The EU has time and again been accused of a democratic deficit, excessive centralization and regulation and a heavy bureaucracy, disconected from the citizens.
Many critics and sceptics of the EU expect remedy from a transformation of the Union into a more democratic Europe at variable geometry. Since various member countries have not adopted certain EU treaties in the past, a Europe at variable geometry does already exists in various important fields:
The new Europe shall be open to all European countries. All the citizens are invited to determine this Europe and to decide on its important issues. The new Europe shall thus be democratic, subsidiary and flexible.
To start with, the citizens throughout Europe shall be asked, in a Europe-wide referendum, to determine their country’s place in their new Europe at variable geometry, i.e. in one of its three circles (core union, common market, free trade area):
Members of the core union will have to yield additional substantial parts of their sovereignty to the Union, starting with its refugee, economic and financial policies (to cope with the refugees and to stabilize the euro), but then also its foreign and defence policy (increased centralization).
The Constitution, which shall be elaborated according to democratic principles, will allow citizens to define all the essential elements of EU*, in particular:
1. The rights and obligations of the citizens incl. the European citizens’ initiative;
2. The election and duties of the institutions (Commission, Parliament, Courts);
3. The rights and obligations of member countries and the Union;
4. The admission and withdrawal of member countries;
5. The transfer of competence from member countries to the Union;
6. Constitutional amendments.
Compared with the existing EU – the core union is likely to be smaller, more centralized and more democratic.
Those EU* member countries that do not belong to the core union constitute the European Economic Area (EEA).
They retain to a large extent their sovereignty, their political structures and legislation (incl. their own currency and refugee policy), their legal system, Constitution and laws.
At the same time, they benefit from a strong and profitable economic cooperation with the core union, incl. the free movement of goods, services and capital, but not of persons.
The new EES will be more democratic, subsidiary and less bureaucratic than the current EES.
The large European Free Trade Association shall be open to all European countries between Vladivostok and Reykjavik, incl. Russia and possibly also countries from neighbouring regions.
Members benefit from the advantages of belonging to the largest free trade area in the world, while retaining their political independence. The free trade treaty will in particular define the rights and duties of member countries and the admission of new members.
The citizens across Europe play the central role in implementing the EU* scenario. They give the impetus with "Our New Europe". They decide on the new direction and the place of their country in the new Europe in a first Europe-wide referendum, and with the election of politicians who are ready to follow their constituency.
The citizens also have the last word on a new European constitution and on the crises (Brexit, Euro, refugees, Ukraine), to use them as opportunities on the way to a new, diverse, democratic Europe. The result is a Europe of the citizens, with and for the citizens. The European peace project becomes reality.