Mars Di Bartolomeo, president of the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies, has rejected the suggestion now is the time to forge a federal union of European states, clarifying an assertion to that effect wrongly attributed to him over the weekend.
On Sunday morning, Italian daily ‘La Stampa’ published an open letter by the presidents of the parliaments of Luxembourg, Germany, Italy and France, calling for enhanced European integration via the creation of a Federal Union of States.
While the letter had been based on a previous initiative by Laura Boldrini, president of Italy’s parliament, that was endorsed by the other presidents, it failed to specify that the parliamentary presidents of Luxembourg and Germany had not signed off on the need for a federal union at this time.
The letter – signed by Di Bartolomeo, Claude Bartolone of the French National Assembly, Boldrini and Norbert Lammert of the German Bundestag – argues that closer cooperation will be vital in tackling problems that no single EU state can resolve on its own, such as immigration, terrorism and climate change.
Much of the text published in La Stampa was recycled from a 2015 declaration ‘Greater European Integration: The Way Forward’, which the four presidents signed and which states that “the current moment offers an opportunity to move forward with European political integration, which could lead to a federal union of states”.
To date, the 2015 letter has been signed by 15 parliamentary presidents.
Di Bartolomeo and Lammert, however, have not changed their stance on the timing.
They reiterated that the EU may at some point move towards a federal union but that, at this time, neither supported this action, with Di Bartolomeo telling Wort/EN “there seem to be differences in our priorities”.
Di Bartolomeo and Lammert agreed that, at present, anion of states with increased competences would be more appropriate than a federal union.
Treaty of Rome
The letter was published in the run-up to a gathering of parliamentary leaders in Rome on March 17 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community.
The EU is at a critical time in its history, with Brexit looming and populist movements gaining ground within Europe.
The parliamentary presidents are looking to use this gathering as an opportunity to regain support for the European project.
“In this perspective,” the letter says, “the anniversary of Rome can be a good opportunity to revitalise the spirit of the founding Treaties of the Community of European states.”