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We, the Citizens of the Peoples of Europe...
by Martí Olivella <>

Heavy rains all day. The river's almost bursting out of its banks. The four groups brought their work together in the morning. In the afternoon, the Southern Mediterranean delegates gave their view of North-South relations across our shared sea. Then, a rainy visit to the beautiful city of Bratsov and Bran Castle (the mistakenly but legendary castle of Count Dracula!).

Our meeting is a living experience of the question we are trying to answer: How can we turn diversity, commonly a source of conflict, into a source of richness and harmony?

It is not different values that divide us, but the different priority we give to the same shared values. But how hard it is to understand what we each mean by "citizenship" (belonging to a Nation State or also a set of rights that goes with it...) How difficult it is to draw conclusions when some of us have been preparing the topics for months and others - because of our desire to extend the meeting to more countries than were present originally - have just come into the dynamics of the discussions!

Embarking on a shared project with the East

Many in Eastern Europe can now be heard to say: "we don't want to be second-class citizens, and we don't want to find ourselves in a new form of dependence". We must therefore come up with a process to listen to what Eastern Europe wants, exchange views... as we are today here over these few days, to listen, enter into a dialogue and embark on a shared project. The EU has no other challenges in terms of strategy and can afford to take on this major European project, shared from the Atlantic to the Urals, and encompassing:

The Europe of Territories (supranational, national, subnational, local...); organized under the principle of active subsidiarity and solidarity (problems must be solved wherever they arise, but territories unable to solve their problems alone must be given help).

The Europe of Citizens. Based on active participation of citizens, with mechanisms for participation, influence and decision making (fighting for the right to people's initiative and popular referendums in Europe).

The Europe of Institutions: redesign Europe's institutional system with European universal suffrage, a legislative body that takes the Europe of Territories into account, a Constitution or Joint Charter beginning with the words "We, the Citizens of of the peoples of Europe..."

The Europe of Dignity: economic growth and employment are a means, but they have become an end in themselves. The goal of employment and growth are to improve the survival and dignity of everyone. In Europe, employment has not only been a means of survival but also the basis of personal identity and social recognition. Now that the employment crisis is under control, we must seek other forms of survival and social recognition.

The Europe of Solidarity: the other side of the coin was shown by our Southern Mediterranean friends. The European states that created Israel within the framework of the United Nations cannot go on refusing to apply UN resolutions on withdrawal from the occupied territories and the return to their homes of four million Palestinian refugees. The tragedy of Algeria also cries out for us to take responsibility.

Until tomorrow (the last day!)

>From Sinaia, Rumania, Europe, 19 and 20 June - European Continental Meeting

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