Faced with the Coronavirus, acting and being in solidarity is not a faculty, it is an obligation. According to the treaty

(B2) In these times of confinement, it may be interesting to reread some basic texts. Some have the Bible, others Zarathustra. I have the European texts. Each one has its luxuries or its defects. Read! Then act

While putting away my documentation (a favourite pastime of the confined), I found this document intended to explain the future European Constitution to the citizens… entitled “A Constitution for Europe” distributed (if my memory serves me right) one in the summer of 2004, and another, shorter one, after the signature by the leaders in Rome in October. Very educational, they have the advantage of being very clear, very understandable for all.

More solidarity

Beneath this very beautiful quotation from Jean Monnet – “We are not uniting States, we are uniting people” – we find, in the second document, a paragraph entitled “More solidarity”. “If a Member State is the object of a terrorist attack or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster, the European Union and its Member States shall act in solidarity – if necessary by military means – to come to the aid of that State. “(NB: this is the current Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). And further on page 18, to give examples of ‘new’ policies, we read this sentence, which is vital today: “It establishes solidarity between the European Union, the Member States and the Member State which is struck by a natural or man-made disaster. »

New opportunities for action in certain areas

In the first document (30 pages), intended to illustrate the new legal bases of the Treaty, we find this sublime sentence: “The Constitution introduces new legal bases which will allow the Union to take action if need be in the areas of: public health, in response to common concerns affecting the security of the general public (e.g. SARS, bio-terrorism) […] civil protection, to assist Member States to deal with natural or man-made disasters” … »

And a further clarification: “By joining the Union, the Member States are agreed on mutual solidarity. This solidarity is not simply economic: in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster, the Constitution henceforth provides for action by the Union. Moreover, if one Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States must give it aid and assistance.”

Identical text

It should be pointed out that the current Treaties, resulting from the Treaty of Lisbon, are identical (except for a few words and protocols) to the ‘European Constitution’. The few changes do not concern these paragraphs. The examples given are based on current events. The SARS epidemic refers to the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (already!), which appeared in November 2002 in the province of Guangdong (China) and caused almost 800 deaths in Asia. The important focus on terrorism is linked to the attacks that have just taken place in Madrid on March 11, 2004, which shook not only Spain, causing the fall of the Aznar government, but also the European Union.

Comment: only one remedy, action

To all those who say, we can’t act, we don’t have the skills… I would advise them to read their classics first. This ‘promise’ made to the European people must be kept today. Ladies and gentlemen, European leaders, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Chancellor Angela Merkel, stop these childish quarrels. Give Italy and Spain economic breathing space. Mrs Ursula von der Leyen, and Mr Janez Lenarčič, react, faster, stronger. This is not about the single market, it is about the lives of thousands of Europeans. As Jacques Delors puts it, “Europe is in mortal danger”. He is right. You have a few hours, a few days left to live up to your glorious elders.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Read also : Coronavirus crisis. The von der Leyen Commission lacks audacity. Congenital weakness?

Nicolas Gros-Verheyde

Rédacteur en chef du site B2. Diplômé en droit européen de l'université Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne et auditeur 65e session IHEDN (Institut des hautes études de la défense nationale. Journaliste depuis 1989, fonde B2 - Bruxelles2 en 2008. Correspondant UE/OTAN à Bruxelles pour Sud-Ouest (auparavant Ouest-France et France-Soir).