The second day of the negotiations on the Maastricht Treaty has once again reignited debates regarding a European Federation. Unsurprisingly, Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, has ensured to use the most narrowed-minded definition of a federation to incite a united front for their hardened understanding of national sovereignty. In his own words, a “federation is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces or other regions, do you want to diminish your states to partially self-governing provinces?”. Needless to say this attempt failed, as the ministers represented are well-versed enough in their political theory to see the obvious omission of the word state in this definition. Our research has further found that the definition stems from a novel online encyclopedia that is written and edited by “a community of volunteers through open collaboration and a wiki-based editing system”, thus its credibility may be called into question.
Beside the attempting hijacking of such a European Federation, a majority of countries present are welcoming this notion, French Minister Dumas going as far as stating “There should be one pillar, a European Federation” and that this idea is not a utopian fantasy, but in fact a realistic and pragmatic notion for the betterment of Europe.
Upon request for comment, Commission President Delors has stated that “a European Federation would be a massive step towards the social, economic and political unity of all Member States and the Commission hopes that this direction can be guiding light for these discussions and further ones done the line”. The Danes are not as keen, as Minister Ellemann-Jensen urged his colleagues to “move away from this idealistic political goal and move toward a realistic collaboration”. And, in fact, this wish is currently being fulfilled as the the ministers have not only set an agenda for a more structured approach overall, but are currently having an in-depth discussion about the initiation rights the European Parliament should receive.
It remains to be seen if the European Federation was solely an unsubstantiated pipe dream to be used as a talking point prior to actual debates. Radio Free Europe will keep reporting live from the negotiations, hopeful for a more united, if not federated Europe.
- Barry D. Hatchett, Radio Free Europe