Four urgent questions in need of clear answers
After 50 years of European integration the citizens of Europe face a triple crisis, a crisis of identity, a crisis of purpose and a crisis of means.
Today the Citizens of Europe ask persistently these questions: Who are we?, where are we heading? How will we get out of the current crisis? What means should we use to escape this stalemate?
Liberal Alliance believes that all the political parties should provide answers to these questions, particularly during the campaign for European Elections, and submits this manifesto to the voters, thus contributing to this crucial debate.
Who are we?
- The values of the Enlightenment is the basis for our common European identity
The 'European Community' identity was nearly clarified during the decades of Cold War, during a period where the European Community member states were democracies as opposed to the totalitarian regimes of Eastern Europe of the time.
But the collapse of communism and the successive enlargements that included the previous Eastern block countries, and the commencement of entry negotiations with Turkey, placed the current European institutional framework in question. They also raised the question of the limits that European Union can be extended to.
Liberal Alliance considers that this identity crisis, presents an opportunity to return to the values that founded the liberal western societies, the values of Enlightenment, of democracy, of the rule of law, of the human rights protection and a free market economy.
This European identity puts foremost the freedom of the citizen to enjoy inalienable rights (life, property, the pursuit of happiness) and his or hers rights to freedoms (of conscience, of opinion of expression and self-determination), that are limited only by personal responsibility. A European identity can not but rely on Humanism, this fundamental value of Enlightenment that demands respect of human dignity, tolerance and acceptance of different ways of life (of languages, of civilisations, religions and nationalities) within a broader society.
For Liberal Alliance these values shape our common European identity that has been the drive of the impressive progress of liberal western societies.
Where are we heading? How can we move past the current crisis?
- Our common European vision of economic growth, the entrenchment of freedom, of the rule of Law in Europe and the world
- Reform Now!
More and more citizens face the European Union, with disappointment and disbelief as its purpose and aims become less and less apparent and understood.
The political leadership of the member states, bear the responsibility for this current state of affairs as they do not explain in public the decisions that together agree to in Brussels. Instead they appear in their domestic audiences surprised about these very same decisions siding with the populist opposition to European Union.
For Liberal Alliance, we, the people of Europe want to live harmoniously, preserving our identity, our common principals and our route to prosperity.
However this preservation of our identity, principals and prosperity should not be taken for granted as new challenges place them in constant danger.
In particular, today we see two new phenomena: On the one side large parts of the world are escaping poverty and previously developing states take a more prominent role in the world stage, and on the other the re-emergence of ideologies that encourage new forms of totalitarianism, of protectionism and xenophobia.
European Union faces these conditions fractured and politically weak.
During a severe international economic crisis, European leaders appear to be interested only for their narrow national interest or, worse, for their re-election whilst nine years before these same leaders were agreeing to the Lisbon agenda, the implementation of which would make the European Union by 2010: 'the most dynamic and competitive, knowledge economy with the most and better jobs and social care system in the world'.
It is more than obvious that even if these aims where partially achieved, Europe would be better prepared to face the current economic crisis. Unfortunately since 2005, European Leaders confessed their inability to face the structural problems of Europe and progress towards the targets they themselves have set.
Today European leaders have no common policy and disparately move towards the wrong direction, as for the first time in decades, economic protectionism muttered in European countries threaten to reverse the progress of free trade the last 50 years.
Liberal Alliance contents that the current crisis brings to light and exacerbates the structural problems of European Union, each of its member states. It is time for European leaders to face the current political and economic challenges by redirecting their policies from the ineffective subsidies (e.g. CAP) to policies encouraging growth and freeing up the internal market, fighting monopolies, regulating the financial sector, protecting human rights, fighting corruption and crime and the advancement of a more coherent foreign and defense structures.
It is also time for the European leaders to understand that the crisis may challenge and even destroy the monetary union if this is not complemented by a political union of Europe. This imbalance will lead to the collapse of both the European integration and the monetary union as they will keep on undermining each other.
Liberal Alliance proposes a Federal Europe, the political integration of Europe through a European constitution, which will found the United Countries of Europe and will remodel the current European institutions to a new federal system
What means should we use to move away from the stalemate?
-We need the United Countries of Europe and re-orientation of European policy
Today, the institutions of the European Union have reached their limit in terms of effectiveness and democratic accountability. The European citizens consider them distant, bureaucratic and undemocratic whereas the national governments crave for the powers they had to hand over to the European institutions.
The Lisbon Treaty, successor to the not so innovative treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam, and Nice, details the modernisation of the European Union through clarity, efficiency, and democratic safeguards. Still the Lisbon treaty does not reform the current institutional framework, and does not resolve the conflict of European and national powers. The Lisbon treaty although a step in the right direction for the European integration, deals with only part of the problems and provides inadequate solutions.
Liberal Alliance considers that the common European identity and the common European vision as stated in this manifesto, can be best served through a politically integrated Europe, a Federal Europe by the United Countries of Europe that will adjust the current institutions to a federal system.
Liberal Alliance submits these proposals for the public debate :
-All current Treaties should be replaced by a simple and clear Constitution, protecting the fundamental rights of European citizens, and establishing Institutions with clearly defined powers in the European (federal), national (state), and regional level. A federal Europe will mean 'less government' as it will strengthen the democratic institutions in the national and regional level whilst the federal institutions will act only when this action provides clear benefits.
- The European Parliament should be replaced by a bicameral legislative congress: The European parliament of representatives and a European Senate, which will be granted extended duties and authority.
- The European Council should be abolished and the European Commission should be transformed to a European (federal) civil service and each commission department to a federal department .
- The creation of the office of the President of European Union elected by the European Parliament who will appoint the Secretaries of Federal Departments
-The remodeling of the European Court and the European Court of Auditors and the European Central Bank to Federal Institutions.
-The remodeling of the Europol to a Federal Police force, for the fighting of interstate crime and the creation of a single European Army for the defense of the outer borders of the federal Europe.
-The reorientation of the European policies from the counterproductive subsidising (e.g. CAP) to policies of growth, of fighting monopolies and oligopolies, freeing up the internal market, promoting competition, regulating the financial sector, fighting corruption and crime, protecting the fundamental human rights and advancing more coherent foreign and defense policy.