When the French writer Victor Hugo wrote these lines in his own prophetic manner in the middle of the 19th century in his work "Océan - Tas de pierres", he could hardly have guessed to what extent suffering would still come over Europe and the World, until his vision would begin to come true.
„I represent a party which does not yet exist: the party of revolution, civilization. This party will make the twentieth century. There will issue from it first the United States of Europe, then the United States of the World.“
Very early after the end of the Second World War, federalists from 14 european countries and the USA met in september 1946 in Hertenstein in the Swiss canton of Lucerne for a conference at which
the Hertenstein Programme was discussed and
decided upon. In 12 theses it was argued for the formation of a european federation, in which the participating states transfer part of their sovereignty rights to a federal community.
This federation should be integrated as a European Union into the UN and form a regional body within the meaning of Article 52 of the charter of the United Nations. This should guarantee that intergovernmental disputes are settled without violence. The federation should provide the appropriate framework for rebuilding and democratising Europe and for peacefully advancing development in the economic, technical, social and cultural fields.
Since then, the Hertenstein Programme has been regarded as the cornerstone of the movement of european federalists.
In its first thesis, the Hertenstein Programme already sees the European Union as an essential component of every real world union. Why we urgently need such a real world union, we have explained
on a special website. According to thesis 5, peoples outside Europe should also be able to join the EU. According to thesis 12, a united Europe should serve as a model and model for a world
alliance of peoples.
In order to emphasise the importance of the vision of a world union, World Federalists met in August 1947 for an international congress in Montreux on Lake Geneva. Due to justified criticism of the UN's beginnings, they discussed and published the Montreux Declaration. However, national power interests, ideological differences and the upcoming Cold War made such plans hopeless at first. Despite initial successes, many subsequent efforts disappeared into political insignificance. Only the Movement of World Federalists was able to assert itself thanks to serious work as an NGO at the UN. The Union of European Federalists is one of them.
There is therefore a fundamental agreement between the Federalists of Europe and the World Federalists to organise a future World Union according to the principles of federalism. The European Union is a success story, but not yet a federal state in the sense of Victor Hugo's vision. That is why it makes sense for professing Europeans to commit themselves primarily to this goal and to react to attacks from within as well as from without. Europe can already assert its global claim as a positive model and help other alliances, such as the African Union, or support the emergence of a Middle East Federation. Nor should continental borders be an obstacle. In contrast to former colonialism, imperialism and today's capitalist globalisation, this would be for the benefit of all. In this way, the European Union could gradually become the democratic World Union.
It is imperative that parliaments, governments and civil society take a more serious interest in the future prospects of humanity and strive for clear medium- and long-term goals. Time is of the essence. World problems are constantly on the increase. If the pressure of events increases, democratic nation states, the European Union and the United Nations fail, the chances of founding a world federation based on solidarity are missed, other forces may have to take over the rescue of the world. Then justice, freedom, human rights and democracy are unlikely to play too much of a role.
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