Carme Valls 16/07/2020
Many of the States that make up the current European Union have a more or less long history related to a long list of sovereign kings and queens by the grace of God, but leading wars and revenges, which culminated in the destruction and death of thousands of young people and civil society during the two World Wars. The constitution of the Common Market, and later of the European Union, have constituted a process of transition, of devolution of sovereignties, to constitute a common space, in a peaceful way, never seen in human history. With hesitations and setbacks, the European Union has been making its way by organizing its Parliaments and its institutions with the nation states straining towards their side, and the Europeans towards the construction of a true union in diversity.
But the European Union has also been building through its citizenship. Various non-governmental organizations and joint work formulas have allowed European citizens to get to know each other, to remove the hatred generated in the old war and to build a new network of interests, collaborations and joint work. The relationships that the Erasmus program has allowed to establish between young people from various countries has been a breeding ground for scientific, organizational and even loving relationships with the establishment of diverse and plural European families.
The lack of a true European Constitution meant a citizen political movement, in which for the first time it was heard about European citizenship rights. The involvement of unions in all European countries, scientific and research networks, and meetings in the world of culture, had created a ground for recognition of the other as close, as a person who, in the style of Steiner, could take a coffee with us in any of the cafes in Europe. The political dimension of European citizenship was born even before the formation of the Union, and as a sample we have the formation of the European Union of Federalists, founded in 1946 with the aim of achieving a federal and more democratic Europe, with the idea that the Unity in diversity could avoid the conflicts that had traditionally existed in Europe. “European federalists assumed from the outset that only the collective effort of European citizens to constitute a framework of organized cooperation on a federal model could guarantee the existence of a Europe in peace, freedom and as a space for respect for Human Rights” , as you can read on the UEF Spain website.
Currently the Union of European Federalists consists of 24 sections, one per country that groups regional associations. The last Assembly of the UEF in Spain, on July 4, integrated the UEF sections of Valencia, Asturias and Catalonia. This organization is ideologically plural and does not depend on any political party, but it has among its objectives to create a transversal citizenship movement to advance towards a federal Europe.
We need to advance in the growth of a federal culture and in the necessary changes in the way of acting and relating politically. The federation is not an imposition, but a trustworthy political and social creation. And NGOs and political organizations should imbue themselves with this attitude in order to cooperate and to improve the common interest. Federating allows citizens to exercise multiple identity. It is a process that allows multiple and flexible coexistence. “People, like peoples, are plural, only totalitarianisms believe they are identical,” says Hannah Arendt.
People are plural in their identities, in their desires, and in their creativity, and no identity is superior. Diversity and differences are a wealth. The federal culture must allow us to understand, recognize and manage diversities and singularities. It would have to make the recognition of the diverse languages, cultures, ethnic groups and territories that compose it compatible. Coexistence already existing among European citizenship, it should be an example for the political leaders of nation states and would allow us to exercise a federal civic culture that would take us away from returning to the tribe.