Europe beyond the Member States

Raül Romeva's picture
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Spaces to decide and to incite

Seen with Catalan glasses, the European construction is necessary but, as presently conceived, clearly insufficient. The European Union’s motto is “United in diversity”, a beautiful motto that, in general, universal terms, I share. However, when it is applied to the present European Union, I see it as incomplete, at a minimum. Taking the current Euro-reality into account, the motto “United in the diversity of the States” would be much more convenient. And this is, in my opinion, THE problem: the current States are, unfortunately, the main reason for European paralysis.

The vision we have of the European Union, from a country without its own State, such as Catalonia, is certainly very different from the vision from European capitals such as Madrid, London, Paris, Rome or Stockholm, to mention some of the big players, with a clear centralist will.

Luckily, there are real alternatives; alternatives that are at the same time social, economic, cultural, linguistic, national, historical, communicational, infrastructural, environmental, competence-related, etc… However, these alternatives are conditioned by two premises that are intrinsically linked: 1) Giving the European Union the legislative, budgetary, and political capacity that the current situation requires. A capacity ruled, on all these fronts, by a bicameral Parliament  –not like the system we have at present, where the European Parliament and the Council, i.e. the State Governments, share legislative competences– and with a European Executive, appointed by this Parliament; and 2) Decentralising the current Nation-States, most of them artificial, so that the European Union’s political-administrative management is decided by national realities –which do not have to coincide with the state’s.

Three examples, among many others, perfectly illustrate this change of direction scenario: a) Contrary to the centralist vision the Spanish Government proves to have in relation to the High-Speed Rail network, for instance, much more rational criteria should be imposed, in territorial, socio-economic and environmental terms, which will push for alternatives, such as a very necessary Mediterranean rail corridor; b) Secondly, regarding the cultural and linguistic dimension, one reminder is necessary. A Europe that underestimates, when it does not despise, languages and cultures, simply because they are those of an entire State, becomes an unfriendly Europe and it generates a Euro-frustration that is not at all beneficial to the European project; and c) Finally, regarding the management of primary resources (agriculture and fishing), socio-economically speaking, but also in environmental terms, it seems much more rational to structure the management of these resources to realities that do not necessarily have to correspond to those determined by current states.

In other words, and to cite the example of Catalonia (or even better, of the Catalan-speaking countries), what some of us are demanding is an EU where we are able to decide and incite. Decide and incite with our own voice and without interferences, which are unnecessary and, often, contrary to socio-economic sense, not to mention common sense.


Raül Romeva i Rueda

Member of the European Parliament (ICV)

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The vision as described above is not only a Catalan one. Where I live, in Flanders (which is for those who don't know the northern, dutch speaking part of Belgium) we have the same concern. More ever, nationalist politicians of Vlaams Belang have stated the nearly exact vision on how the EU should evolve. The first step could be to evolve from nation states to decentralised states but better yet would it be that Europes diversity becomes a reality. Nations without state like the Catalan countries or Flanders would then be able to speak for themselves and eventually the unnatural centralised states would dissolve and be replace by true nations. The chance that this evolution will take place is very unlikely, because it would demand a complete change of the structure of the union by which a lot of politicians would lose to much of their power. However, this may not stop us nationalist politicians from working together. Better even: we should forget our differences, our different visions on society (left - right - conservative - progressive - etc) and unite to reach independent nations for our people in which their democratic rights will far better be defended.