European Free Alliance Manifesto

The Yorkshire Party has been a member of the European Free Alliance since 2015.  The EFA is a political movement of various regionalist parties in Europe advocating devolution or self-governance/independence for their country or region.

The EFA has generally limited its membership to progressive parties such as the SNP and Plaid Cymru, and has published its manifesto for the European Parliament elections in 2019.

2019 Manifesto
European Free Alliance
Building a Europe of ALL peoples

-Introduction by EFA President François Alfonsi
1. Self-determination
2. A Europe of all peoples
3. Peace and freedom for Europe
4. Building a sustainable world
5. Linguistic Justice
6. Promoting gender equality
7. Social Justice: Restoring dignity and equality
8. All peoples decide
9. For greater solidarity between peoples
10. Youth

“Vote in the upcoming European
elections, make your voice heard.
Allow us to make your vote for all
peoples of Europe and for Another
Europe, be understood!”

 

1. Self-determination: a right for all peoples.

The European Free Alliance unites political parties in a range of
varied and specific institutional situations. Improving the prospects
of all peoples of Europe is dependent on the EFA’s unfailing support
for the right to self-determination. The EFA believes that all peoples
have the right to choose their own destiny and the best institutional
framework in which to achieve their empowerment.
Whether this is a matter of respecting linguistic or cultural rights,
devolution, expanding regional or federal powers, demanding
autonomy, achieving independence through a referendum….; all
proposals that allow a people to express themselves and to define
their own institutions in a democratic, transparent, gradual and
peaceful way must be supported.
Self-determination is a principle, enshrined in international law,
that can be adapted to the diverse situations encountered by
peoples currently under the jurisdiction of various European States,
and which allows all people to choose what would be best for them,
for their development, and in some cases their survival.
The EFA supports the peoples, nations and regions that are acting
democratically and that respect the European Convention on
Human Rights. Equal rights, dignity and respect for diversity are the
principles underlying the right of self-determination.
Changing the European political project is one of the objectives of
the European Free Alliance, which believes that the Europe of old
nation states no longer satisfies the democratic demand for
empowerment among the peoples of Europe.
The recognition and support of Europe’s peoples, regions, nations
and stateless nations is a necessary condition for restoring public
confidence in the EU and for promoting a new 21st century
democracy to make the European project a success for all peoples,
regions and nations.
In a truly diverse and truly united Europe national and region
identity go hand in hand with a European identity. Furthermore, the
renewal of the concept of national identity over time is essential.
Indeed, the sense of belonging to a community with shared destiny
cannot ignore new populations who settle in our regions and
stateless nations.
Building a Nation in the XXI century means that all citizens living in
it take part in nation building. Building a Nation also means to take
into account our respective diasporas, reconnecting with them
abroad or integrating them back if they wish to do so.

 

2. A Europe of all peoples.

A Europe of all peoples is a Europe that makes no distinction
between peoples and creates no categories, nor second class
citizens. EFA wants another Europe which recognises the
universality of all people as well as their distinct identities.
Since it was founded in 1981, the European Free Alliance has
always believed that the European project must be based on
the well-being and diversity of its peoples. The European Union
can no longer content itself as being a union of nation states
promoting their own interests. The EFA defends a broader,
more inclusive vision of Europe, based on the desire to
recognise and foster its diversity.
Being profoundly pro-European complements supporting a
Europe of peoples. For EFA it is fundamental that Europe
accepts and includes all peoples in the decision-making process
in order to build a democratic Europe of peace, respect and
solidarity.
The EFA would like to build a resolutely social Europe, a
welcoming Europe, a Europe that is prosperous for every
European citizen and that respects its own plurality. Euroscepticism
and/or anti-EU populism bring no solutions. Europe
must invest more in our communities by empowering the social
fabric and building ties between peoples. An inclusive approach
to welcome new citizens is essential in order to strengthen our
sense of identity and community.
In order to reinforce the role of ALL peoples, the nations at substate
level and/or regions with legislative powers must have a
role of their own in European decision-making through a
strengthened presence in an “Assembly of regions and peoples”
replacing the toothless Committee of the Regions. This in order
for ALL Peoples to have direct participation, with voice and vote,
in the decisions affecting their citizens.
EFA defends a Europe of peoples where it is logic and evident
that the European Parliament has the right to initiate new
legislation and where the legislative process within the Council
should be transparent. The President of the European
Commission should be elected democratically.
It is TIME for the European Union to work for all peoples in
Europe.

