NEW DEAL FOR EUROPE
PROPOSAL OF THE EUROPEAN CITIZENS FOR A EUROPEAN SPECIAL PLAN FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND EMPLOYMENT FINANCED BY EU BUDGET'S ADDITIONAL OWN RESOURCES COMING FROM A SHARE OF THE TAXES ON FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS AND ON CO2 EMISSIONS, AND FROM A LOAN IN EURO PROJECT BONDS.
The idea of promoting a European action to boost economy and employment, especially for young people, in the strategic areas of new technologies and renewable energy, of research and basic education, was born to give voice to the proposals of the citizens towards the European institutions. It is a European action triggered by the social and environmental emergency, aimed to call Europe to assume its responsibilities and adopt extraordinary measures and longer-term policies, and to start a new, different, socially and ecologically sustainable development model. In Europe, the worsening of unemployment and underemployment of young people in particular, as well as the worsening of environmental crises, required the launch of a European special plan that the European states, individually taken, were not able to promote and that must have a European dimension to be effective.
The proposal stressed the urgency of establishing a European fund for the employment and training of young people through the creation of new good-quality and permanent jobs in some key areas that could trigger a process of ecological conversion of the economy. The innovative aspect of the project consists in indicating where and how to find the resources to fund the plan: a contribution to be paid by polluters and speculators, in order to heal the damages they caused, through European taxes on financial transactions and on CO2 emissions and a loan in Euro project bonds. This could represent a start of European taxation aimed at increasing the European budget's own resources, totally inadequate now to address the worldwide economic and financial crisis and the challenges of globalization and security.
The project, created on the initiative of the European Federalist Movement (MFE), of the Einstein Centre for International Studies (CESI) and of the Young European Federalists (JEF/YEF), was the subject of a broad debate aimed at organizations and movements of the civil society, trade unions, personalities of the world of culture, of business and politics. Following numerous discussions, the instrument of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) was chosen. The Lisbon Treaty stipulates that one million citizens, from at least 6 countries of the European Union, could present to the European Commission a legislative proposal (Art.11.4). In Turin and in Athens the first groups promoters of the ECI New Deal for Europe: an extraordinary European Plan for sustainable development and employment (ND4E) were formed. The first organizing Committee of the ECI was established in Greece on January 22, 2013, following a conference organized by MFE, CESI, AICCRE in collaboration with the local section of the Union of European Federalists (UEF) and the University of Athens(1). On February 11, 2013, was established in Rome the Italian Committee(2), and in Lyon, on March 16, 2013, the French Committee(3), at the initiative of the French federalists of the UEF. On November 15, 2013, in Berlin, at the Congress of the UEF, there was a broad convergence on the ND4E, which was followed by the creation of promoting Committees in a considerable number of EU countries. Soon the number of supporters grew considerably in the world of culture(4), trade unions(5), mayors, organizations and civil society movements(6).
An Italian working group was gradually formed, which took charge of all organizational aspects of the ECI-ND4E Campaign, based on the work of volunteers and on the contribution of persons delegated by the individual organizations(7).
In early February 2014, the multilingual website www.newdeal4europe.eu was ready to work for the registration of the ECI(8). The most active national committees began their work of spreading and promoting the ECI's European Campaign. Then the Belgian Committee(9), the Spanish Committee(10) and the German Committee(11) were established. In England Robert Casale and John Palmer joined, in Ireland the film director Ken Loach, and in Switzerland Dusan Sidjanski.
Meetings were held with the European Trade Union Confederation CES-ETUC (Bernadette Ségol, Luca Visentini), with the German trade union DGB (Gabriele Bischoff, Francescantonio Garippo, Michael Sommer) and with the Federation of Enterprises in Brussels.
On January 7, 2014, the European Committee(12) presented the request for the ECI-ND4E's admission to the European Commission. On March 7, 2014, the ECI was officially recognized by the Commission to correspond to the conditions for registration set out in Article 4 of the EU Regulation No. 211/2011, and was given the Registration number ECI (2014) 000002. The site www.newdeal4europe.eu was connected to the multilingual modules so as to collect signatures online, since the criteria required by the European Commission for the guarantee of the certification process were satisfied.
After the long preparation phase, the signatures collection began and it would last one year, according to the criteria imposed by the European Commission.
The European elections campaign began, a great opportunity to organize a debate on the objectives of the ECI-ND4E with the political parties, the candidates to the European Parliament and the candidates for President of the European Commission. It was a success: more than a hundred candidates to the European Parliament, 48 of whom were elected, stated their support to the ECI. Five of the six candidates for the Presidency of the Commission (Guy Verhofstadt, Martin Schulz, Alexis Tsipras, Ska Keller, José Bové) also joined. Jean-Claude Juncker said that he would respond after the elections. Once elected, he launched his plan for growth and employment, which includes investments of 315 billion euro in three years.
