Carme Valls Llobet, July 7, 2021
It can take months and even years for efforts that have been worked discreetly for a long time suddenly add and intersect synergies in just one weekend. On July 2, the government of the Valencian Generalitat began a cycle of Federal Conversations, starting with a reflection on the future organization of the European governance organization, and at the same time hosted, on days 3 and 4, the XXVII Congress of the Union of Europeanists and Federalists under the slogan “our federal-sovereign and democratic Europe”. Suddenly, Valencia has become the center of the federal debate that has been established among the more than 200 delegates of the associations of all the European states, meeting virtually and in person.
The first conversation between the president of the valencian Generalitat, Ximo Puig, in dialogue with Enrique Barón, president of the UEF of Spain, and former president of the European Parliament, have already pointed out the need to work on the multilevel shared government both at the Spanish and European Union, highlighting the seventeen conferences of presidents during the pandemic and the efforts to jointly face the pandemic.
To federate is to share and the pandemic revealed that the hesitations of the months of March and April 2020, in which the European states, showed the embarrassing spectacle of the competition for masks and supply material to hospitals, moved the states away from a shared future. The states, which believed themselves sovereign and capable of closing borders against the virus, bought at exorbitant prices, turning their neighbors into adversaries.
The subsequent reaction, from President Ursula von der Leyen, with the massive purchase of vaccines and their distribution to all states, with the added difficulties of non-compliance by the pharmaceutical industry, has begun to show that other policies are possible. And that both the European Health Union, proposed by MEP Domènec Ruiz Devesa, and public policies aimed at addressing the destruction of health and well-being that climate change is causing, have come to stay. They are transnational public policies that will demand a new way of governing, with shared governments at various levels.
Multi-level government, shared government, requires federal culture, federal waistline, federal will, and a certain degree of federal passion. There has been a growing public distrust of politicians’ decisions, so that a first challenge for federal Europe is the social and federal construction of public trust. In the intense debate sessions, the role that the Conference for the Future of Europe can play and the need for federal pedagogy towards European citizenship has been highlighted, especially by opening the debate to the youngest. Faced with the competition between states, the Federalism of Solidarity is being imposed in Europe, and in this field the delegations and the new Federal Council of the Union of Europeans and Federalists elected in this congress have committed to work.
And although this way of governing may seem new to us, it had already been designed and thought out years ago. I finished my intervention in the Federal Conversations, remembering that Francisco Pi i Margall wrote a letter to the democrats of Valencia, on January 20, 1881, in which he reflected on the relationship between municipalities, provinces and states, he said: “We unite thus by the way of relation of what we isolate by the way of the interior; we subordinate the various political entities to one another in what they have in common, and we leave them free and independent in what they have of their own. There is no another form of government more logical and more adapted to the nature of the man “. And of the woman. 140 years ago it was already clear to the author of the first federal constitution that shared government, the government of relationship, was and is the most humane form of government.