This meeting took place from 17
to 21 June 2001, at Peles, in Romania and gathered 108
persons from all over Europe and the Mediterranean basin.
It focused on 4 major challenges
of European construction that were debated on an electronic
forum prior to the meeting.
It constituted a genuine prototype debate on the scale of
the European continent aimed at contributing towards the emergence
of a European civil society capable of being a force of proposal
for "The Europe We Want". It was also part of a
European Constituent process due to end with the next Parliamentary
elections in 2004.
Since then, it has been given fresh impetus by the works
of the European Convention on the European
Constitution, the European
Social Forums at Florence (2002) and Paris/Saint-Denis
(2003), and the FPH's proposal for a Campaign
for another Europe.
1. The objective of the Assembly
The main aim of this project is to formulate concrete proposals
that have been put forward for collective debate between Europeans
and which can be organised according to different scales from
local to global.
These proposals can be presented as a contribution to the emergence
of a European civil society capable of influencing, with credibility
and legitimacy, the substance and construction of European
Governance means all the
political, administrative, legal and social regulations that
a society formulates to manage its problems and orient its
Thus we invite you to participate
in a genuine process of working in both the short and long terms.
2. The Assembly's framework
This project is part of a larger programme of continental meetings
organised by the Alliance for a Responsible, Plural and United
World to be held simultaneously in Africa, Asia, North America
and South America around 21 June 2001. Their aim is to gather
proposals for change which will feed a World Assembly to be
held at Lille (a city in Northern France) in December 2001.
The Alliance for a Responsible,
Plural and United World is an informal grouping of people
who wish to act collectively, by contributing to the changes
required to solve the challenges of the 21st century. They
work together on every geographical level by forming thematic
and collegial groups dealing with the key areas for the future
of the planet.
Within the European Union,
the project gives the opportunity to citizens to debate on the
Europe they hope to build and, by making proposals, fuel debates
in which they can participate.
The vocation of this initiative
is to contribute to the Alliance World Assembly and to develop
into a far-reaching campaign aiming to draw up orientations
for a European Constituent Assembly process before the next
European Parliament elections in 2004.
3. The political and social context
The European Union is entering a new phase of
its construction: the enlargement of its Community to embrace
Central and Eastern European countries, the drawing up of a
charter of basic rights, the reform of its institutions. However,
Europeans are hardly ever asked to express themselves about
these major issues and even less often associated with how these
changes are to take place. The truth is that they live in an
entity fashioned without their participation.
Nonetheless, it is obvious
that the traditional players on the political and economic stage,
prisoners of their own rationales, are powerless to act if they
remain alone in deciding the future of Europe. The continuing
construction of Europe can only be achieved through close co-operation
with the actors of civil society, who have proved they are capable
of constituting a force for initiative and proposal regarding
the changes to be undertaken and the perspectives to be set
However, European citizens
usually and almost exclusively use their capacity to express
themselves on a national basis. There is no sign that a European
civil society exists, in spite of the declaration of European
citizenship by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.
The truth is that the solutions
to the problems common to every European citizen lie beyond
the capacity of Nation-States. The latter, persuaded that they
still conserve a considerable margin of manoeuvre, must abide
by inter-governmental negotiations and find themselves remarkably
isolated and powerless to deal with the major problems caused
Thus, the idea of a European
Constituent has emerged progressively as a response to these
new challenges and the continental Assembly intends to be a
first significant contribution in this direction.
The European Constituent
is a collective process to define guidelines which may serve
as a basis for the writing of a European Constitution.
|4. The subjects
The subjects proposed for debate have been chosen
according to the major challenges common to Europe. They are:
1) Democratic governance for Europe
2) Work and social organisation
3) The European rural world and sustainability
4) Migrations and multicultural citizenship
Reference texts, available
on the web site, were proposed by the thematic co-ordinators
to launch the debates.
|5. The different steps of the Assembly
The European Continental Assembly consists of :
- a debate open to all by means
of a six-month electronic forum (from November 2000 to late
- a meeting gathering 200 people in June 2001
The working languages throughout the process
will be English and French.
5. 1. The electronic debate
An electronic debate forum was open from November
2000 to April 2001 on the four subjects chosen. The participants
subscribed to one or the other according to their interests.
The elements of proposals produced by the forum will constitute
the basis for the June Assembly.
A separate debate, facilitated by thematic coordinators, took
place on each of the 4 subjects, while being periodically broadened
by cross-cutting discussions fostered by summaries (half way
and at the end of the forum).
All messages (introductions and contributions) are available
on the web site.
5.2. The Meeting
The European Continental Meeting will take place
from 17 to 21 June 2001 in Romania at Peles Castle, near Sinaia
in the Carpathian mountains.
Although there is no pretence
at exhaustive representation, the Assembly will gather about
200 people from, if possible, every country of the European
continent (and not only from the Union) as well as from certain
Mediterranean countries especially concerned by European construction.
The participants will be invited
by the national co-ordinators who are responsible for ensuring
balance in terms of age, sex and socio-professional categories.
The main underlying idea of this choice is the desire to break
down the barriers separating different milieus that mostly obey
their own rationales and respective reference frameworks.
The Meeting will not be an
internal meeting of the Alliance. This is why we will take care
to open out the debate to the largest number possible of persons,
institutions and European citizens movements.
The 200 participants will be
divided from the start into 4 groups of 50 people, each working
on one of the subjects. Working sessions on common or cross-cutting
themes may be organized.
An experimental method of democratic participation based on
the "planning cell" concept will be used. Rather than
encouraging participants to criticise "what is wrong in
their country", the method orients them towards making
consensual proposals for change at European level, while taking
into account their local and daily environment.
6. The expected results
The contributions from the electronic forum
and the Meeting will permit the formulation of proposals deemed
to be pertinent, viable and realistic by all the participants
to implement the changes required to build a European governance.
They will be collected in a
"dossier of proposals" intended for publication in
open ended form and be widely diffused in several languages.
Its uses will be many. The use of these dossiers may be both
individual and collective. We will strive to make the European
document a good basis for many more social movements to get
involved in a genuine citizen campaign.
7. Media exposure
The media exposure given to the Meeting will
result from the efforts of each and all. The organisation team
in Romania has already received a guarantee of interest by the
authorities and the national media. The participants are invited
to stir interest in this initiative by all the different media
in their respective countries. Contacts have already been made
with alternative press agencies and the international media
8. Links with the other
The different continental meetings will be held
between 17 and 26 June 2001.
June 21 will be the day they all have in common and it is designed
to be a day for linking the different continents together.
Messengers from the all other continents will participate in
every meeting and will play the role of correspondents.
Each meeting will organise a symbolic act related to one of
the four elements:
air (America), water (Asia), fire (Europe), and earth (Africa).
Internet connection will allow the different meetings to exchange
texts, photos, and images from the Four Corners of the world.
The Web site will publish updated information, written and audio-visual,
on the progress of the meetings and the day's events.
As an echo to these continental
meetings and taking advantage of International Music Day, hundreds
of people all over the world will be in the streets and public
places beating the Drums for Peace.