Juncker's decision of setting up the fund for strategic investments to finance his plan compelled the European Committee to rethink its action. It was assessed that it was impossible to continue collecting signatures on a text which was received in part by the Juncker Plan, and it was decided that it was appropriate to withdraw the ECI before the deadline and in conjunction with the approval of the Juncker Plan. But it was decided at the same time to continue the action by presenting a petition to the European Parliament on the objectives not yet achieved. The continuation of ND4E was considered necessary since the Juncker Plan, while being a step in the right direction, because it aimed at increasing resources directed to growth, was judged by the promoters of ND4E insufficient both quantitatively - for the resources provided - and qualitatively - for the sectors chosen to receive incentives to start an ecologically and socially sustainable development.
On January 30, 2015, the ECI-ND4E was withdrawn and the second phase of the Campaign begun. The MFE President Lucio Levi sent to the national committees of ND4E a petition proposal that was unanimously approved. A new European Committee representing five national committees (Italy-Paolo Ponzano, Spain-Domenec Devesa, Belgium-Francesco Franco, France- Jean Francis Billion, and Czech Republic- Ivo Kaplan) was set up.
On October 12, 2015, the ND4E petition was presented to the European Parliament, and it was registered at the petition office with the number 1049/2015, listing as applicant and petitioner Lucio Levi, the representative of the European Committee, and as supporters the organizations, the mayors, the personalities and the unions that had joined. Copy of the petition was sent to the Chairman of the European Parliament, to the President of the European Commission and to the members of the working group chaired by Mario Monti, who will present a report on the European budget's own resources in the spring of 2016.
The problem of insufficient resources is therefore on the agenda of the European political debate. The European Committee meeting in Venice(13) on November 28, 2015, decided to step up its efforts and increase initiatives to make the petition visible and increase membership. They proposed to the National Committees to organize a debate in Brussels - in the first months of 2016, for the official launch of the campaign - between supporters of ND4E and members of the European Parliament, especially those who had joined the ECI. On that occasion, the organizational details of the campaign will be also assessed.
(1) The conference, which was attended by NGOs, research centers such as the one headed by Anna Diamantoupoulos, mass media representatives, local administrators, University professors, was followed by a meeting at the Greek Parliament with representatives of the Syriza and New Democracy parties.
(2) Support to the Italian Committee was expressed by ACLI-FAI, AEDE, AICCRE, Altramente, AMI, ANCI, ARCI, ASEGE, CESI, CGIL, CIFE, CISL, European Alternatives, FLARE, Libera, GFE, Legambiente, Libertà e Giustizia, MFE, the European Movement , UIL and personalities such as Romano Prodi, Don Luigi Ciotti, Roberta de Monticelli, Emilio Gabaglio, Salvatore Settis, Barbara Spinelli, Moni Ovadia, Mauro Ceruti, Cristina Narbona, and 126 Mayors including the Mayors of Rome and Turin. At the suggestion of Lucio Levi, MFE President, and Emilio Gabaglio, former Secretary General of the European Trade Unions Confederation CES-ETUC, were appointed as Chairman of the Italian Committee Paolo Ponzano, MFE-Rome, as Vice President Michele Consiglio, Vice President of ACLI, and as coordinator Grazia Borgna, CESI, with the mandate to also take action for the establishment of promoting committees in other EU countries. Gabaglio proposed to CGIL, CISL and UIL to appoint a representative in the upcoming European Committee that was supposed to present the ECI to the European Commission; they then appointed Fausto Durante (Head of the Secretariat Europe of CGIL).
(3) The French committee was promoted by Jean-Luc Prével and Jean-Francis Billion, with the participation of several trade unions, such as the CFDT and the cross-border trade-union Alpes-Leman, and of major civil society organizations.It was later supported by the Mayors of Lyon, Paris, Lille (Martine Aubry, daughter of Jacques Delors) and important personalities such as Michel Aglietta, Alain Lamassoure, Pascal Lamy, Michel Albert, Sylvie Goulard, Henry Malosse, Olivier Giscad d'Estaing, Yves Mény, José Bové, Paul Oriol and Tvetan Todorov.
