Faced with the Coronavirus, acting and being united is not a faculty, it is an obligation. Says the treaty

(B2) In these times of confinement, it may be interesting to reread certain basic texts. Some have the Bible, others Zarathustra… I have the European texts. Each has its own luxury… or flaws. Read… then act

While putting away my documentation (favorite pastime of the confined), I found this document intended to explain the future European Constitution to the citizens... entitled " A Constitution for Europe » broadcast (if I remember correctly) one in the summer of 2004, and another, shorter, after the signing by the leaders in Rome in October. Very educational, they have the advantage of being very clear, very understandable for everyone.

More solidarity

Under this very beautiful quote from Jean Monnet — “ We do not unite States, we unite men —we thus find, in the second document, a paragraph 'More solidarity'. “If a Member State is the target 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 help this state. » (NB: this is the current article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). And further on page 18, to detail examples of 'new' policies, we read this sentence, vital today: It establishes solidarity between the European Union, the Member States and the Member State which is struck by a natural or human disaster. »

New opportunities for action in certain areas

In the first document, thicker (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 enable the Union to intervene if necessary in the areas of public health, to deal with common issues affecting the safety of citizens (for example: SARS, bio-terrorism) […] of civil protection, to assist Member States in coping with natural or man-made disasters ... "

And a further clarification: When entering the Union, the Member States agreed to show solidarity with each other. This solidarity is not only economic: in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster, the Constitution now provides for intervention by the Union. Moreover, in the event that a Member State is the object of an armed attack on its territory, the other Member States owe it aid and assistance.

An identical text

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

Commentary: 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 people of Europe must be kept today. Ladies and gentlemen, European leaders, in particular 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. It's not a question of a single market, it's the lives of thousands of Europeans that are at stake. As Jacques Delors said so well, “ Europe is in mortal danger ". He is right. You have a few hours, a few days left to show yourself up to your glorious elders.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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