The Common Interests Route

7. The Common Interests Route

Why do people create a federal state? Because they understand that individual states cannot, or cannot any longer, take care of common interests of a group of states that need to live together and to act jointly. In other Routes metaphors in the private domain served to explain this phenomenon.

For instance the metaphor of the common interests of owners of an apartment in an apartment building. No single owner can take care of maintaining the roof of the building, or of the lifts, of the heating or air-conditioning. This taking care of common interests is organised through uniting the owners in an association, with a board that takes care of the common interests, financed by a monthly contribution from the owners. From a legal point of view we see here an association, but from an organisational point of view this is a federal organisation. All owners remain sovereign in their own apartment. Their autonomy is guaranteed. They do not loose anything. Moreover: they get something extra: the certainty that someone else will be taking care of their common interests.

The same applies in almost all sport organisations in the world. No single football club is able to decide to what team to play next week. Having an agenda, indicating who will be playing against whom, throughout the football season, is a common interest for all clubs. Therefore they create a national league. Its legal basis is – again – a set of associations, but from an organisational point of view they compose a federal organisation. That is why the UEFA is the largest federal organisation in Europe, and the FIFA the largest one worldwide.

At present 40% of the world population is living in federal states. Their basis being a federal constitution. Within that federal constitution a limited enumeration of common interests is the heart and soul of the federal state. What do the heart and soul indicate? They represent the knowledge that the anarchy (in the sense of a lack of cross-border governing) of the 18th, 19th and early 20th nation-states only creates nationalism and protectionism, leading to conflicts and wars. As well as representing the knowledge that a constitutional federal state is the strongest form of state. What role would the USA play on the geopolitical field if they would be build like the European Union? Or in turn: what role could Europe play in the geopolitical field if it finally replaces its collapsing intergovernmental administrating system by a coherent federal system? Europe would overtake and pass the USA within a couple of years.

This Route 7 is dedicated to a brief explanation of a handful of common interests. Its aim is not to be conclusive because the set of common interests to include into a federal European Constitution should be a matter of careful deliberation by a Convention of 56 participants (A SCENARIO THAT HAS NOT BEEN DONE YET). In order to learn more about the context of this aspect of federalization I refer to Route 1 or 2 with respect the European Federalist Papers. Especially the Papers 21-25, dealing with a draft federal Constitution for Europe.

Now I list a handful of common interests as the heart and soul of a federal European state.

Common interest 1: one common European defence and security policy

After WWII President Truman requested General Eisenhower to stay in Europe, not only to solve some loose ends but also to try to create one common European defence policy. This failed, due to the tensions between European states and Germany, conflicting interests between the US, the UK and France ‘governing’ Germany, and an uncertain relationship with Russia. Even the US’ demands to settle one common European defence system as token of serious continental cooperation to receive in 1948 billions of dollars in the context of the so-called ‘Marshall Plan’ failed. They settled in 1949 for creating the NATO, which is an intergovernmental administrating system.

Throughout the years the failures of this NATO-system have become clearer and clearer. The response being always: trying to repair faults of a slowly detoriating security system, waiting for the final collapse. A collapse that might arrive when the President of the USA, whether or not the present one, decides to pull the plug off NATO. Which would certainly be the motive to finally do what should have been done after WWII: creating one common defence system for the EU. Leaving behind all ignorant politicians who opposed since 1945 against one common European defence policy by reasoning that this would damaging the member state’s sovereignty. If you have studied carefully all previous documents and drawings in this website, you know better.

There is no need to elaborate on the need for a common European security system, along the defence system. The terrorist attacks on European soil, along with the increasing number of cyber attacks on public and private European organisations, may speak for themselves.

