Europe: A New Version is Available

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The future of Europe is a republican one. Europe needs a single democratic government and a transnational system guaranteeing social security. So says the initiative European Republic. If you want to discuss the views and proposals of the campaign, please leave a comment below...

By European Republic

We are outraged. We see Europe falling apart in front of our very eyes. The politicians of yesterday are sacrificing the principles of equality and dignity on the altar of cheap populism. Europe is in dire need of radical change in a broad range of areas including social, financial and energy policies. But because of a lack of courage, solutions are being left off the table, replaced instead with fear and mistrust. Previous generations inherited a Europe ravaged by war. They left us institutions meant to unite and safeguard the region. But how can they tell us Europe is about peace, when in Ukraine, a war is raging and thousands are dying in the Mediterranean; that Europe is about prosperity while millions are jobless; that Europe is about unity while Southern Europe is blamed for what is essentially a systemic problem. We want to take the European project to the next level: a new version is available.

Not in our name

Germany’s continued insistence on strict austerity as the only way to solve Europe’s problems is destroying the bonds that tie us together. It pits countries against one another, creating rivalry where solidarity is needed, and establishes a hierarchy among nations. The great European project, once a positive model for voluntary and meaningful cooperation, has devolved into a creditor-debtor relationship. We do not subscribe to such condescending and destructive policies.

When thousands across Europe protest against the institutions formerly known as the “Troika”, it is clear that something is fundamentally broken in Europe. The victories of populist parties across the continent, from France to the Netherlands and from Germany to Hungary, are further evidence of the damage being done.

Fear and alienation risks driving people further into the hands of Front National, Pegida and their like. But instead of recognising their responsibility for the European Project, politicians chase votes from the fringes of the political spectrum.

'Who we are

We are your friends, your neighbours, your siblings, the passers-by on the street. We are the thousands who want to become millions of Europeans, convinced that to achieve success, risks must be taken.

Many of us have lived abroad, speak more than one language, have fallen in love with people from across country-lines and hardly remember what border controls feel like. Europe is our home. We might have taken it for granted up until now. But not any more. We understand that now is the time to rethink sovereignty and democracy beyond the nation-state.

In this globalised world, we are part of something bigger than our own, interconnected countries. Re-nationalisation contradicts this very fact. We are part of one Europe - without being forced to give up our regional or national identities.

What we want

Our plan for the future Europe is a republican one. To achieve political equality and social justice as well as fundamental human rights, essential changes towards a truly democratic European system are needed. Amongst those are:

  • A single European democratic government with separated powers elected through transnational ballots.
  • A transnational system guaranteeing social security -including unemployment insurance- whether we work in France or Poland today, in Spain tomorrow and irrespective of the nationality of our spouse.

It is time to be courageous and to try something new to create a different Europe.


Benjamin Zeeb, Project for Democratic Union, Daphne Büllesbach, European Alternatives, Victoria Kupsch, European Democracy Lab, Nora Rathje, European Alternatives, Jonathan Buhl, European School of Governance

Early Signatories

Gesine Schwan, Political scientist; Robert Menasse, Writer, Author of "Der Europäische Landbote"; Ulrike Guérot, Political scientist; Thomas Piketty; Economist, Author of "Capital"; Brendan Simms, Historian; Vincent Immanuel Herr, Journalist; Andre Wilkens, Author of "Analog ist das neue Bio"; Linn Selle, Awarded “Woman of Europe” (2014); Cherian Grundmann, Co-Founder 'OneEurope'; Michael Thoss, Executive Member Allianz Foundation; Sigrid Gareis, Secretary General Academy of Arts; Nina Jurisch, Co-Initiator "Dispute over Europe"; Philipp Sälhoff, Project Manager, Progressives Zentrum

Want to sign the petition?

...please follow this link: European Republic


  • The strict austerity policy is not only crippling nations economies but it is preventing democratically elected governments from implementing the will of the voters. Of course, you can't wipe out a nation's responsibilities and obligations to others just by changing government, but at the same time ordinary working people see little hope for the future of their own countries if their votes, ideological votes for a better future result in nothing. The whole point of a country's democracy ceases, it becomes what us Brits used to call "a protectorate" - in other words, you are free to vote, but we'll tell you what to do.

    • Except if a citizen party shuffles the political cards again and forces the establishment into a self-redefinition ;)

      • I live in Spain and the example of Citizen Parties here - as in Greece - was to be expected. But the situation in Spain is not the same as that of Greece. I see little austerity here. The govt made some major cuts to public spending, and the unemployed youth went abroad. The high level of unemployment here is amongst the South American construction labourers who came here 10 years ago. But Spain is no longer in Recession. The citizen parties - Ciudadanos and Podemos - gained votes because of corruption - years of corruption. However if Spain were in the same level of unpayable debt, It's citizen parties wouldn't be able to follow through any of their manifestos. Not that they can now. It was regional voting, all they can do us veto and block the leading PP Party...which is certainly better than before. However, they will have to prove themselves economically viable if they want to win the General Election.

  • AlexSem ist dafür

    What is striking in the text is the fact that we are currently witnessing a misinterpretation of Europe and what it stands for. If austerity in favor of competitiveness is the only message to expect from Brussels, it is little wonder that the European Republic remains an inconceivable step for a large part of Europeans.

    However, instead of turning their back to Europe, citizens need to consider their ability to restore this misinterpretation. And despite the fallacies, we must acknowledge that we already have an exceptional democracy in Europe, which we need to stand for and enhance. What has been achieved so far is not to reject.

    The question facing Europeans is how to realize that creating the best possible conditions for a fair governance in Europe is up to them. Everyone could raise the chances of achieving that by engaging to the debate. And that's what in my opinion this initiative calls for.

    • I agree with you, and therefore think change has to come from major crises.

      "Die Unterdrückung der Freiheit provoziert schnell Widerstand. Die Ausbeutung der Freiheit dagegen nicht."

      We need to stop the EU from basing all its decisions on making a couple of polls and interpreting the results into something the Commission likes! This is how the Commission does it, even when a referendum rejects it, as Margot Wallström puts it after the referendum in Ireland 2008.

  • In my opinion it needs a change on several levels for a new European way. We need more democracy but we also need a way out of the laissez-faire economy and we need a common European public or better a common European identity.

    A strong parliament is a very important change, but can’t ensure the development of unity, as we see for example in the Iraq or at the Scottish Referendum. As long as there is no common identity, a society will always be threatened to fall apart, if there are any problems. Moreover a strong parliament does not ensure a good policy. The most powerful parliament is useless, as long as the majority of our society for example believes that cheap energy is more important than a clean nature.

    Yes, we need a stronger common democracy, a stronger European Parliament, but nevertheless, we should not think that this solves all of our problems in the EU!