In his hour of need, the European citizen feels abandoned!
In the face of the pandemic and the looming economic collapse, yesterday’s video-conference of the European Council demonstrated that its participants are not up to their responsibilities.
This exceptional situation required a unanimous immediate response, catapulting the EU to the rank of a major power which, together with the USA, China, India, Japan… will have to cooperate closely to face the huge challenges that are unfolding.
To hold on to ideologies or the myth of “national sovereignty” is unacceptable. It is all together that the EU27 will limit the sacrifices shouldered by their citizens which will be all the more painful that the western “democracies” have the most to lose. This is a harbinger of deep internal upheavals in social relations as well as a realignment of the balance of power internationally.
In June 1940, just prior to the armistice, Churchill made the bold (rejected) offer of an immediate “political union” with France to continue the fight. We are facing a challenge of similar magnitude with the advantages that we are not facing a military threat and that we have an advanced – 70 year old – blueprint of a European Union on which it is possible to build a common response (including preferably the United Kingdom and open to other continental countries).
The plan should come into force without delay, bypassing constitutional and legislative processes (logistics will follow!) and include the following provisions:
- Endow the EU budget with an initial borrowing ceiling of € 1 trillion and with additional “own resources”. The budget would transfer funds to Member States who, in exchange, would continue to abide by current budgetary rules.
- Adopt forthwith the 2021-27 financial perspectives on the 1.3% proposal of the European Parliament. Cash calls on Member States would be postponed while adequate borrowing capacity remained unused.
- Convert the Commission into a “federal” government responsible to the EP and EC.
- Promote coordination between the Commission and the ECB to ensure the survival of the €.
A political agreement and declaration covering these points should be the priority of European and National Authorities over the coming days.
Failing such measures, the authorities will have to bear the responsibility for having added on top of the coming economic and financial crisis, the dismemberment of the EU. It could jeopardize the free exercise of our “human rights” which we have – erroneously – come to take for granted!
Brussels, 27 March 2020