European Free Alliance (EFA) Manifesto
for the June 2004 European elections
Sovereignty, Social Justice, Subsidiarity
Towards a Europe of diversity
May 27, 2004
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The European Free Alliance has been standing up for the rights of
stateless nations, peoples and regions for decades. Democratic legitimacy
makes our cause unstoppable. To fully realise our historic rights
and improve the social well being of our citizens and the economies
of our countries we need to be fully represented in Europe.
The full representation for all peoples at the European level requires
that they be given full respect and equality at the state level in those
EU countries where stateless nations and peoples do not enjoy comparable
status. As far as Greece is concerned, respect and recognition of particular
identities (national, linguistic and cultural) must be given to ethnic
Macedonians, Turks, Vlachs, Arvanites, Pomaks, and Roma, and the rights
of those citizens identifying as such must also be fully respected.
This is absolutely necessary to furthering the country's democratization
and Europeanization process.
The age of the traditional sovereign state is over. But we reject as
its replacement a monolithic EU, with power in the hands of the largest
member states. The challenge now is to achieve an ever broader participation
of all peoples in the political process. Political devolution, leading
to self-government and the recognition of particular identities, is
the natural synthesis for our political struggle.
Decentralization and the devolvement of power to all peoples and regions
in Europe must be a fundamental policy at the national state level.
As far as Greece is concerned, we consider it necessary to introduce
a 3rd tier of Local Administration, which would include the establishment
of regional administrative bodies headed by elected Regional Governors
and Regional Parliaments. These bodies would be empowered to legislate
on matters concerning the particular region and would extend the capabilities
of the 1st tier of Local Administration. We also advocate for economic
self-management at the regional level. These reforms together with other
measures in the same direction will serve to change the centralistic
character of the Athens-centric Greek State as we know it. This change
will enable and encourage all citizens in every region to participate
fully in the political process and in matters involving the regions
where they live. It would also gradually relieve regional dependency
on the centralized power.
In these elections EFA will campaign for our countries to be better
represented in Europe. We work on two fronts. Our representatives are
committed to putting forward progressive policies. We work for improved
social conditions, quality of life, and a fair redistribution of wealth.
We also champion the principle of sustainable development as the vehicle
to deliver improvements in people's quality of life within a clean environment.
Our ideology is in line with people's desire to build a better world
for present and future generations. But our countries' current constitutional
status means that we lack the level of representation that other countries
enjoy in Europe. As a result we risk being left behind when Europe makes
vital decisions that affect all our futures. This is undemocratic and
we are working for reform. This is also why we operate, beyond the state
level, on a national and regional level, fighting for proper representation
for the stateless nations and peoples of Europe at every level of government.
EFA comprises stateless nations and territorial entities with a strong
sense of identity that want a proper voice in Europe. Our member parties
Bloque Nacionalista Galego
Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya
Fryske Nasjonale Partij
Liberta Emiliana-Nazione Emilia
Liga Fronte Veneto
Lithuanian Polish People's Party
Mouvement Region Savoie
Partei der Deutscsprachigen Belgier
Partito Sardo d'Azione
Partitu di a Nazione Corsa
Plaid Cymru-the Party of Wales
Scottish National Part
Silesian Autonomy Movement
Union Democratique Bretonne
Union du Peuple Alsacien
Union fur Sudtirol
Hungarian Federalist Party
Moravian Democratic Party
Partido Nacionalista Vasco,
Partit Socialista de Mallorca i Menorca-
In the 1999-2004 legislature our 9 MEPs have been working hard in the
European Parliament (Scottish, Welsh, Flemish, Basques, Galicians, Catalans
and Andalusians). Through a parliamentary alliance with the Greens we
established a significant presence in parliament.
With your vote we will continue to champion the following critical
issues at the European Parliament:
(a)- EU Institutions should be simplified and democratised in a bicameral
structure: European Parliament (directly elected by the European citizens)
and the Council or Senate (composed of representatives of self-governing
territorial entities). This Senate, the successor of the Council, transformed
into a territorial chamber, would legislate by co-decision with the
EP. The latter would appoint the Commission and would be able to instigate
impeachment proceedings. This structure would facilitate the process
of internal enlargement through self-determination. In the meantime
EFA advocates full participation for our devolved governments in the
Council of Ministers. Our countries should also have access to the Court
(b)- Constitutional Pluralism. The different levels of government,
EU, States, Self-governing Countries, Regions, Cities etc, shall have
different fields of competence with equal co-operation, and without
hierarchy. This would be a network of governance.
(c)- All languages have the right to be recognised at the European
level, with no artificial difference between state languages and other
languages. EFA will strive for the meaningful realisation of European
cultural and linguistic diversity and equality of all European languages.
To this end EFA will work for the establishment of legally binding instruments
and budgets for the promotion, development and normalisation of Europe's
minoritised and stateless languages. Those Member States, such as Greece,
that have not yet done so must see that the competent governmental bodies
sign, ratify and implement all international conventions, such as the
Charter for the Protection of Minority and Regional Languages. This
will contribute subsidiarily towards the recognition of those languages
that do not enjoy legal status.
