Only one hundred years ago, millions of European women had no vote. They were exploited and ignored.
The suffragettes finally got the vote which many take for granted today. Then, sixty years ago, the Nazis and the Communists tried to take our vote and liberties away. Over 60 million died fighting for the right for us to decide our own futures today.
Today, millions of disenfranchised Europeans are still living as residents, without the right to vote, within the 15 European Community states.
They live in a European nomans land neither are they at home, nor are they integrated in their new state. They have no political representation. They are second class, disenfranchised citizens. Their move abroad cost them the right to political representation in their new state, a violation of the free right to movement enshrined in the Treaty of Rome.
In a Europe of 250 millions, which rightly prides itself on its human rights record and democracy, this is unacceptable. However, there is a solution:
Imagine you held a European Citizen passport in addition to your normal passport. Brussels would start issuing the new European Citizen passport directly to any applicant holding any one of the claret coloured European passports. No nationality would be stated.
Renewal of the old, national, passport upon expiry would be optional. The European Citizen passport, however, would be renewed, becoming for millions their single, valid, passport. The legal mandate for us holding a European Passport derives from membership of our home state in our European community. How can a country be a member of Europe if its citizens are denied that right? Indeed, no law prohibits Brussels issuing Europeans with European passports. Thus, and according to the will of the people, the new European Passport will replace the national passports of the original 15 member states. What greater democratic, political and legal mandate could European Citizenship have than that?
In a democracy, politicians derive their mandate from the people. In a democracy, people tell the Government what to do. Only in a fascist state does the Government tell the people what to do. Can any nationalist politician dare tell us our decision is incorrect? Well, here is a new mandate for you: We, the people, wish to be Europeans. We wish European Citizenship, irrespective of our place of birth. The Foreign Offices of the 15 home states would now be faced with a fait accompli. Confronted with a loss of its citizens not renewing their memberstate passports, they would be left no choice but to work to create a united and strong Federal, sovereign Europe.
Outdated nationality laws blocking European unification could be thus circumvented. New legislation would reflect this evolutionary process. We would give a united Europe the sovereignty its small constituent member states need to survive. Outside Europe, England will have the importance in the world of, say, Portugal. Europeans not moving within Europe could also apply to Brussels for their passport. Their children might move abroad to work or study or marry a European partner. The parents may retire to Spain. European residency would automatically be conferred upon holders of a European passport. Undignified and discriminatory waiting in line by fellow Europeans for the right to be resident elsewhere in Europe would stop. We are all residents of one Europe. Not only would such a common passport confer legal and political rights and lessen discrimination when living abroad, it would make us all feel like fellow citizens in our hearts. A European Passport would unite us, while nationalism seeks to divide us. At heart, we are all Europeans. We want unity for our children and grandchildren. We want our children to grow in a Europe, united in its diversity, free from prejudice, as proud patriots, but not fanatical nationalists. If we dislike a united Europe, we can always try war once more! The history of our world shows an evolutionary progress to greater and greater degrees of unification, be it political or financial. The Euro is inevitable, as is one day, a world currency. States today are mutually interdependent, and reflect the interdependence of the highly specialised cells of the body tissues, all needing each other in order to survive. At global level, the same laws of nature apply, smaller units uniting into larger ones. Long before the suffragettes, a meeting by delegates from the original American States produced the courageous declaration that starts: We the People... Their civil courage led to the formation of the modern United States. Issuing a European Citizen passport would therefore enfranchise today's disenfranchised Europeans, leading to a more democratic and federal Europe. European Citizenship is inevitable. So why not start now?
Brussels, why not let the people decide? Be like the Founding Fathers of America, be like Mrs. Pankhurst and her Suffragettes, be like Winston Churchill. Issue us our passports.
Dr. Garry Bonsall
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