The EU has time and again been accused of a democratic deficit, excessive centralization and regulation and a heavy bureaucracy, far 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 or at different speeds.
Since various member countries have not adopted certain
EU treaties in the past, a Europe at variable geometry already exists in various fields, in particular the European Economic Area (EEA, a free trade zone of 31 countries, which involves the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital), the euro zone including 19 EU countries with a common currency, and the Schengen area (28 EU and non-EU countries with a largely free movement of people).
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, 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 this 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 the politically integrated core union, e.g. its democracy, the rights and obligations of the citizens incl. the European citizens’ initiative, the election and duties of institutions (Commission, Parliament, Courts), the rights and obligations of member countries and the Union, the admission and withdrawal of member countries, the transfer of competence from member countries to the Union and Constitutional amendments. Compared with the existing EU – the core union shall be smaller, more centralized and more democratic.
Those member countries that do not belong simultaneously also the core union retain their sovereignty, their political
structures and legislation (incl. their own currency and refugee policy), their legal system, Constitution and laws, while at the same time benefitting from a strong and profitable economic cooperation with the core union, incl. the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital (4 fundamental freedoms).
Each country will decide according to national laws on its membership in the common market. The members will determine all the fundamental issues in a new treaty, e.g. the election and competences of its institutions, the obligations and competences of member countries and of the common market and the admission and withdrawal of member countries.
Starting with the present Single Market of the EU, new tasks can be transferred to the common market (centralization), but existing competencies can also be delegated back to the member states (decentralization, for example in the area of the four freedoms or of tasks that can be dealt with just as well by member countries, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity). The new common market shall become more democratic, subsidiary and less bureaucratic than the current Single Market of the European Union.
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 realization of a Europe close to its citizens at variable geometry requires a great number of citizens who unequivocally express their expectations, the EU leaders to take their citizens seriously and to implement an open-ended, democratic, transparent transformation process to elaborate the necessary legal basis:
will elaborate a Constotion. The citizens will vote on this Constitution (in accordance with the procedure prescribed therein, e.g. a referendum in each member state).