3. A plan for Peace and Freedom for Europe.

The European Union was founded after the Second World War
in order to secure peace as well as economic and social
prosperity. Maintaining peace within its borders, the
international defence of values such as democracy, the rule of
law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, are
the principal missions of the European Union. Unfortunately the
EU institutions and the Member States fall short defending its
own core values and civil liberties. The EU defines itself opposite
to a Europe of the Peoples.
But in the construction of a Europe of nation states, the
European Free Alliance aims to support minorities, peoples,
nations, stateless nations and regions that aspire peacefully to
political, cultural, linguistic recognition and the recognition of
democratic institutions.
Europe should defend democratic sub-state level institutions if
it aims to defend democracy, peace and freedom in Europe.
Today, the European Union faces rising international tensions.
The migration crisis that has hit Europe, the jihadi threat, or the
question of internal enlargement posed by Scotland and
Catalonia: it is time to construct another Europe.
The EFA supports a Europe that is able to meet the challenges of
the 21st century. Not only a Europe without war, but a Europe
that stands out for the recognition of its minorities, the right to
self-determination, the unconditional respect for the dignity of
peoples and respect for human rights.
Based on those fundamental and democratic principles, conflict
prevention and conflict resolution through dialogue is a priority,
tackling all the consequences of the conflicts, with special care
for victims and political prisoners.
Cultural and linguistic diversity, social justice and the right of selfdetermination
are inter-related. A new project for the Europe of
Peoples must be created to meet the democratic challenges and
the empowerment to which the peoples of Europe aspire.
The EFA seeks a modern, ambitious and prosperous Europe, not
just economically, but also in social and democratic terms. The
EFA calls on the European Union to be more than ever a Europe
of all peoples and regions where democracy, development,
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms
complement one another.

 

4. Building a sustainable world.

The principles of growth and development that determine the
model for our modern societies have led to the depletion of
resources, climate disturbance and a loss of biodiversity across the
planet. The pillage of resources for merely financial ends is not
consistent with sustainable development.
The European Free Alliance takes an ideological position which,
since its foundation, supports and defends greater protection for
the environment and biodiversity, limiting the impact of human
activities on the environment and protecting European citizens
from all the environmental risks to their health; such as the
prohibition of the use of GMOs, as well as glyphosate.
In the agricultural and fisheries sector more efforts should be made
to reconcile those important national and regional industries with
the EU climate goals. Innovation in regional sectors can boost
sustainable and organic agriculture, fisheries and rural development
and can bring about also a more comprehensive regional policy.
To achieve these ends, the EFA is in favour of an energy policy that
prioritises energy efficiency and the production of renewable
energy. Fossil fuels are both CO2 intensive, and destined to
disappear.
The European Union must anticipate these changes through an
ambitious energy policy- in line with the UN sustainability goals and
Agenda 2030- that must be capable of meeting the challenge of the
energy transition by developing sustainable alternatives. It is
essential that our regions and nations exercise more energy
sovereignty, deciding on the forms of alternative energy to
generate, at what price, and under which circumstances. Therefore,
the EFA is against fracking as often centralised decisions stemming
from capital cities leave our regions and nations facing the risk of
ground water contamination.
Although we support the wide autonomy of the regions in defining
their energy production, the EFA calls for the phase-out of nuclear
power where production and the storage of radioactive waste
remains too great a danger to impose on future generations. During
the energy transition, solid guarantees on assuring a low price,
abundant supply and safety need to be put in place.
The implementation of policies and measures to promote
sustainable development cannot succeed without appropriate
governance. The EFA also supports all the European initiatives and
programmes aiming to encourage the engagement of all players in
the decision-making process, as it gives us the opportunity to
develop a more concerted, balanced and fairer approach to
regional advancement and to the advancement of the stateless
nations of Europe.
EFA supports research in the field of renewable energy in the
different regions and nations of Europe. EFA promotes regions and
nations of the EU to take part in the implementation of research in
order to positively influence local and European politics regarding
renewable energy and energy efficiency.

