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« We, the European people, accept and endorse the role which is devolved to us on the international plane as defenders of peace and world security. In these last years, the concretization of our project based on the reconciliation of peoples, the solidarity and the sharing of common values, must now serve as model, reference and an ideal whose vocation is to radiate and take root on the entire international community. »
Thus addressed J. Forsythe, President of the European Federation, the General Assembly of the United Nations, after the acceptance by consensus of the latter as permanent member of the Security Council, as now permitted and stipulated by the new provisions of the Charter of San Francisco.
- The European Federation and its « Holy » Seat: a crusade for Peace
If at first sight such an event may surprise, it however shouldn’t. Indeed, it is just the logical and consistent continuation of History. Symbolically, this universal recognition of the Federation by its peers is little more than the culmination of a long and laborious struggle that deeply redefined the role and the identity of the European Union, both internally and internationally and which has led to its progressive federalisation.
Once completed internally, the Federation’s acceptance and consecration as a supranational state on the global stage swiftly followed. How, indeed, could we not accept the actor that for several decades had become the main economic, political, commercial and humanitarian interlocutor of the rest of the world; a major protagonist of the economic and social development of many nations. The European Union’s assets at that time just lacked a truly communitarized foreign and defence policy.
- European External Policy, year 0
Yet, at the dawn of the European project was the European Defence Community. Ended in bitter failure due to national reticences and sovereignists in 1954, it was not until 1973 that the Copenhagen declaration, defining the EU’s identity to the world, and the implementation of a European Cooperation Policy set to restart the process. This led to the launch of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, which remained highly criticized for its intergovernmental nature, making it opaque, ineffective and limited.
However, just as the development of international environmental issues had made the Union a key global player in this field, the development of the terrorist threat led the EU to develop a common defence apparatus. With reference to the possibility offered by the constitutional treaties to create a common defence, a permanent structured cooperation under the impetus of pro-European governments was established from 2020 onwards. At the same time, the treaties’ revision process was launched and finalized with a view to the complete federalisation of a number of now common and exclusive competences.
This unification ended in unprecedented progresses. Through the sharing of resources and spendings, economies of scale, common and rationalized investments, particularly in the field of technological innovation and high-tech industry, the EU became a global leader.
The establishment of a common defence was accompanied by the establishment of a joint intelligence agency, a genuine European CIA, as well as the creation of a federal police force, a European FBI, capable of effectively managing free movement of people within the EU and tackling the intrinsic cross-border terrorism. Furthermore, EU was finally able to mobilize a common army under a single command uniting the capacities of all its components to face the pressing challenges of the globalized world.
These developments have contributed more than ever to the recognition of the EU as an actor within the United Nations. Since 2020, the European Federation has thus been able to play a leading role in the resolution of numerous world conflicts such as the victory against the Islamic State, the resolution of crises in sub-Saharan Africa or Yemen.
- Europe asserts itself, the « Permanent Five » implode
Finally, the federalisation of the Union has also enabled the European Union to become an international player with its own right. It must be noted that international relations, which are legally regulated, remain as a principal prerogative of States. This, therefore, posed many problems for the hybrid entity, not quite an international organization, nor entirely a State, that the Union had once been. These constraints concerned both the contractualization of international instruments (treaties, conventions, etc.) and the accession to the status of full member of international organizations.
Thanks to the geopolitical strategy of the new French President approved beforehand by all the member states of the former Union, the European Federation was able to resume the implementation of a long-awaited reform of the UN Security Council. Using a colossal weight both commercial and military, the European Federation (with the subtle complicity of France) arrived, not without difficulty and compromises, to make its Chinese, Russian, American and especially British partners accept the necessity of opening the seats as Permanent member to other contenders to ensure the legitimacy and durability of the Security Council. As Kofi Annan then Secretary-General of the United Nations had previously advocated, it was high time for it to become “more representative of the international community as a whole.”
- British exceptionalism: what if the fish and chips were tasty only with this good old Belgian mayonnaise?
What about the English you will say, yet also member of the initially very restricted club? After a Brexit, just as hard to digest as a Jelly is not appetizing, the brain-drain, “British” capital fleeing to the old continent, the interminable plunge of the Pound, by referendum the British people decided that finally they were better “in” than “out”. After making use of Article 50 of the TEU a few years earlier, it was therefore necessary to go back through the accession procedure, now included in the Constitution of the European Federation. Two steps forward, three steps back.
We have come full circle. The European Federation, in its desire to strengthen a whole continent, now expresses itself with force on the international scene by talking with one voice (but in all its languages). All of this for the peace, well-being, prosperity and happiness of the citizens of Europe and of the world.
Hélène Decottigny Bàlint Gyévai
President of Eyes on Europe Secretary General of Stand Up for Europe
We will do it!