1 September 2021
This report is to inform you of the progress in preparations for the online Citizens’ Convention we will be launching on 2 October 2021.
FAEF is not a political organisation but a federation that aims to promote, together with federalist and pro-European organisations, the pursuit of a federal Europe based on scientific principles. Principles derived from constitutional law, systems theory, and political philosophy. FAEF concentrates on the way in which a constitutional federal Europe should be built. Taking political positions is the responsibility of the politicians who will later take place in that federal ‘house’.
We are organising the Citizens’ Convention along the lines of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. At that time, the undemocratic and ineffective cooperation of thirteen states – former colonies of England – on the basis of a confederal treaty was radically rejected and exchanged for the world’s first federal constitution. A constitution of only seven articles, sufficient for a democratic federal state and strong enough to grow into fifty states that have gradually become the most important player in geopolitics. This is the core of our Citizens’ Convention: to say goodbye to the EU-treaties, and finally work with a federal constitution of, by and for the people, based on scientific facts and arguments.
The 55 members of the Philadelphia Convention met physically in Philadelphia from May to September 1787. We do it online. The members – and especially their main speakers – were familiar with the writings of political philosophers (all Europeans!) and drew from that source the elements with which they composed a federal constitution. We too are familiar with these precious sources of European political philosophers and want to do justice to them after two hundred years of constitutional fiddling by politicians who considered nationally-driven interests – encapsulated in treaties – of a higher order than concern for common European interests, based on a constitution.
The Philadelphia Convention of 55 members is for us a symbol and metaphor for the fact that a fundamental paradigm shift can be achieved by a small group of people with knowledge and passion. But we do not want to limit the group to 55. From 1 September, we will make our initiative known to thousands of Europeans and also people outside Europe. Anyone is free to register as a participant in the Convention. That is why we speak of 55+. In this way, the Convention will be composed partly of people with knowledge of elements of federal state building and partly of federalists and other enthusiastic citizens who want to think and advise on possible improvements to
Information to EU institutions
In the course of September, we will inform the three main EU institutions of our decision to launch the Citizens’ Convention on 2 October. These are Members of the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Council. Any of them wishing to participate in our Convention will be welcome, provided they have officially registered and returned the signed Protocol. By doing so, they give a clear signal that they too consider the time has come to say goodbye to working with treaties and to take the step towards a federal constitution.
For the composition of the 55+ Convention apply diversity of persons from as many countries of the EU as possible, from countries outside the EU that want to become a member of the EU, from regions in the EU that pursue independence and that would like to realise sovereign status as a member of a federal European state. We are also looking closely at the diversity of scientific aspects of federal state formation.
So far, we have not been able to register scientists or federalists from the following countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg,, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
We would appreciate it if you could make suggestions so that participants from these countries could also register for the Convention. Please provide names, credentials, and email addresses. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two types of members
We distinguish between two types of members of the Convention. First, a select group of 55+ members who will consider possible amendments to the draft ten-article federal constitution. This group is the parallel to the Philadelphia Convention of 55 members.
And further a group of persons – whatever large – who have registered independently as members of the Convention with the aim of discussing amendments from the members of the 55+ group. The method of working will soon be explained in a separate message.
For discussions we are installing a Discussion Forum in the form of a Facebook page. In that forum, members who propose amendments can discuss them with each other – and with those who do not belong to the 55+ group. On the basis of this discussion, the proposers of the amendments may decide to amend their amendment.
Draft federal constitution
You can already see the current draft https://www.faef.eu/en_gb/the-constitution-2/ . Every member of the Convention is free to start studying this constitution now. But to keep some order, we will start improving it from 2 October on.
Between 2 October 2021 and the end of May 2022 we will discuss the draft of our federal constitution in eleven parts. First the Preamble and then the ten Articles. Together, eleven parts of three weeks each. The first two weeks of each part are dedicated to sending recommendations to our board. In the third week, the board decides which recommendation for improvement is indeed an improvement. The twelfth part is devoted to deliberating how to submit the final version of the Preamble and ten Articles to the people of Europe for ratification. The FAEF General Assembly decides on the overall outcome before we start the ratification procedure.
Ratification and funds
After the General Assembly has expressed its opinion on the draft, the process of ratification begins. We want to reach all eligible voters of the countries within the EU, and of neighbouring countries that are not (yet) members of the EU. To that end, we will need income. Therefore, I ask you if you are willing to support this process with Donations (see www.faef.eu) or with advice how we could approach donor organisations to realise this process of democratization of Europe with a good financial basis.
Article 20 Lisbon Treaty
An important aspect of the Ratification Process is the way in which we are applying the working methods of the Philadelphia Convention. That Convention was set up by the Confederation Congress with the task of improving the Confederation Treaty. Ignoring that mandate, the Convention threw the treaty in the wastebasket and, on its own authority, created a constitution of, by and for the citizens of the thirteen states. Not only did they disregard their mandate. They also took the liberty of not first submitting their federal constitution for approval by the Confederate Congress, but immediately offering it for ratification to the citizens of the thirteen states. In a process of several months, those citizens ratified this constitution. The Convention had even decided that if nine of the thirteen states ratified the Constitution, then the United States of America would be a reality. But that was not necessary. All thirteen states participated during 1787-1788. Only Rhode Island took more time and ratified on 29 May 1790 .
It is now or never. Citizens themselves must take the initiative to join Europe with the already existing 27 federal states that already house 42+% of the world’s population. We even go so far as to say, like the Philadelphia Convention, that if the people of nine EU-Member States ratify its constitution, the United States of Europe will be a reality. We base that on Article 20 of the EU Lisbon Treaty.
Video call on 2 October 2021
On 2 October, on behalf of the FAEF Board, I will launch the Convention through a video. On that day you will receive the URL on which you can click to watch that video.
With kind regards,
Dr. Leo Klinkers
President Federal Alliance of European Federalists