Key aspects of the consultation / workshops
The guiding principle of our consultations and workshops is to develop viable new ideas on federalism on selected fundamental and topical issues of the current political situation. The focus of our interest is Europe. This cannot be dissociated from international developments, especially since Europe has a decisive role to play in the necessary global democratization process.
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01 2021 12-14 April Erasmus Programme
Preparation of project proposals on federalism for project applications 2022
02 2021 10-12 September Fundamental Problems of Federalism in the EU
Summary: The EU is deeply federal in its conception. For various reasons, federalism is not sufficiently anchored in everyday European life. Several member states have a strong centralist structure, from the national constitutions to the mentalities in everyday socio-political life. For historical reasons, many member states have serious democratic deficits. Since the EU itself cannot be better than its members, the problems there are understandable without wanting to justify them.
Ways must therefore be found to improve the situation as a whole. Federalism means "living democracy". The degree of democracy at all levels is inextricably linked to the active interest and participation of citizens. It is not enough to fill in a ballot paper every few years. The classical separation of powers, which is indispensable for any democracy, is no longer sufficient in its current form. Government, opposition and public opinion, influenced by professional lobbying, tend to become one. Citizens are relatively powerless in the face of this. The Irish model of citizens' initiatives would be a necessary and logical addition.
Transparency at all political levels still leaves much to be desired. What remains crucial is mutual trust and enthusiasm for the idea of the European Community. Political leaders in individual member states who openly oppose the EU are unacceptable. The same must apply to parties that have left the democratic framework.
03 2022 22-24 April Erasmus Programme
Preparation of project proposals on federalism/regionalism for project applications 2023
04 2022 17-19 June Scotland First!
Summary: The UK's exit remains a major setback for the EU and for UK citizens, the majority of whom did not vote to leave. 250,000 EU citizens in the British Overseas Territories were not even allowed to vote in the non-binding referendum*. From the start, the Leave campaign used tricks, dubious arguments and illegal financial and logistical support from abroad.
The support of the pro-European groups from the continental EU member states and from Brussels was not convincing. At times, one almost had the impression that they were happy to get rid of the supposedly inconvenient partner. Yet Britain has been a very difficult but reliable and paying member of the EU.
The EU's task must be to give the pro-EU British a chance. The fundamental question remains whether you can simply exclude millions of people who have been EU citizens for decades and want to stay. An obvious damage limitation step would be to promote a meaningful unification of the two Irish regions with the European option and to admit Scotland as a new member of the EU, of course always subject to a corresponding majority decision in these regions. This is not interference in the internal affairs of the United Kingdom, but an offer to the citizens of these regions who have been EU citizens and who are at least 50% in favour of these steps. If the impression is created that the EU prefers to support London's interests, then interest in Britain's exit will understandably diminish. But that is exactly what is happening. "Barroso: It's 'nearly impossible' for independent Scotland to join EU"** Or scientifically justified: "Such a weakening of the United Kingdom, which remains an important partner for the EU and Germany, and the resulting strain on European-British relations is not in the common interest. . ." ***
False questions and problems are piled up that exist but can be solved. Even if all this is resolved after decades, the EU is "under no obligation to admit Scotland".**** The candidates in the Balkans, even Ukraine, have a better chance of being admitted to the EU quickly.
A basically open European offer to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, but also to Anguilla, would have a deterrent effect on other EU member states where politicians are toying with the idea of leaving the EU.
