Saturday 17 March 2007
A new campaign for a European referendum on the European constitution was launched in Berlin on Saturday 17 March. The campaign calls for a consultative referendum on the constitution in all EU member states at the time of the next European elections.
The campaign website – www.europeanreferendum.eu – will invite one million citizens to register their support for the European referendum in the coming months.
Among the first signatories were:
– Mercedes Bresso, president of the Union of European Federalists (UEF) and president of the Italian region of Piemonte,
– Peter Altmaier, president of Europa Union Deutschland and state secretary in the German federal foreign ministry
UEF president Mercedes Bresso said:
“The future of the European Union is too important to be left to the heads of state and government alone. Citizens are using the new website to say that Europe needs a constitution and that they want the right to vote for it. Political leaders must engage fully with the citizens of Europe. The message of our campaign is this: Let the European people decide.”
Europa Union Deutschland president Peter Altmaier said:
“This is an historic opportunity for Europe. It can rise to the challenge of globalisation and the threat of climate change if it can seize the moment and take the next steps towards democratic unity. But it can only take those steps if it has the support of the people of Europe themselves.
I encourage all those who wish to contribute to building Europe to visit the website and register their support. The idea of the European constitution is fundamentally a democratic one, so it is fitting that signatures of citizens should be collected in its support.”
President of the Young European Federalists Jan Seifert, who is also backing the campaign, said:
“We need a different method of ratification to break through the logjam in the constitutional process. That’s why we need a European referendum. Purely national politics cannot deliver the Europe we need.”
Notes to editors
1. The campaign has been launched jointly by two international organisations, the Union of European Federalists (UEF) and the Young European Federalists (JEF). Europa Union Deutschland is the German member section of the UEF.
2. The aim of the campaign is to show that there is widespread public support for the idea of a European referendum. In the text of the European constitution, there is a clause that sets a target of one million signatures for a new principle of direct democracy. While this clause is not of course in force, because the constitution itself is not yet in force, one million has become recognised as the appropriate number to demonstrate popular support.
3. The European referendum should be judged positive if there is the support of a majority of European citizens, with all the votes in every member states added together, and also if there is a positive result in a majority of member states. The EU is a union of states and citizens, so it is fitting that a double majority should be required in support of the constitution. The constitution would only come into force in those countries that have voted Yes.
4. For more information, contact:
UEF – Friedhelm Frischenschlager + 43 699 194 66 444
EUD – Bernd Hüttemann + 49 160 181 5380
JEF – Jan Seifert +49 179 390 6054