ENRIQUE BARÓN CRESPO – 15/05/2020
E. BARÓN CRESPO, MP Spanish Cortes Generales, Minister of Transport, Tourism and Communications, former President of European Parliament, President of the Union of Europeans and Federalists of Spain.
Video federalism is the word that best describes the process that we are living in Spain and in Europe to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. In Spain, the conference of presidents, from being absent from our constitutional life, has become a co-governance, a Sunday rite without defections. In the European Union, where there are usually no absentees in the Council, an almost bi-weekly meeting of so-called multilevel governance. In both cases, parliaments have also adapted.
In fact, institutions capable of making decisions that for decades were considered impossible or utopian proposals are being developed. It is not an exaggeration to affirm that the virus is acting as a precipitator in our societies, an agent in chemistry whose effect is to generate a solution: now it can be searched and processed thanks to the network and plasma.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the virus is acting as a precipitator in our societies
The tireless Jean Monnet, editor with his team of the Schuman declaration, which started from the fact that peace was not possible and whose final objective was the European federation, affirmed in his Memoirs that “men only accept change resigned by necessity and only they see the need during crises ”. Another European of his time, Albert Einstein, who also lived through the dramatic times of the world yesterday, considered that it is “in the crisis where inventiveness, discoveries and great strategies are born”.
Federalism starts from the will to share destiny in a union as the best system to guarantee peace, freedom and prosperity with the will to stay thanks to the active and loyal cooperation between institutions and individuals that share the same values while preserving their respective integrity. It is not a theoretical debate or a method for negotiating based on differences, it is a flexible system that allows decisions to be agreed and applied together that make it possible to maintain one’s preferences in creative interdependence. Its essential features are subsidiarity, territoriality, non-centralization, constitutionalism, the balance of powers and permanent negotiation. Terms that dominate the current political scene in a situation of tension and challenge between freedom and economy. Confinement would not have been achieved only with command and command, social self-discipline has been and is decisive. Policy makers at all levels must work to maintain and nurture it.
The question is whether this leap will be limited to the alarm situation and we can satisfy ourselves with a generic appeal to the new normal. The failures of the situation at the start of the pandemic should not be underestimated; in Spain, after the period of political instability and crisis; in Europe, with initial withdrawal reactions calling into question the internal market, Schengen and even monetary union. Looking out, there is the global responsibility of a European Union in which multilateralism embodied in the UN is enshrined in the treaties.
The changes in attitude, after the initial reactions of withdrawal and closing in on the shell, are encouraging. In order for them to create a new normality, they need to become part of the institutional system as constitutional conventions. At the moment, the most positive sign of this general change of attitude is the multiplication of video meetings at all levels and the convenience of punctuality to take part.