 

5. From Linguistic diversity to Linguistic Justice.

Defending and promoting language diversity is one of the principles
of the European Free Alliance.
The European Union, through its policy of supporting
multilingualism, primarily encourages the use of official languages.
The EFA on the other hand considers all languages as part of
humanity’s intangible heritage. EFA demands the official
recognition, promotion and use of regional, minority and lesser
used languages threatened with extinction. It demands specific
European programmes to establish more linguistic justice.
Furthermore, the Council of Europe, through the European Charter
of Regional or Minority Languages, must be supported in its actions
by all the European institutions so that every Member State will
ratify the Charter and implement its measures.
A Europe of peoples, a Europe of cultures, a Europe of languages:
this is the Europe that the EFA wishes to promote and support, in
the interest of all European citizens.
All the languages of the EU’s historical and cultural communities
must be valued, so that the richness of our linguistic diversity is no
longer threatened.
Like biodiversity, European languages and cultures form our cultural
diversity. They represent a part of the ecological balance of our
societies. In many cases they are also a formidable tool for
creativity and economic development through innovation and the
promotion of local heritage.
European languages have a crucial role to play in the growth and
cultural enrichment of community heritage, and it is for this reason
that the EU’s language policy must protect its linguistic diversity,
including minority languages, to ensure the preservation of an
invaluable cultural heritage. We want equality between languages
to establish linguistic justice.

 

6. Promoting gender equality

Although gender equality is a core value of the EU, European
women still have unequal access to (1) power, (2) prosperity, (3)
safety. A structural system of male dominance, patriarchal
traditions and heteronormativity has legitimised the oppression of
women and LGTB+ individuals in both private and public spheres.
EFA’s core mission and work is grounded in the understanding that
women are diverse in their needs and identities. Particularly
minority women, stateless women, migrant women, women with
disabilities, LGBT+ women, as well as young and elderly, rural and
poor women, face greater levels of exploitation, discrimination and
violence. They also suffer marginalization in the political arena.
Throughout Europe, women are still underrepresented in positions
of power and decision-making. EFA believes that the participation
of women in public and political life guarantees fairer, more
democratic, and more diverse societies. EFA fully supports gender
parity and recognises that Europe needs more feminist leadership
that values diversity and makes space for women, particularly those
belonging to minorities or other vulnerable groups.
Economic crises impact most heavily on women, children and the
elderly. The gendered impact of financial instability and cuts in
public spending have exacerbated women’s poverty in recent years.
EFA promotes women’s economic independence by strengthening
EU equality legislation, guaranteeing individual rights to social
protection and taxation, ending gender pay and pension gaps and
providing social care, parental leave and child care. EFA believes
that women and men should not only be equal carers of children,
the elderly and persons with disabilities. We also believe in the
creation of decent work for women, along with new opportunities
for employment for women in social entrepreneurship, the digital
economy and other innovative fields.
Moreover, violence against women (VAW) still constitutes the most
widespread violation of women’s human rights in Europe.
Addressing old and new forms of violence is a priority for EFA. EFA
calls for gender-sensitive, evidence-based and comprehensive
public policies on VAW, from legally-binding instruments to
awareness raising activities that have sufficient human and financial
resources. We call for more services that protect, assist and inform
women when they seek help; improved access to and safety in
police, judiciary and health care systems; widespread sexual and
reproductive health and education; better support for women’s
organisations and NGOs; and campaigns that deconstruct myths
about gender violence.
We believe that LGBTQI people’s voices and experiences need to be
heard and affirmed. LGBTQI people are a vulnerable group which
has historically experienced hostility and violence. Hate crime and
hate speech law needs to be consistent and cover homophobia and
transphobia in all EU Member States. EFA campaigns for rights and
equality by calling for safe and inclusive education, supporting an
inclusive understanding of family, building cross-cultural solidarity
and including youth perspectives. Currently in the EU,
discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is only
prohibited in the field of employment. We want to see this
expanded to other areas like healthcare, education, social
protection or access to goods and services
The EFA demands that the European Union improves
antidiscrimination laws by mainstreaming gender into all fields of
EU competence. The EU must consider women’s diversity and
adopt appropriate measures to combat intersecting forms of
discrimination. We call on the EU to measure equality outcomes
and the impact of new and existing policies and legislation. We call
on them too to prioritize gender sensitive and inclusive EU
budgeting.