(4) The Manifesto was signed as first signatories by the following personalities: Michel Aglietta, Michel Albert, Enrique Baron Crespo, Ulrich Beck, Josep Borrell, José Bové, Roger Casale, Jean-Marie Cavada, Mauro Ceruti, Don Luigi Ciotti, Daniel Cohn Bendit, Roberta De Monticelli, Matilde Fernández, Monica Frassoni, Emilio Gabaglio, Sylvie Goulard, Olivier Giscard d'Estaing, Ramón Jáuregui, Ska Keller, Alain Lamassoure, Pascal Lamy, Jo Leinen, Henry Malosse, Norbert Mappes-Niediek, Robert Menasse, Gerhard Mensch, Yves Mény, Cristina Narbona, Claus Offe, Paul Oriol, Moni Ovadia, John Palmer, Romano Prodi, Javier Rojo, Pedro Sanchez, Gesine Schwan, Salvatore Settis, Dusan Sidjanski, Barbara Spinelli, Alexis Tsipras, Tzvetan Todorov, Guy Verhofstadt, Carlos Westendorp.
(5) In Turin, on the proposal of the MFE President, Lucio Levi, of the ANCI President and Mayor of Turin, Piero Fassino, and of the Mayor of Lyon, Gerard Collomb, the European Network of Mayors for the ND4E ECI was created, with a founding document which stated: We, Mayors of Europe, give our support to an initiative that sees our citizens protagonists of the request for a Europe oriented towards a "sustainable development and employment”; we agree with its aims, in the belief that this claim for participation also constitutes an important element for the development of European democracy, in the perspective of a democratic and federal Europe; we invite the cities of Europe to create a network to support the ECI New Deal for Europe, by also favoring the collection of signatures among citizens to develop civic participation in the shared objective of a European Union, a factor of growth and a source of progress, especially for the benefit of the younger generations.
(6) The ECI was supported by: 68 NGOs, 126 Mayors of major European cities (Including the Mayors of Turin, Paris, Rome, Lyon, Lille), 13 Trade-Unions (including in Spain the UGT and the CCOO, in France CFDT and CFCT, in Italy CGIL, CISL and UIL, in Belgium the trade union of the officials of the European Commission, in Greece the CSEE; and by other smaller ones, as the cross-border trade-union Alpes- Leman, 47 figures from the world of culture (including the late Ulrich Beck and the film-director Ken Loach), 48 MEPs, 5 out of 6 top candidates of the main European parties (Green-2, liberal, Tsipras, socialist). Mr. Juncker said that he would respond after the European elections. 10 national committees have been established in as many EU countries.
(7) Nicola Vallinoto (MFE), Grazia Borgna (CESI), Paolo Ponzano (MFE-Roma), Lucio Levi (MFE President), Simonetta Paganini (ANCI), Antonio Morandi (CGIL), Andrea Costi (UIL), Andrea Mone (CISL), Raffaella Bolini (ARCI), Piergiorgio Grossi (MFE-Genoa), Gabriele Panizzi (AICCRE), Roberta Carbone and Claudia Muttin (GFE), Liliana Di Giacomo (AEDE), and Simonetta Defazi and Michele Consiglio (Vice-President ACLI), Virgilio Dastoli (CIME), to whom others will be added gradually, such as Giuseppe De Marzo (Libera) and Tiziana Finelli (Legambiente).
(8) Designed by Nicola Vallinoto, who will manage its constant updating and enhancement, and its periodic information-section about the initiatives planned and implemented; he has also followed the certification process of the IT and managerial system for collecting signatures online. The website also presented and circulated the multilingual information material (paper modules for the collection of signatures, banners, leaflets, Power Point presentations, etc.) to be inserted into the supporting organizations' websites for collecting signatures online.
(9) Supported by some civil society organizations such as Palombella, the Forum of Europe, Catherine Vieilleden, the trade union of European officials, the Permanent Forum of Civil Society, Virgilio Dastoli, Philippe Grosjean, Guy Verhofstadt and Monica Frassoni.
(10) Supported by some civil society organizations, Horitzo Europa, Trade-Unions UGT and CCOO, and personalities such as Enrique Baron Crespo, Matilde Fernandez, Javier Rojo, Pedro Sanchez, Carlos Westendorp, Josep Borrell.
(11) Composed mainly of federalists and UEF -Germany representatives (Peter Osten, Dieter Rugge, Manuel Caminada), it had the support of the European Movement International, and of some civil society organizations and personalities, such as the late Ulrich Beck, Claus Offe, Daniel Cohn Bendit, Ska Keller, Joseph Leinen, Gerhard Mensch, Norbert Mappes-Niediek.
(12) Official Representative Fausto Durante (Italy), Vice-representative Philippe D. Grosjean (Belgium), Members: Jean Francis Billion (France), Elena Rodriguez (Spain), Ivo Kaplan (Czech Republic), John Rakes (Luxembourg),
(13) In addition to the leaders of the five national committees that make up the European Committee (Paolo Ponzano and Grazia Borgna -Italy, Domenec Devesa -Spain, Francisco Franco -Belgium, Francis Billion -France, Ivo Kaplan -Czech Republic), also present were: Catherine Vieilledent -UEF Groupe Europe, and Pilar Florente -Spain.