Milano 28 November 2004

Dear friends,

we are following very closely and with much interest the debate in France on the ratification of the constitutional Treaty and we have read the Appel pour le Oui à la Constitution européenne ( promoted by the Jeunes Européens together with other organizations. We are addressing you with this Open Letter because we believe that the issues currently debated in France, and particularly the need for a strong political initiative for a European federation, can have an impact on the whole of Europe, including our country, which is more and more on a political and economic rift.

We note that, not by chance, a growing number of French political leaders ­ both in the side of the OUI (as Mauroy, Balladur) and on the side of the NO (as Fabius, Emmannuelli) ­ have indicated that whatever the result of the referendum will be, the re-launch of European political integration depends on whether a group of countries, an avant-garde, with France and Germany at the forefront, is able to take on for a Europe of concentric circles to try to conciliate the ever increasing enlargement of the European Union with the need of a strong and effective political will at its centre. As we know, the idea is not new. It was already put forward in the past by President Mitterrand, by Valery Giscard d'Estaing and Jacques Delors and in Germany by the CDU at the time of Chancellor Kohl (namely in the Schauble-Lamers paper of 1994 for the start of the single currency). The same idea was raised again by the German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer at the Humboldt University in 2000. However, up to now, such initiatives have been short-lived and unsuccessful and, at their best, they have produced only proposal for so-called enhanced cooperation, which themselves have remained on paper. But all this is not a good reason to resign to the idea that the chances to fight for the political unity of Europe are over, as Michel Rocard on Le Figaro (16 Novembre), while defending the OUI in the French referendum, declares that "il faudrait tuer le cadavre des "Etats-Unis d'Europe".

It is self-evident that, without an initiative from France, first of all towards Germany, no genuine re-launch of the political unification of our continent can ever start. It should also be increasingly evident, especially in a country with such a great historical tradition as France, that ­ whatever the result of the referendum on the constitutional Treaty will be ­ the time to choose between Europe-espace and Europe-puissance is running short. This is why it is vital and urgent, even during the debate on the referendum on the constitutional Treaty, to put on the table the issue of the role and objectives of an avant-guard of countries to build up the first core of a European federal State, a "federation in the European confederation" (to use the expression coined some years ago by Giscard d'Estaing), of course open to all other countries that are willing to join in the future.

On our part, we don't intend to resign ourselves to a divided and powerless Europe and, even among many difficulties, we will continue to fight for a European federation, as JEF-Lombardy militants and in the framework the Committee for a European Federal State, constituted by the initiative of a group of federalists in Italy and other countries. We will continue to push this debate forward and to denounce the hypocrisy and the lies of those politicians who speak of the need for more Europe but then do nothing to pursue it and their responsibility for the non-existence of Europe. It is up to you to consider these arguments in your campaign. We can only confirm that we are available to debate with you these issues and any other common political initiative, if and when you will judge it useful to our common struggle.

With federalist greetings,

Matteo Marioni
Secretary GFE-Lombardy