 

7. Restoring dignity and equality

Some regions, peoples and stateless nations in the European Union
stand in the shadow of centralised States. These States have
exploited the natural resources of territories, used their labour, or
have developed predatory economic models aimed at putting local
populations in a position of inequality by comparison with the
majority populations of these Member States.
Despite the diversity of situations, the European Free Alliance
believes that all peoples are equal in dignity and that consequently
any economic, social or political dominance cannot be allowed to
persist.
The EFA has made social justice a key priority in its programme, and
fights against any form of discrimination. It also promotes a more
equitable distribution of wealth. The EU should be giving more
guarantees for social justice while it too often sides with vested
interests, big corporations and large member states.
Establishing equality between peoples is crucial to the success of
the economic, social, cultural and political empowerment of the
regions and stateless nations of the European Union.
EFA supports the European Pillar of Social Rights, which aims to give
citizens new and more effective rights. It includes 3 main
components:
Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
Fair working conditions
Social protection and social inclusion
Europe wide solidarity mechanisms should combat child poverty,
the gender gap, generational poverty, social exclusion in many other
policy fields….. This is only possible if all regions and nations of
Europe improve their fiscal coordination and harmonise in the fight
against tax fraud, tax evasion, tax havens and disloyal unethical
fiscal engineering.
Social insecurity and growing inequalities must be combatted by
the EU. More rights and opportunities should be given to local
communities, in particular the right to choose their own model of
development. Subsidiarity is a key word that is not being
implemented.
The economic development of regions and nations should be better
connected to the local context and the characteristics of the
territories and peoples concerned in order to achieve genuinely
sustainable development. Social and Economic policies should
include more the human dimension and respect for human dignity.
This should be placed at the heart of public policies.

 

8 . Democratic processes and participatory democracy

Member states too easily say that the European Union is
responsible for all the troubles of European citizens. This has led
to Brexit – the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the
European Union – and other negative developments.
Therefore, the European Free Alliance will continue to support
the revision of the European project, to offset its democratic
deficit adapting to new challenges, in particular that of
participatory democracy and the involvement of peoples in the
European decision-making process.
The EFA supports the principle of the Citizens’ Initiative,
introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which enables European
citizens to call on the European Commission to draft a proposal
on a question which they believe needs legislation. It is a first
step in involving all peoples in the EU decision-making process
although it is overly bureaucratic and inaccessible to the public
and therefore it has to be radically improved.
But public confidence and involvement can only improve if the
European institutions become more democratic, in particular
through strengthening the legislative powers of the European
Parliament, the establishment of meaningful constituencies for
European elections and a fair electoral system, allowing
representation of all peoples of Europe. EFA wants to see
greater transparency in the Council as well as the democratic
election of the president of the European Commission by the
European Parliament.
In addition, at a time when the use of the internet is spreading
and more interaction is possible between governments and the
governed, the EFA believes that greater use of the virtual sphere
would make it possible to inform citizens better, and to make
public action more transparent. It regrets that the EU’s
information platforms and sites are only available in the official
and certain co-official languages.
Lastly, the peoples and stateless nations of Europe desire the
democratic handling of their claims. The EFA also supports
referendums or public consultation processes organised by the
institutions of elected representatives in the regions of the
European Union.
Bringing citizens closer to their institutions, respecting all
peoples and restoring them to their rightful place in the
decision-making process at the local and European level to
address the crisis of representation that is evident in the falling
electoral turnout: these are the main challenges if participatory
democracy is to become a reality rather than just an aspiration.

