2 – What awaits Europe – Toward Federalism ?
WHAT Excerpt of the Conference given by Christopher H. Cordey, CEO of Futuratinow at The 2013 World Future 2013 Conference on July 21 in Chicago.
In Global Europe 2050, published in 2012 by the European Commission, three scenarios were outlined : In the first scenario, Nobody cares, Europe just muddles along with no clear vision or direction. In the second scenario, EU under Threat, EU faces a Global economic decline followed by reactionary protectionist measures. where in the last scenario, EU Renaissance, EU continues to enlarge and become stronger.
It consolidates its political, fiscal and military integration. There is a fourth scenario envisioned by Augur, a collaborative Research European Projet, that might blend into the EU Renaissance scenario. Federalism, could prove to be as a possible way forward for Europe. Federalism is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial governments. But can federalism provide solutions to the EU’s current crises of confidence and democratic legitimacy ?
Can the Swiss Federalism model and experience point the way forward ? Switzerland is a very prosperous small country of 8 millions people located in the center of Europe. The country – beloved by China with which it signed an historical free trade agrement – owes its current prosperity, security (or least perceived) and stability to a certain number of factors, of which :
- Its size and strategic geographical location.
- Direct Democracy – « We (citizen) are the State »
- Subsidiarity Principle – « Complete decentralisation »
- Non-Professional Politicians
- Safe Haven for Capital and Brainpower …
- Middle-Class Mentality
- and of course for its Neutrality
What unify a country of 26 cantons, 4 nationals languages without any ethnic, linguistic identity is its common history and a unique political system. The Swiss Federal Constitution declares the cantons to be sovereign to the extent their sovereignty is not limited by federal law. The cantons retain all powers and competencies not delegated to the Confederation by the Constitution.
Even more democratic…any voter has the power through initiative or referendum to propose a new federal law or ask modifying the federal consitution, pertaining the minimum required number of signatures are gathered. Will the existing European Union morph into a European Federation ? At least some politicans – of which Mr José Barroso the President of the European Commission – pro-federalism advocacy groups, political parties and speciliased foreign affairs media – are bringing back this possible scenario under the limelight. But there is no quick fix. It took centuries for Switzerland to build a federation. But back in 1848 internet was not existing, then it is doubtful that the young jobless European will be so patient.
More than ever, the future of Europe holds in the hands of its young generation. Its obvious of course. The growing malaise among disillusioned, dispassionate and “hope-less” young European is a risk not to be minimized by the national States and the EU. With only 0.7 % of the European budget spent on youth projects
… Brussels technocats might wish to quickly get the pulse in the streets, to then implement viable, engaging and pragmatic solution to not only create job in fine, but rebuild trust and hope. Then, what former french prime minister Mr Raymond Barre was once saying to Dr. Klaus Schwab, founder of the WEF « In the future, you will not be offered a job; you will have to create your own job » – makes a lot of sense today.
The European governments pledges (€8 billion) and the European Investment Bank (€18 billion) loans – to “combat unemployment in Europe’s worst-hit countries” are great, but they are temporary short-term Band-Aid; gesticulation some might say. Up to the professional, well established European politicians to tap into the extraordinary resources and imagination of 6 million minds. At least this might engage them into a worthwhile, constructive and forward looking common project, ultimately helping them to regain some dignity.
As China economic growth is slowing down faster than expected, the decade ahead will be extremely volatile and bumpy. With the coming European Parliament election next may, the young European have a tremendous opportunity to voice their concerns, but above all to engage constructively to shape the future they want. Up to them.
But, empowering the new generation might not be sufficient. EU needs to rebrand and reposition itself. The narrative must change. What if Europe was repositioning itself as the « World’s Nr 1 Federation (Union) of States » ? instead of competing on economic indicators ? and be downgraded to 3rd economy after China and USA in few years ?
In a NUTSHELL:
- Europe is a young, peacefull Union of 28 States. EU was awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. It is in a mess, under stress, not in decline but in transformation.
- Europe has a symbolic meaning for the whole world. It is a symbol and a prototype for living peacefully together despite contradictions and opposing interests.
- EU needs a new transformational leadership French+German ? not a technocratic one at the may 2014 european election.
- Reform NOW ! Banking + Fiscal + Competitiveness + Political Union. Eventually toward a European Federation (EF) by 2020, inspired from the Swiss model ?
- Europe needs a new, thruthful but inspirational narrative.
EU should Reposition/Rebrand as «The World’s #1 Federation (Union) of States» in order to avoid becoming the “3rd largest Economy after China and USA”. Blue Ocean strategy.
The young European generation must become self-reliant, more entrepreurial, more mobile and above all engage in civic life. Up to them.
Imagine tapping into the mind of 6 million young bright mind ! What about crowdsourcing «Europe Vision 2040» among the young jobless European ? A great way to channel positive energy into a constructrive, common, and forward looking project; ultimately enabling the hope-less young to contribute, then regain some hope and dignity.
By Christopher H. Cordey, CEO @Futuratinow. www.futuratinow.com Foresight, Strategy and Capacity building consultancy Geneva, Switzerland. At the crossroads of #Singularity #Gamification #Luxury #Learning #GlobalAffairs and #Sustainability. As a strategic foresight advisor Christopher helps C-level executive to anticipate, design and influence the future.
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