The Theses of Europese Actie

Published in Je Maintiendrai, 14 June 1946; here translated from a German version, Die Thesen der Europäischen Aktion, pamphlet, s.l.n.d.
From W.Lipgens and W. Loth, Documents on the History of European Integration, De Gruyter, 1988

hugoeI. Against defeatism and for an international rule of law.

We must combat defeatism as firmly as we resisted tyranny. Anyone who talks of the inevitability of war is guilty of helping to cause it. He who regards political and social problems as insoluble and does not feel responsible for trying to solve them is enhancing the danger of anarchy and revolution. Christian faith and a human sense of responsibility require that each of us contribute to shaping his political surroundings and that we reject all defeatism.

II. Peace through submission to a supranational rule of law

The danger of modern warfare has become so incalculable, even for the strongest states, that it far outweighs the risk involved in ceding sovereign rights to an international organization, on condition that all are allowed a proper share in its decisions. Practical necessity compels nations to reach agreement. Such agreement is more than opportunism, provided national interests are subordinated to higher principles. It is basically possible to set up a valid rule of law for all nations. The fundamental condition is that nations are willing to conform to the same moral and intellectual principles, respect for which they regard as a self-evident necessity within their own borders.

III. The international balance of forces

An essential condition of the international rule of law is the creation of a counterweight to the development of two rival power groups that are constantly embracing more territory and threaten to absorb or to crush any nation weaker than themselves. Such a counterweight would exist if, alongside the two super-powers, there were a European federation, an Ibero-American federation and so on, with the status of equal partners.

IV. Europe’s mission

Europe must therefore be conscious of its own mission, imposed on it by history and tradition. This is not only an intellectual mission but extends to political and economic life. It is in accordance with this mission:

To aim for the richness of diversity and reject the universal pressure for uniformity.

To appreciate the value of personality, with a sense of spiritual and moral responsibility towards the different communities and associations within which it lives and works.

To reject equally the community’s claim to subject everything to itself and the abstract individualism that seeks to divorce human beings from every kind of community.

The political expression of this attitude is federalism, the only way between regimentation and fragmentation. Federalism offers to every living community an opportunity to develop freely within an independent whole that embraces organically what belongs organically together.

V. Europe and the new League of Nations

It is impossible to think of developing and maintaining a European federation in a world dominated by the struggle for power. Therefore Europe must use all its efforts to ensure that the UN develops into a federal world organization. Admittedly Europe in its present condition lacks the authority to make this a reality. But it can recover that authority by setting an example of how the most difficult problems can be solved in practice by federal union.

VI. Basic ideas of the European initiative

The countries of Europe must together take the initiative in planning for the economic and political reconstruction of Europe on a federal basis. Such a plan must point the way to a consolidation of the world and be able to take account of any conceivable shift in the world balance of power. It must avoid any hint of European chauvinism and any attempt to gain power by the formation of blocs or otherwise. It must be the expression of a true patriotism, combining the love of freedom with a sense of responsibility.

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