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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 democratic governance.

Governance means all the political, administrative, legal and social regulations that a society formulates to manage its problems and orient its destiny.

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 out.

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 by globalisation.

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 April 2001)

- a meeting gathering 200 people in June 2001

The working languages throughout the process will be English and French.

5. 1. The electronic debate forum

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 networks.

8. Links with the other
Continental Meetings

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.