While waiting for the Conference on the future of Europe in May, civil society, along with several municipalities and pro-European associations, met on 15 February in the Tuscan city of Scandicci. They are mobilising for the European Republic, based on the equal rights of European citizens.
In advance of the Conference for the future of Europe beginning on 9 May, civil society, several local administrations and pro-European organisations have decided to mobilise around a clearly defined objective: the European Republic, based on the equal rights of citizens.
Convinced that there is already a European demos, and that if the EU does not change it risks sinking into irrelevance or even collapse, the promoters of the initiative “ONEurope, Same Rights, One Republic” want to complete the project of the founding fathers by building a strong, democratic and federal union. Led by Acmos, EuropaNow!, European Democracy Lab and Fondazione Benvenuti in Italia, together with the municipalities of Scandicci and Ventotene, and with the active support of VoxEurop, the initiative is fighting for a Union where citizens have equal rights, be they political (the right to choose a European government), civil, economic (a harmonised tax system, especially), social, cultural or environmental.
The ultimate goal is building a European Republic that would provide for equality and solidarity between citizens, and the defence of public goods. It will be based on the founding values of the EU, rooted in the memory of the 20th century and the logic of history: when citizens share the same political and civilisational pact, they must have equal rights.
The “ONEurope, Same rights, One Republic” campaign was launched on 15 February in Scandicci, near Florence, with a public meeting attended by mayors, politicians, and civil society representatives. For the occasion, the municipalities that have joined the initiative declared themselves a “City for the European Republic”, signalling their commitment by posting signs at their municipal borders.
Ventotene, the island where Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni wrote the “Manifesto for a free and united Europe” in 1941, has already approved the motion for the initiative. The same goes for Scandicci: “We will be among the first municipalities to take the side of the Republic of Europe,” explained the mayor, Sandro Fallani. “The constitutive process of a Europe of rights, which is a true identity for its citizens, can only arise from local communities, can only originate from a common feeling. Even before the launch of the campaign, the city councils of Chieri, Nichelino and Verbania had already begun participating in the campaign that will soon extend throughout the EU.”
A civic petition to the European Parliament was launched in Scandicci on 15 February to open a new constituent phase as soon as possible, with the aim of transforming the Union into a federal and democratic Republic of Europe. According to Davide Mattiello, president of Fondazione Benvenuti in Italia, “if the European Union does not change, it will die: all the internal inequalities, the potential for unfair competition between member states, the continual erosion of rule of law by certain nations, the general impotence in the face of climate change, undermine its very foundations. Only by making the EU a federal Republic founded on equal rights and duties will we be able to live in peace and well-being, and avoid collapse”.
The ONEurope. Same Rights, One Republic campaign is guided by two actions:
A petition promoted by citizens and addressed to the European Parliament, expressing the urgent need to open a constituent phase through a resolution, aiming for the transformation of the European Union into a Republic of Europe: united, federal, democratic, able to guarantee equal rights (political, economic, social, fiscal, cultural…) to all citizens. With the imminent launch of the Conference on the future of the European Union, where the institutional framework will be at issue, now is exactly the time for such demands.
The symbolic adhesion of individual municipalities to the Republic of Europe, by means of road signs placed on their territorial borders bearing the words “City for the Republic of Europe”. All European municipalities interested in participating in the initiative can download a version of the motion prepared by the promoters from www.onedemos.eu, which was launched on 15 February.
“It would never have been possible to build and develop the European Union without the tireless work and commitment of enthusiastic and determined citizens who pursued and achieved a common vision”, said European Parliament President David Sassoli, granting the campaign the High Patronage of the Parliament. “I firmly believe in the need to focus on this vision”, concludes Sassoli, “especially in an era when populism and divisions seem to make headlines every day. I think this is an important event: the European Union must not be taken for granted.”