EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE

Chapter 3: The Battle for Europe

13. The Question of Peace
The key point of the federalist movement, right from the beginning, was peace. It is completely to its credit that it immediately put this question at the centre of its concerns and that it recommended, and gave the example of, reconciliation among the countries of Europe, even before the end of the Second World War. The federalist plan suggested that all interstate relations should be subservient to the pre-eminence of law. In this respect nothing is more reasonable or sustainable. The problem arises when it comes to procedures. It appears that a world federation is unrealisable without intermediate stages, although some embry­onic juridi­cal structures within the United Nations and other organisations on a world scale had been beginning to develop for some years. The great majority of federalists therefore accepted the idea of concentrating on this intermediate stage established by the European Federation.
This said, from 1945 the problem of peace in Europe was essentially conditioned by the Cold War, and building Europe soon became a means of organising the defence against the East. That, which was given, and certainly very important, quickly became a fundamental element of federalist activity. For this reason, Stalin’s death coincided with the end of the most fruitful period of the movements’ activities, given also the failure of the European Defence Community and the attached political Community plan. Moreover, it became increas­ingly clear that in our days one must not limit oneself to the idea of opposing war between States but that it is also necessary to face the problem of war within them. This dramatically highlights the urgent problem of interdependence and globalisation.
I insist that the future of politics lies in exploring all the paths that lead to federalism. Democracy and Federalism must in time become increasingly synonymous, in order that with the ful­l compliance of every being on earth, the most may be made of the great plan for building a true civilisation. Something that humans have so far been unable to do. Hope, however, looks to the horizon.

14. Debates on Development
A third reflection on Europe and its economic development. From 1945 the main reason put forward by Federalists for the unification of Europe was this: “If Europe refuses to become federal it will head straight to poverty”. At that time this sentence appeared legiti­mate, taking account of the destruction caused by the war and of the efficacy of the first institution obtained by the Americans, the OEEC (Organisation for European Economic Co-operation later to become the OECD), through which Marshall Plan aid was apportioned for the economic rebuilding of Europe.
However this economic affirmation made by the federalists proved to be too imprecise, not to say false. Actually it was then the beginning of the most important period of expansion that Europe had ever known, and this continued during the whole of the following quarter of a century. The creation of some tools and institutions (IMF, GATT, the World Bank and others) was enough to guarantee good economic and financial stability, to avoid the disasters that followed the First World War. Thus it was that the enormous productive potential accumulated thanks to new technologies which brought about a powerful economic development, as vast and unique in history as the building of the pyramids. On the other hand this had not been expected by economists, nor by those in charge nor the intellectuals of any side. The process of European integration did play an essentially psychological role, however the reasons for this success are to be found elsewhere and I will deal with them in another chapter.
There would have been therefore a latent contradiction between the federalists who supported European integration for economic development and the reality of a phenomenon that went far beyond that. As a result the federalists were unable to build a steady and credible dialogue on economic matters.
It is also useful to remember that the Common Market was not the most important engine behind this economic growth, although it became to some extent its symbol. Actually the European Economic Community caught a train already on the move without having done much to get the engine moving. From this followed an effect of autosuggestion that manifested itself at the time of the negotiations for the entry of Great Britain into the Common Market. That country, then in a stagnant economic phase had too quickly drawn a parallel between growth of 5 and 6% and membership of the Community. And England entered Europe more or less at the moment when the great growth was slowing down.
Despite this the Brussels Community continued to develop thanks to something that was becoming increasingly clearer: the political necessity of the integration process and the indispensable stability of the economy that it provides. Jacques Delors, President of the European Commission, played a fundamental role, despite the irritation shown by Mrs. Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, and by some others.

15. Federalism and Ecology
I met Jacques Delors in Metz in September 1977, at a meeting organised by Edouard Kressmann who came from Bordeaux where he was in charge of an important wine business. There were about thirty people who were at the birth of Ecoropa, the International Environmentalist Movement. I brought with me the experience of the Club of Rome, which by touching a sensitive cultural and social chord in matters relating to economic growth and the environment, had had incredible success in the world. The same month, I had written to Altiero Spinelli: “In all these recent years since I left my work with the EFM I have always thought that if federalism or the movement for Europe had managed to mobilise public opinion, the intellectuals (for and against) and the interest groups (for and against) with the same dissemination and passion as the Club of Rome, the European cause would have made great advances. The EFM and the European movements had good ideas concern­ing the polit­ical institutions, the Club of Rome obtained results shared by all”.
I left Metz in Jacques Delors’ car and it had been arranged that I was to put forward my ideas on the occasion of the meeting of a Club of which he was the driving force. Shortly afterward Francois Mitterrand became President of the Republic and Delors began his battle in Brussels and so my meeting could not take place.
On 5th November in Brussels, during the Congress of the European Union of Federalists I again tried to put forward a synthesis between the federalist battle and that for environment and ecology.
Here is a part of my speech:
“I bring here the account of the European Centre of Culture and Europe which has de­­clared its intention to devise and put forward an ecological programme on the occasion of the European Parliamentary elections. Ecoropa will support those candidates committed to defending these proposals. Today, in fact, the fundamental problem for the European elections is to prevent them from taking place amid indifference. To do this a stimulating content must be found, and we must seek to carry out the debates on the level of this vast rising federalist movement that is developing today among all those concerned about:
assessing the aims of economic growth;
organising a modern society on a human scale in a post-industrial and world perspective;
organising our lifestyle in accordance with ecological equilibrium;
Actually the ecologist movement does not merely represent a short term fact.
After 230 years of history dominated by the pre-eminence of industrial development other new elements intervene to ensure wellbeing.
The industrial age, together with all its benefits, also generated an increase in economic and social vulnerability plus growing costs to keep it under control.
Europe must not forget the fact that in 2000 the globe will be inhabited by more than 6 billion men and women, and that the non-industrialised world also wants to share in the riches of the plane.”
It must be remembered that in 1977 the ecology debate was still very often badly looked down upon and considered by many to be destabilising and dangerous. Today everyone talks about “sustainable development”, a formula that takes into account the needs born in the 1970s. The language on the environment is now in everyday use and the concerns that it expresses are fairly widely shared. At the time of that Congress in 1977, we were still in the pioneering phase, the one I prefer. If exaggerations do exist, they are merely excesses of hope.
The federalists of that time did not want to be open to what I was suggesting to them. There was a perceptible irritation, so much so that the president Etienne Hirsch cut me short. And so it was the last time that I participated in an official federalist meeting.
Even more painful was the fact that Altiero Spinelli had spoken in support of his thesis on the necessity of concentrating on stimulating the federalist potential of the European Communities. Some whistles were heard (it was too far “left”).


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10