Be aware of the following pitfall. At present, spring 2018, a handful of EU-governments decided to tighten and strengthen their mutual cooperation regarding defence policies. However, this is still 100% of an intergovernmental nature. So, conflict- and failure-prone, because its legal basis remains the Treaty of Lisbon. Strengthening cooperation in fields of policies, based on a Treaty, is flying like Icarus to the sun: the waxed-wings-policy will melt and drops to the ground because of the lack of a constitutional foundation: no constitutional foundation, then no save and secure common interests.

Common interest 2: one common European foreign policy

Like one common European defence policy a common European policy on foreign affairs is a traditional, classic one within the realm of enumerating common interests of federal states. The present EU has a kind of European Minister of Foreign Affairs, but its intergovernmental basis prevents this Minister to speak with one European voice in matters of global diplomacy. This indicates EU’s weak influential role to be part of the solution in conflicts in the Middle East (Syria, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Russia, Kurdistan).

Be aware of the following pitfall. Having one common European foreign affairs policy does not mean at all that the member states of such a federal state do not possess anymore their own Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These ministries stay intact, but it depends on deliberating on the size and content of the common foreign policy what will be the size and content of the foreign policy within a member state. In Belgium – for instance – the members (Wallonia and Flanders) of the federation have their own Foreign Ministers and even their own Embassies – next to the federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs – but they deal with foreign matters that are not listed within the powers, granted to the federal Minister of Foreign Affairs. The same is the case in the USA. That is why the state of California said ‘We remain within the Paris Climate Accord, though President Trump pulled out.’

Common interest 3: one common European immigration policy

Following this route you arrive at a video-lecture - supporting with facts, figures and reasons - that the EU needs 500 million immigrants to cope with the geopolitical effects of worldwide declining of populations, affecting EU’s survival in its core. Europe has an immigration-issue, which is only getting worse when looking at the nationalist-populist responses to immigration. However, in what respect immigration constitutes a problem depends on the way you look at it. I deal with immigration in the context of demographic, geopolitical, humanitarian and innovative developments. Against the background of the increasing need to offer safety for ‘European common interests’ within a constitutionally federalized Europe. The interdependence of these aspects has induced me to take this rather unusual point of view of attracting 500 million immigrants. Deviating from the mainstream fears about failing integration and loss of national identity. When watching this video-lecture you better keep the doors closed to avoid upsetting others by crying out loud.

By Nate Breznau

Common interest 4: one common European energy-climate-environment policy

My knowledge about this subject is insufficient to elaborate on this common interest of an ecological nature. I refer to the worldwide-signed Paris Climate Accord 2015 as the undisputable need to refer to this issue as one extremely important common interest of a federal Europe. Despite USA’s pulling out of this agreement in 2018.

Common interest 5: one common European agriculture policy

Throughout the decades the EU’s policy on agriculture showed huge disparities. Milk-lakes, butter-mountains, mad-cow diseases, unwarranted subsidies accompanied by frauds and a huge bureaucracy. Even the fall of the European Commission, led by Jacques Santer on March 15th 1999, was partly caused by dubious policies with respect to agriculture and cattle breeding. Nationalistic protectionism, being the main cause of a never-ending array of misconducts in the relationship between the EU and the world of farming. Solution? Upgrade this policy to being a responsible common European interest. Responsible with respect to food-certainty and food-security within an ecological context.

Common interest 6: one common European economic-finance-tax-digital policy

I call on federal experts in these fields to deliver a text about the coherence between these aspects of enhancing welfare in a federal Europe.

Common interest 7: one common European social justice and labour policy

I call on federal experts in these fields to deliver a text about the coherence between these aspects of enhancing individual happiness in a federal Europe.

Common interest 8: one common European transportation and infrastructure policy

I call on federal experts in these fields to deliver a text about the coherence between these aspects of enhancing welfare in a federal Europe.

Common interest 9: one common European science and arts policy

I call on federal experts in these fields to deliver a text about the coherence between these aspects of enhancing Europe’s position with respect to the two main sources of fundamental innovation: science and arts.

More common interests?

I welcome observations on other common interests.