* https://mycountryeurope.com/politics/brexits-forgotten-border-anguilla/ (April 2022)
** EURACTIV 17. Feb 2014 https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/video/extremely-difficult-if-not-impossible-for-independent-scotland-to-join-eu-barroso-says/
*** Nicolai von Ondarza: The Scottish independence movement and the EU SWP-Aktuell 2021/A 38, 11.05.2021
https://www.swp-berlin.org/10.18449/2021A38/ (April 2022)
05 2022 28-30 October The Ukraine Conflict - A Challenge for Federalism
Few concepts have been developed so far for peace in Ukraine. This may seem understandable, but it is not justified. We are on the brink of the outbreak of the Third World War. Should Kiev succeed in gaining a foothold in Crimea, the use of tactical nuclear weapons can be expected from the Russian side. Limiting the war to a reduced territory of Ukraine is becoming increasingly difficult. Moreover, the war in Ukraine must not be viewed in isolation. The current Russian government has important allies in the neighbourhood: China and Persia. The systems are not identical, in a way they represent three world cultures, but in their image of man they are the same. In this respect, they do not fit into the 21st century.
On closer examination, these systems are anything but stable. A football player in Persia asked a good question on Twitter. Meaning: 'The army is supposed to protect the people, where is it, what is it doing?' The situation in Persia is coming to a head, China seems stable but is not. Corona has a similar significance for China as Chernobyl did for Russia at the time. Considerable parts of the administrative elite are convinced that things cannot go on like this. It is no different in Russia. Only the propaganda belies the fact that the support for the current policy is low in relevant circles. It is not only the concern about increasing aggressiveness towards the outside world, but also the realization that the existing centralism is a model of yesterday. Not to mention the human rights violations that cannot be justified by anything.
Something good could also come out of the whole disaster and the current constellation of these three countries. There is the somewhat utopian-sounding proposal of a 3+1 alliance. The three states recognize Taiwan as an independent 4th partner with territorial integrity, combined with the option of reunification with China. The other existing borders are accepted. Internal stability in the first three countries is partly secured by the military, which together with civilian committees forms a provisional transitional government in each case. All countries receive a genuine federal structure; on paper or in the national flag, Russia and China are already federal. This means regional autonomy, decision-making authority and self-determination. In this way, internal conflicts can be absorbed, the borders are open and new state foundations become superfluous.
Incidentally, this path also applies to Ukraine. Only a federal structure can save Ukraine's political unity and secure internal and external peace. If the foundations are laid, this should be possible. There is no historical enmity between the people of Ukraine and Russia. They are far too closely connected, especially in an open federal system. There is a convincing article on this to which we would like to refer.* Of course, there are always exceptions and special regions, such as Kosovo. Here the EU is called upon to come up with innovative proposals for a peaceful solution. Crimea could become such a special case with a special European status. If the interests of the citizens, rather than economic or strategic considerations, are paramount - as they should be in the EU - then an offer could be made here that would not cause either Kiev or Moscow to lose face. The citizens of Crimea would then have three passports, one Ukrainian, one Russian and one EU, in addition to the peace guarantee. The vast majority of the population there would certainly agree to this.
* Michael Wolffsohn: Bundesrepublik Ukraine: Die Lösung für Frieden heißt Föderalismus, in: der Freitag Ausgabe 12/2022 vom 24.03.2022 https://www.freitag.de/ausgaben/1222 (Michael Wolffsohn: Federal Republic of Ukraine: The solution for peace is federalism, [for translation from German we are using https://www.deepl.com/translator ])
06 2023 14.-16. January (Lemnos) Education as an Economic Factor in European Peripheries (Islands)
Summary: The project was conceived within the framework of European support for the "development of the so-called outermost regions". The idea for this project stems from Erasmus projects carried out with partners from the island territories of Lemnos (Greece), La Réunion and Tahiti (France) and a host partner from the Orkney Islands (Scotland). After studying on the EU mainland, students from remote islands have few job opportunities back home. This is already the case for many Greek and Scottish islands, and even more so for European Overseas Territories such as La Réunion or French Polynesia.
An interesting way of creating academic jobs on these islands is for local universities to offer places to non-European students for a fee. In one part of Cyprus, such universities have become the main regional economic factor. At the same time, even small universities create hundreds of jobs as well at the academic level.
07 2023 19.-21. May European federalism and current issues within the EU
08 2023 7. - 9. July Erasmus Programme
Elaboration of project proposals for the application 2024