(d)- Control and management of structural funds to be given to the
devolved authorities. This would help alleviate the gap in the EU between
its developed states and those regions or countries that are less developed.
(e)- Freedom to develop inter-regional and cross-border co-operation
free from the interference of the States. Development of the Euroregions
(European regions that transcend Member State borders)
(f)- Solidarity, equality and the social well being of its citizens
must underpin all EU policies. EFA is committed to social cohesion and
the welfare state and feels it necessary that the EU should establish
minimum social standards.
(g)- Full employment and harmonisation of workers' rights which have
been cut back through the Neo-Liberalism policies.
(h)- Equal rights and an end to discrimination based on ethnic origin,
gender, religion, language, age or sexual orientation.
(i)- A radical switch in the CAP. Big agricultural producers are swallowing
most of the EU budget. EU money should be directed to small producers,
family farms and fishing communities securing vitality and a future
for rural communities. Sustainable agriculture and extensive farming
would flourish, countering the present threats to food quality.
(j)- Support for the polluter pays principle in environmental protection.
With regard to water, the way forward is the rationalisation of its
use while avoiding disrupting the natural flow of this vital resource.
It is time to put an end to nuclear energy. It is dangerous and follows
a centralised pattern of creation and distribution. Investing in renewable
sources will improve our environment and help local economies gain control
over their own resources.
(k)- Support for a common foreign policy for the EU. Security, defence
and diplomacy must come together in a common EU body acting for a multipolar
world united against war and fighting hunger and injustice which are
the main root causes of most conflicts.
(l)- Support for a peacekeeping role for the European Union when conflicts
arise within and outside its borders.
(m)- More transparency and openness in the way the EU conducts its
We have a vision of a harmonious Europe made up of diverse peoples
helping each other in a spirit of co-operation. We want to protect our
rich diversity while taking advantage of what a bigger union has to
offer. The political tool to do this is subsidiarity, bringing decision
making closer to the citizen. We need a fair and flexible distribution
of responsibilities under the banner of shared sovereignty. The way
forward is the construction of an interconnected system where everybody
has a say. We advocate effective, co-operative bilateral relations between
the EU and self governing states and entities with respect for the principle
of self determination.
Our priority is defending the rights of the citizens Europe to determine
their own future and live in a peaceful, democratic and diverse society.
I - Europe of Diversity
(A multicultural Europe of peoples, languages, and identities)
The European Union needs to integrate into its institutional framework
the reality of the territorial entities with political and legislative
powers. To be a state cannot be the only condition for the recognition
of political representation at the European level. The enlargement process,
with more than ten new member states entering the European Union, most
of them small countries, will reinforce this contradiction. If the only
guarantee for political existence at the European level is "statality",
the only possibility given to stateless nations to be recognised at
the European level will be to become an independent state in the framework
of the European Union.
As far as the Balkans are concerned, we consider that the cycle of
ethnic emancipation of the Balkan nations has been completed with the
establishment of corresponding states that, of course, contain national
minorities inside their borders. Within this framework we believe that
national minorities in the Balkan countries should adopt independent
policies when it comes to advocating and promoting their rights. We
have learned a lesson from the former Yugoslavia, where in the recent
past national minorities became the instruments of expansionist ideas
and corresponding political practices, with devastating consequences
for its peoples. Not only must national minorities in the Balkans refuse
to play such roles, but they also should strengthen their bonds of trust
with the entire citizen body of the countries in which they live. They
have the responsibility to reassure the majority that in advocating
for their rights they do not aspire to change national borders, which
must be respected and inviolate. In this way national minorities can
fully participate in the democratic process while setting an example
of stabile, constructive cooperation among states and their peoples.
The European Union has to recognise and put into practice "unity
in diversity", respecting the reality of its different peoples
and, in particular, the stateless nations and regions which have their
own languages, history, economic and social characteristics and political
aspirations. The European Union has to overcome the centralistic and
technocratic mentality and practises of the States that still predominate
in the European political arena.
Broader recognition of the linguistic diversity of the stateless nations
and regions is essential to give full respect to languages other than
official state languages. That would in essence imply the acceptance
by the EU of the different languages that have been officially acknowledged
by the Member States and their internal nations or regions at the same
level as EU languages. EU policies also have to respect the cultural
diversity of TV and radio in the stateless nations.
Member States that do not recognize minority languages must do so officially.
As far as Greece is concerned, the legal recognition of minority languages
(Macedonian-Makedonski, Aroumanian-Armanesti, Arvantica-Arberichte,
Pomacki, as well as Romany languages) must be accompanied by their introduction
in the educational systems of the regions in which they are spoken.
There must also be an upgrading of Turkish-Turkce (the only legally
recognized language). Knowledge of a minority language must be a necessary
employment requirement for the public officials in the region in which
it is spoken. This requirement in the public sector would contribute
to the expansion of democracy and to the harmonious functioning of the
state by providing a better quality of service to its citizens.
