e. agreed issues based on the Constitutional Treaty, and “issues for decision” with (two) concrete and well-formulated alternatives on which the leaders need to agree on the summit. A last Sherpa meeting on the 19 June will pre-discuss the conclusions of the summit. In practice the German presidency actually wants to decide on all unresolved political-institutional issues during the summit, while only leaving the legal formulations to a very short IGC (July-October). This IGC is so soon to be opened with the European Parliament already giving its opinion (formally required under article art. 48 EU Treaty) in the middle of July, a Commission statement on 10 July and a finalised Treaty during the Portugese Presidency. Ratification shall already be concluded during the following Slovene presidency, i.e. until summer 2008.

The Sherpa method has been the least democratic exercise since the EU’s existence

Even though many actors had strong hopes in the German presidency solving the constitutional still-stand, Chancellor Merkel and all her environment were very careful to point out that all they wanted to do, was to present a road-map. This has also been the mandate given to them – and the basis for the reports of the European Parliament – and national parliaments. The big surprise of the German presidency now is that they will present a very detailed solution to all institutional questions at the June summit already Continue reading

JEF PR: JEF-Europe sends 6-point open demand letter to Merkel and European leaders

JEF-Europe Press Release – 13.06.2007 – for immediate release

Young people expect more from Europe: Today the Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) are sending a demand letter to Chancellor Merkel, all European governments, the Commission President, the European Parliament President and the sherpas (those known) to ask them not to castrate the European Constitution. On 16 June, their demands will be backed up by a pan-European action in support of a European referendum.

JEF Europe’s president, Jan Seifert, firmly rejected the idea of a mini-compromise. “If anything in the Constitution must be changed, then it is that we need supplementary articles creating closer integration to solve pressing challenges like immigration, energy security and climate change.” Continue reading

JEF PR: European Parliament: Roadmapping without a compass

JEF Press Release, 9.6.2007 – for immidiate release

As the European Parliament debates the Report on the roadmap for the Union’s Constitutional Process this afternoon, the Young European Federalists point out the shortcomings of the EP’s standpoint. JEF Europe expects the parliamentary representatives of the European citizens to live up to their mission in a more responsible way than with this tame resolution almost 6 month late.

“We are truly disappointed by the report. Not only because a document like this should have been adopted before the German presidency to actually influence the Sherpa negotiations, but also because it clearly lacks a concrete direction and fails to tackle crucial points.” Jan Seifert, President of JEF Europe, opened his Continue reading

JEF PR: Sarkozy should remember that big is better when talking about Turkey and the Constitution

JEF Press Release, 23.5.2007 – for immidiate release

Sarkozy should remember that big is better when talking about Turkey and the Constitution, Young European Federalists say

“Europe is about peace and integration, not about conflict and exclusion. Turkish kebab is a part of Europe – as much as French cheese. – Young Europeans from all over the continent expect more from Sarkozy than cultural segregation.” commented Jan Seifert, President of Young European Federalists (JEF) at today’s inauguration visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Brussels.

“Nicolas Sarkozy receiveda lukewarm welcome in Brussels. Even though his affirmation that France is back in Europe gives us hope for the future, his standing on Turkish EU accession provokes some worries. After having included opposite political opinions in his national government, he should not start excluding European partners from co-operation. We welcome his proposals for the creation of a Mediterranean Union. But this has to build on the Barcelona process. A Mediterranean Union will not emerge if Sarkozy starts building new walls on the Bosporus. The accession talks with Turkey have to be continued.” demanded Seifert.

“Sarkozy’s Brussels visit is also a lukewarm welcome for his little ambitious ‘mini-treaty’. Continue reading

JEF beams The Daily European from 2057

Daily European cover bigEuropean century or European decline? Read JEF’s “The Daily European” from 2057!

