Manifesto
                    “The difficulty lies not so much in the new ideas as in escaping from the old ones.”
                       (Keynes)



EAFT - MANIFESTO ON INTERDEPENDENCE


What is EAFT, our home?

* EAFT is our common home, built on a two-pronged choice.

A choice based on reason, on one resolve: in European matters, to spread our heritage and our values because Europe is our horizon, of all of us and of all those to whom we will hand the baton.

A choice inspired by passion, for interdependence, for full respect for the diversity of people and cultures, in a quest for a better life in togetherness. In this respect we accept that the end of one model of European construction doesn’t mean the end of Europe.

* Three considerations draw us together :

* We subscribe to a democratic, legitimised and integrated architecture for
Europe

* We subscribe to humanist values, handed down since the Enlightenment, inherited from them who “tried to replace a civilisation based on the notion of duty, duties to God, to the Prince… by a civilisation based on the notion of rights: the right to an individual conscience, the right to criticise, the right to reason, the rights of man and of the citizen.” 1

* We subscribe to the principles of free will, freedom of choice, of secularism.
Tis spi

This spirit of the enlightenment, these principles will in time, even in the darkest hours of our history, prove their perennially by re-emerging with every new period of peace, democracy, justice, thus tightening once again the bonds between Europeans.


Is this enough? Probably not!

We form a community that stands for values, but better to defend them in the European context, we need a community with objectives and results.

Therefore we need to seek new and equally strong converging ideas about the political, cultural, economic, social and spiritual dimensions of project EUROPE as we work it out.

It would have been presumptuous, fastidious, disproportionate to want to cover in one single document and in specific terms this whole array of policies regarding citizens (rights and duties, defence of rights, information policy, culture, consumer protection,…), across the board policies (regional, social progress, tax, competition, environment,…), sectoral policies (industry, energy, agriculture, research and technology,…) and external policies.

However, what we can do is to draw up a very concrete check-list that is consensual and shared by EAFT members.

The sole ambition of this manifesto2 is to offer a fulcrum for scrutinising diverse European policies.

Also, let us remember!

The great ethical, cultural, social or economic battles that those who went before us fought and that we fight, have led to laws being passed and implemented only by dint of alliances with other players.

If we really want to make an impact at European level, such alliances will have to be found , selectively , depending on the issues at hand.






WHY A MANIFESTO?

Initially to encourage EAFT to clarify the project Europe, one of its common objectives.

* Because too many citizens’ support for Europe has been badly shaken.

* Because a crisis with many forms is causing the edifice to crack, with :

* a crisis of democracy in Europe “ (…) affecting both the legitimacy of decisions and the authority of those taking them “ 3
* a developmental crisis in society “ (…) linked to the appearance of new technologies, globalisation and its impact, the management of public and private debt, the financialisation of our economies (…)4 revealing
* a surge in inequality everywhere, with as a direct consequence the explosion of xenophobia, suggesting withdrawal, identity and homogeneity as the only answers to socio-economic unease : “them and us” “them and me”

and

* Because, given this state of affairs, a common check-list makes for stronger convergence in the dialogue between our members.



“Fundamentally, European construction has led to freedom being given where it shouldn’t have been and none being given where it should have been.” (Robert Salais)


EAFT MANIFESTO ON INTERDEPENDENCE BETWEEN EUROPEAN CITIZENS


Having regard to the European Treaties and the different charters on fundamental rights;

Convinced that the end of a certain model of European construction, which is in crisis today, does not mean the end of Europe;

Drawing inspiration from the Convivialist manifesto;

Aware of the need for a consensual check-list for members to analyse European policies;

Affirming the need for significant reform of the current model of European integration;

The members of the European Association for Free Thought have adopted the following principles:

* Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it reinforces European citizens’ rights and duties and “enables every citizen best to affirm their unique and shaping individuality, by developing their capacities, their ability to be and act without harming others, towards equal freedom”, while consolidating the ethos of co-responsibility (interdependence) incumbent on all (states, companies, individuals) in tomorrow’s world;

* Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it recognises one single Humanity “honoured in the person of each of its citizens, whatever the differences of culture, religion, nationality, skin colour, gender or sexual orientation, language”;

* Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it enables each European citizen to express their convictions, to differ, to oppose, provided this rivalry is fruitful and does not jeopardise the fundamental rights of other European citizens;

* Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it embraces the principles above, as part of a “Europeanisation” of civil and political rights – which are in the Treaties already to some extent and are part of the acquis - but also economic, social, cultural and environmental rights (for all living things);

* Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it ensures that at European elections the fundamental rights and values of the European treaties are fully recognised and respected;

* Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it goes hand in hand with a fundamental reshaping of the concept and the mechanisms of Lisbon treaty subsidiarity; “At stake is not so much that public decision-taking is decentralised “to the nearest level” while remaining master of the game, but to rely on the freedom coming with autonomy of persons and intermediate collectivities that make up the body politic, for that freedom to start realising the common good. (…) Subsidiarity starts from the bottom, from all of us, for the construction of the body politic (to this end the centre shall provide rights and resources to the different levels of collective action), and not for the top to manipulate and involve, by different means (such as proximity) members of the community to achieve predefined aims over which the latter have no control. (…) Genuine subsidiarity is meaningful only together with federalism and the primacy of autonomy” 5

* Every European policy is legitimate and creditable if it strives for an integration model that rejects the postulate of the primacy of economic freedoms over other freedoms and “adds the criteria of solidarity and distributive justice emanating from the body politic. Social rights are a must , distinct from the objective of free competition and result from one’s membership of the body politic”6

* Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it is based on measures for social justice and dignified work, based on mechanisms that first ensure equal opportunities in access to education and health, and further on, the operation of mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth such that will reinforce the three principles above;

* Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it lays down rules, methods and reliable indicators on employment and social imbalances, anticipating the social impact of economic shocks and avoiding social and fiscal dumping;

* Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it ensures the equilibrium between private and public goods and interests and “applies a policy that preserves and protects public goods that are common to all European citizens 7; recognises, guarantees and protects numerical networks as the tool for democratisation and solution-inventing these networks represent. Treating the latter as a common good, support shall be given through a policy providing access, free if possible, neutrality and sharing.”


SUMMARY OF THE CHECK-LIST
Every European policy is legitimate and credible if it:

* reinforces the rights and obligations of European citizens whilst consolidating the ethos of co-responsibility (interdependence) applicable to all;
* recognises one single humanity
* enables each European citizen to express their convictions, to dissent, to oppose, provided this rivalry is fruitful and does not jeopardise the fundamental rights of other European citizens;
* embraces the above principles as part of a “Europeanisation” of civil and political rights – in the Treaties already to some extent and part of the acquis – but also economic, social, cultural and environmental rights (for all living things)
* ensures that at European elections the fundamental rights and values of the European treaties are fully recognised and respected;
* goes hand in hand with a reshaping of the concepts and mechanisms of subsidiarity that are in the Treaty of Lisbon;
* strives for an integration model that rejects the postulate of the primacy of economic freedoms over others and adds criteria of solidarity and distributive justice emanating from the body politic. Social rights are a must, distinct from the objective of free competition and result from one’s membership of the body politic. 8
* is based on measures for social justice and dignified work;
* lays down , methods and reliable indicators on employment and social imbalances, anticipating the social impact of economic shocks and avoiding social and fiscal dumping;
* ensures the equilibrium between private and public goods.

 

 



1 Paul HAZARD, La crise de la conscience européenne 1680-1715, Fayard, Le livre de poche, p. 9

2 Some principles in it were gleaned from the MANIFESTE CONVIVIALISTE (Ed. le bord de l’eau, June 2013). This project brought together some 40 representatives from many schools of thought and action. Aim : to map out a possible global future by seeking the biggest common denominator.
Our EAFT manifesto is the fruit of a consultation of EAFT members end 2013. After a review by the regional sections, it was debated and enhanced at the April 2014 general assembly.

3
Sylvie Goulard, Mario Monti : De la démocratie en Europe.Looking further.” Flammarion, 2012,p.14.

4 Sylvie Goulard,Mario Monti, id.

5 Robert Salais, Le viol d’Europe. Enquête sur la disparition d’une idée,PUF, 2013, pp. 388-89. Salais notes that in Maastricht, the British weren’t mistaken about the meaning given to subsidiarity, i.a. by Delors, and included in the Treaties of Lisbon, when they dubbed the current concept as “an ugly term but a useful concept”

6 Robert SALAIS, op.cit. , p. 325

7 See on this Stefan COLIGNON’s analysis : “Pour la république européenne”, Odile Jacob 2008, of the concept of public goods and his theory of the “European public weal” (inspired by the Latin Res publica)

8 Robert SALAIS, op.cit., p. 325.