II - Europe of the citizens (democracy, social dimension, rights)
New forms of popular participation and strengthening democracy
Democratic participation has to be strengthened. For that reason, the
following measures to help increase popular participation are proposed
1-Encourage direct forms of participation in addition to the election
of representatives to the legislative members: referenda, assemblies,
etc. 2-Promote citizen involvement at all levels. 3-Develop educational
systems which encourage public involvement in public affairs. 4-Bring
the activities of pressure groups and lobbyists under control. 5-Ensure
that the media, particularly those in public ownership, are open to
and reflect the plural nature of society. 6-Promote electoral systems
which encourage involvement and ensure that parliaments are as representative
as possible. 7-Direct access to information for all citizens' initiatives
concerning European discussions. 8-Recognise the importance of NGO's,
organisations and civil society in the preparation of legislation.
The European Social Model
The European Social Model has to be strengthened as a cornerstone of
the European Model of Society based on solidarity: full employment with
quality jobs in a healthy and safe work environment with access to universal
services of general interest.
Binding quantitative and qualitative targets should be agreed upon
on the European level. A European Social Stability Pact should be implemented-
a pact for full employment, social welfare, social equity and ecological
sustainability. As part of the Social Stability Pact the idea of a country-specific
bottom line for the share of expenditure for welfare and social services
in GDP is proposed.
For a world at peace
It is essential to reject any form of aggression or violence as a means
of imposing sets of values. We actively advocate non-violent means and
dialogue for resolving conflicts.
Conflict prevention and lasting peace requires a more equal balance
in world trade and sustainable development. The EU has to take the side
of people in developing countries in WTO negotiations.
A binding code of conduct on the arms trade and to prevent the exploitation
of resources by multinational companies at the European level would
be a cornerstone on the way to a more just and peaceful world.
The eradication of poverty must be the top priority.
III - For a European Constitution
Towards a Europe of the Peoples and Nations
The European Union has hitherto been exclusively based on the Member
States, which are extremely reluctant to cede sovereignty to a European
political body. Furthermore, the major discrepancies between the Member
States in terms of size and population do not facilitate effective co-ordination
Despite the fact that from the European Free Alliance standpoint the
current process of European unity is inadequate, the party states its
wish to work from within the existing institutions to influence, take
part in and make use of all opportunities given for our work, so as
to push the European Union in the desired direction.
The institutions should be reformed on the following basis:
* By encouraging and improving the role of internal nations and regions
within the Institutions. We will call for their representation within
the Council of Ministers. * By thoroughly applying the principle of
subsidiarity, in the sense that what can be done by a lesser body should
not be done by a superior body. * By facilitating in every possible
way interterritorial and cross-border co-operation between the Union's
various countries, whose borders are the result of history and do not
necessarily reflect the natural, economic or cultural links which bind
them together. * By moving towards a single electoral system for the
European Parliament throughout the Union, respecting proportionality
and the direct representation of peoples and nations.
The present constitutional process
The European Free Alliance supports the idea of a Constitution for
the European Union. This is essential in order for citizens to achieve
a democratic and transparent form of self-government in the Union, with
respect for human rights (including self-determination) and for the
principle of subsidiarity, ensuring decisions are taken as closely as
possible to the citizens they affect.
From a democratic point of view, the Draft Constitution proposed by
the European Convention represents a real advance on the existing jumble
of Treaties that define the Union and its powers. We especially welcome
the inclusion of the Charter of Fundamental Rights as an integral part
of the Constitution. Failure by the Intergovernmental Conference to
adopt the Convention text was a serious setback for a more sensible
reconstruction of the Union.
But there are inevtitable defects in the Draft Constitution. There
were very restricted opportunities for input to the Convention from
stateless nations, even those endowed with substantial internal self-government
inside existing Member States.
IV - A Safer Planet for Our Children
Sustainability is at the heart of our political strategy- cultural
and linguistic as well as environmental. Building sustainable communities
in a sustainable Europe.
The European Union should promote GMO free regions and zones and stringent
legislation on labelling and traceability. Almost 90% of the people
of Europe reject GMOs. So this is not only an issue of food safety but
of our democratic right to choose what we eat and for the rights of
people to be put before profit.
Fighting climate change has become a concrete example of European leadership.
As well as its implications for the future of Europe's energy and transport
policies, the campaign against global warming has wider political implications.
For instance, the high dependence of the U.S. economy on fossil fuels
made the control of energy resources, especially oil fields, a major
factor in the U.S. military attack on Iraq. Europe continues to lead
on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol without the U.S., the major
emitter of CO2, which refused to sign.
As far as nuclear energy (Euratom) is concerned, EFA defends a clear
anti-nuclear position and a phasing out from nuclear energy at the European
level. Energy saving, renewables and the efficient use of energy represent
the future for European society.
With over 1.2 billion of the world's people surviving on less than
_1 day, we are committed to the achievement of the eight UN Millennium
Goals and Johannesburg commitments. Combatting poverty and hunger, providing
universal primary education, the empowerment of women and accessible
health care are essential in achieving peace and justice.