We call for an end to the politically prolonged debt crisis!

As adopted by the Federal Committee in Athens, Greece 2013

JEF Europe conceives of the continuation of the so-called Euro-crisis – today more than ever – as a political debt crisis.

The political decision-makers are indebted to their citizens: they finally have to implement the measures that they have recognized as being able to resolve the crises, which they have so far failed to implement. The current level of prosperity, freedom and (social) peace cannot be sustained without decisive and qualitative steps towards a real federal Union.

Hereby, JEF Europe reiterates:

1. That the restoration of the authority of democratically legitimized politics over the dynamics of the globalized (financial) markets is only possible by creating a deeper Economic and Monetary Union based on the community method.

Already in 2005 when Germany and France pushed through the relaxation of the regulations of the Stability and Growth Pact, the failure of intergovernmental coordination in the European Council as a means in the European economic policy became obvious.

The main elements of crisis management today (for example ESM and fiscal compact) have been put into place even outside the EU treaties. Thus, the lessons of history have not been learned.

Therefore, we call for the political, economic and fiscal integration of the EU. This means in detail

  • That the European Union has to be equipped with its own (tax based) budget which is independent from the moods of the member states and thus lends credibility to the common currency. European bonds are a vital part thereof.

  • That the common market has to be completed. This includes – among other things – a common basis for taxation, a common banking supervision, a common mechanism to liquidate insolvent financial institutes, the facilitation of the freedom of movement of workers, as well as common mechanisms to counter external economic shocks in the member states.

2. That the measures taken in order to solve the crises have substantially changed the EU and will continue to change it. However, neither the direction nor the goal of this process is discernible for the European citizens.

The public discussions and media reports generally deal with questions such as the size of the next bail-out package or the next debt cut. However, the important implications of the current “crisis management” concern the structural modification of the European economic, monetary and therefore necessarily also of the European political system.

Therefore, we call for the presentation of a road map by the political decision- makers in which they explain how they want to achieve the solution of the current crisis and what implications these measures would have for the political system of the EU. It is then for the European political parties to define the specific configurations of the different components of such a road map in order to present different options for the European voters at the next elections of the European Parliament. JEF and other civil society actors, however, should contribute to the upcoming discussions.

3. That an insufficiently legitimized ‘executive federalism’ with which European leaders have tried to tackle the crisis has caused an intolerable marginalization of the supranational institutions, especially the European Parliament, as well as undermined the budgetary sovereignty of national parliaments.

Therefore, we call for
an end of crisis management led by the European Council! In fact, the strengthening of the European Council relative to the Parliament and the Commission in the treaty of Lisbon has been a mistake in the first place! The common institutions of the EU have to be equipped with all necessary political decision-making powers and steering capacities in order to be able to implement the necessary measures. This includes the full legislative powers and control rights for the European Parliament.

4. That populism and populist motives are dominating large parts of public discussions about the current crisis which are often taken up and disseminated by media and political representatives.

Populist arguments have always been a common feature when talking about the EU. However, today we experience the dissemination of dangerous stereotypes about friendly states and neighboring peoples.

Therefore, we call on the political decision-makers to forcefully reject such defamations instead of exploiting them for domestic purposes. We all have to learn to understand each others' perspectives and perceptions in order to work towards common solutions. This common European crisis requires a common European solution. Mutual accusations are utmost inappropriate.

5. That a common solution to the crisis is of utmost importance in the short- as well as in the long-term perspective: the alarming youth unemployment in Europe has to be tackled immediately.

The lessons of the past century, from 1914 until today, are obvious. We have to enable the young generation to draw these lessons themselves and put them into practice in the decades to come. However, as a consequence of the prolonged crisis we run the risk of losing a whole generation of young Europeans which may turn their back on Europe because they perceive it as the cause of their misery. Against this background, the alarming youth unemployment especially in Southern Europe is not tolerable!

Therefore, we call for immediate European measures to tackle youth unemployment in the spirit of European solidarity.