Europe: Federal or Confederal Future?

Roundtable by Eusko Ikaskuntza, ehGune, Ezkerraberri Fundazioa and the Coppieters Foundation

Events / Mon 20 Jul 2020 18:30

In an exceptional situation such as the one we are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the debate on the European model and its future has been reactivated. A fair and coherent response to the crisis forces us to rethink current decision spaces.

Together with Basque and Catalan Members of the European Parliament, we will discuss the possibilities of opening these spaces for a future European construction.

This roundtable is presented as a prelude to the academic and socio-political debate that will take place during the international conference  on “Territorial conflicts of sovereignty: towards a code of good practices” organised by Eusko Ikaskuntza, the Institut d’Estudis Catalans and the Coppieters Foundation, to be held on 11, 12 and 13 November 2020.

Maintaining the confederal model in force in the European Union gives absolute prominence to the current nation-States. Smaller territorial units such as regions, nations and peoples without a State have a very limited capacity to influence the European framework, and their internal self-government depends on the degree of decentralisation granted by parent-States. In an exceptional situation such as the one we are experiencing due to the viral pandemic, old debates on the federalisation of Europe have been reactivated. The fairer and more efficient management of funds destined to face the serious economic consequences derived from this health crisis may be tied to a federalisation based on territorial units that do not coincide with current States. The subsidiary management of European funds, as well as the implementation of a European fiscal area that allows for a fair and coherent response to the crisis on a regional scale, requires rethinking current decision-making spaces. This territorial adaptation is very likely to strengthen the political capacity of stateless peoples, nations or regions, in accordance with the principle of “no taxation without representation”. Unsurprisingly, the political debate on the federal or confederal options takes us back to the beginnings of American constitutionalism and Alexander Hamilton’s proposals for a strong federal government. In a framework of good practices for the resolution of territorial conflicts of sovereignty, the federalisation of Europe could facilitate the achievement of statehood for European nations without a State, within a common European federal project.

The organisers invite the following participants:

  • Izaskun Bilbao, Member of the European Parliament (Renew Europe)
  • Pernando Barrena, Member of the European Parliament (European United Left – Nordic Green Left)
  • Toni Comín, Member of the European Parliament (non-attached)
  • Jordi Solé, former Member of the European Parliament (Greens-European Free Alliance)


When: 20 July 2020 from 18:30 to 19:45
Where: Baroja Auditorium, Bizkaia Aretoa, Bilbao


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This roundtable is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the event nor the opinions expressed by the participants.

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