 

9. International solidarity

Solidarity between peoples is one of the principles of the European
Free Alliance. It has forged an international network with partners
through cross border co-operation and mutual support between
regions and stateless nations of Europe and around the world.
Many partners whose linguistic, cultural and political rights have
been and continue to be trampled upon by the Member States
work together in full solidarity for a better world.
While state nationalism is inward-looking and based on exclusion,
the vision of the peoples’ nationalism held by the European Free
Alliance is the opposite. It involves inclusion, respect for diversity,
and building bridges between peoples rather than fortifying the
borders between them. It starts from the recognition of all nations
as equals, respecting their rights and identities. In that sense, EFA
is in favor of the cooperation of free and equal Peoples.
That is why EFA at an international level stands shoulder to
shoulder with ALL peoples suffering oppression: The EFA requires
European and international organisations to demand that human
rights be respected by every state concerned according to
international law and to apply sanctions if needed.
EFA supports measures to strengthen the rights of minorities in
Europe and the world. Europe must use its influence on
international disputes, especially in countries with which they
maintain diplomatic ties and are engaged in cooperation
programmes.
The EFA believes that the peoples of Europe and of the world
should be able to create their own forms of governance and
institutions. The rightful aspirations of those who believe in the
restoration of their sovereignty, supported by international
solidarity, are entirely legitimate.
We are on a path towards the construction of an international
order in which other forms of government, more suited to our
times, replace those which correspond to historical circumstances
and which are gradually losing their raison d’être.
EFA stands for a European Union becoming a real international
player with the vocation of bringing more peace, solidarity,
prosperity, sustainability, democracy and respect for diversity, not
only in Europe but everywhere in the world.
Concerning the question of migration, EFA pushes for strong
solidarity with countries and regions at the border of the EU which
are particularly impacted by the arrival of peoples from outside the
EU. Every Member State must take part and be involved in inclusive
policies for migrants. We need to invest in communities outside the
EU and likewise within the EU in peripheral areas to stop emigration
and any form of brain drain. At the same time we must invest
outside the EU and in our peripheral areas for more inclusion of
new citizens. We need to work together to empower our
communities and our society.

 

10. Youth

One of the principles of self-determination is to empower the
peoples in order to allow them to take action by themselves. That is
why we cannot understand the emancipation of our countries,
without the emancipation of our citizens, and most particularly
youngsters. Young people, as forefront and future of our society,
must have an active role both as targets and decision-makers of
political policies. For this reason, the European Free Alliance,
through its youth branch, EFAy, it’s highly committed to ensure full
opportunities for the youth and to increase their participation in
society.
To guarantee equal opportunities for everyone, EFA will promote
policies to tackle youth unemployment, brain drain and poverty,
specially paying attention to the deprived and peripheral regions of
Europe where young people struggle to pursue their own future. In
order to do that, we will tackle measures in order to improve
education and employment for young people. In particular, we
want to emphasise the promotion of initiatives directed to
strengthen local and regional economy and the creation of stable,
safe and dignifying jobs. The precarious situation of youth
employment, including the proliferation of unpaid internships and
temporary jobs, calls for immediate action to ensure the protection
of labour rights and a decent income to initiate in safety a fair
professional life.
Furthermore, we will table policies directed to address the youth
brain drain from the peripheries of Europe to more prosperous
latitudes generating a successful environment at home and
stimulating the return of the skills learned abroad to their local
communities.
Education is one of the key pillars for any policy addressed to the
youth. A high-quality education at all levels (primary, secondary and
higher) guarantees not only a good professional development, but
also cultural interests, open-mindedness, critical perspective and
other skills which contribute to enrich their lives as citizens and
human beings.
In order to increase the role of young people in society, we will as
well advocate for the creation of more relevant spaces of
participation aimed to train young people in democratic processes
and to transmit their views and opinions to decision-makers. To
that end, we wish also to strengthen youth civil society by
promoting youth NGO’s, student unions, young workers unions,
Youth Councils, non-formal education organisations, etc. A virtuous
citizenship is an organised one.
New generations are particularly responsible for ensuring a world
free of hate-speech, intolerance and xenophobia. This is even more
true for young people from stateless nations. As usual targets of
cultural discrimination, they have to be champions of integration
and diversity. That is why, the EFA and EFAy promote intercultural
dialogue between all peoples and minorities from every corner of
the world, particularly those who live together in the European
continent.

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