Today, the Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) present The Daily European to the members of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) and to European media. The Daily European newspaper has been beamed to Brussels from the year 2057. Ironically, there are two versions of the newspaper: one from a disintegrated Europe and the other from a flourishing Europe in 2057. Whichever one of the two versions will be reality in 2057 very much depends on the path chosen in 2007. – Constitutional ambition or European decline?

”Retired JEF activists in 2057 have been invited to look back at Europe in the time around 2007. Their experience Continue reading

Press Release: JEF answers to Merkel’s 12 points-questionnaire

In reply to the letter sent out by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to her 26 European counterparts, the Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) take a stand on 12 questions concerning the future of the Constitution.

In their open reply letter, available on [and here on my website], the Young European Federalists underline both the advantages of the current version of the Constitution and the most urgent needs for further improvement. They strongly urge for the parts I and II of the current text to be upheld in their entirety while including new topic fields, in which the Union has progressed over the past months.

JEF logoJEF Europe’s president, Jan Seifert, commented on their initiative: “We take this questionnaire as an opportunity to speak out symbolically and publicly as an organisation representing 35,000 young political activists who are concerned about their European future. The consultations on the future of the Constitution must be taken out of the closet and into the public thereby involving the interested civil society and parliamentarians. Unfortunately, the German presidency has not yet dared to do so. It is now high time that Chancellor Merkel’s ministries get actively involved in preparing her proposed civil society hearing Continue reading

Offener Brief an Kanzlerin Merkel – 12 Fragen zur Verfassung

Offener Brief
Antworten auf die 12 Fragen zur Zukunft des Verfassungsvertrags

Brüssel, 2007-04-30

Sehr geehrte Frau Bundeskanzlerin,

mit großem Interesse verfolgen wir Ihre Bemühungen zur Wiederbelebung des Verfassungsprozesses und möchten Sie darin ausdrücklich unterstützen. Als größte pro-europäische Jugendorganisation mit 35.000 Mitgliedern in ganz Europa haben wir uns erlaubt, Ihnen unsere Antworten zur Zukunft des Verfassungsvertrags zuzusenden.

Wir würden es begrüßen, wenn die Frage der Verfassung für Europa auch im Rahmen eines zivilgesellschaftlichen Dialogs auf europäischer Ebene diskutiert werden könnte. Über die Einladung zu einem Gespräch würden wir uns sehr freuen. Aber auch das von Ihnen vorgeschlagene Hearing im Europäischen Parlament könnte ein erster Schritt zur strukturierten Einbindung der europäischen Zivilgesellschaft bieten. Wir zählen auf die Unterstützung Ihrer Ministerien zur Ausrichtung dieser Veranstaltung.

Die Antworten der Jungen Europäischen Föderalisten (JEF): Continue reading

Barroso’s mini-summits are as unsustainable as Merkel’s strategy

One of these strange things about German EU policy is the constant creation of unneccessary mistrust. In a letter to fellow EU governments around 20th April Angela Merkel listed 12 questions for the next steps in the debate on the future of the Treaty. After leaks went through the press, her spokespersons apparently denied the existence of a letter. This is what I call confidence-building.
The questions are actually well-chosen and cover most of the contested issues of recent months. However, a public debate would probably score far higher with all those concerned about Europe. Even more it would finally give room to involve parliamentarians who have to vote on the end-result one day. Why is it so difficult for the German top bureaucrats to involve the public for at least one instance during their consultation. Continue reading

EP lacks ambition with saving the Constitution

EP logoThe EP is currently preparing its position on the way forward with the Constitution/IGC. After a lot of good ideas and proposals endorsed in the Duff-Voggenhuber report in January 2006, hardly anything has happened – neither on the report front, nor in concrete action. Maybe it is just too bad that the AFCO key players are close to the two parties of the German government?

Two current issues stroke me as not particularly ambitious:

1. MEPs Carnero and Geremek have proposed to launch an own initiative report on the feasibility of a European-referendum-style citizens consultation to request answers on certain variables to the way ahead with the Constitution Continue reading