Sofia Declaration: Community of fate, common sovereignty


Sofia-Declaration of The Spinelli Group and the UEF

Sofia, 22 February 2018

Faced with euroscepticism and even resurgent nationalism, unification of Europe is the greatest duty of our generation. Globalisation, the emergence of continent powers, the rise of protectionism outside Europe, global warming, migration and new security threats leave European states short of means to find suitable solutions to some of the most important challenges of our times on their own. European citizens share a community of fate. It is unquestionable that the failure of one country will mean the failure of the rest. Only through a common sense of belongingness will European citizens gain back the ability to decide on their destinies.

Far from being an option, European political integration is a crucial challenge. The Eurozone is weakened by poor fiscal integration and loose governance. The EU continues to underperform in foreign, security and defence policy. It struggles to agree common policies in the fields of asylum and immigration. Enlargement has almost ground to a halt. And Brexit exemplifies the risk of overall disintegration. Europeans cannot afford a new failure by their Governments to make the qualitative leap forward the EU requires.

The difficulty to effectively reform the EU in the latest years proves that the intergovernmental method of integration has reached its very limits. In a moment where European economies and societies are irreversibly and deeply intermingled, the legitimacy of the European project cannot be seen any longer as the sum of national democracies. Shared challenges are the basic foundation of political communities. And Europe is undeniably one. It is urgent that European leaders face this reality and act accordingly.

Increasing convergence between the positions of France and Germany, and among a much broader circle of member states, offers a once-in-a-generation window of opportunity that ought not to be missed. The time of small steps is over. The 2019 European elections need to be the turning point towards the final recognition of the sovereignty of the European people.

In reference to the European Treaty of Lisbon The Spinelli Group and the UEF request that, firstly, the Commission is elected by the European Parliament, and secondly that the European Council proposes a candidate only in accordance with the European elections and in consultation with the European Parliament.

We call on the European parties to nominate the candidates for the Commission President this year, so that the European citizens can make up their minds and decide whom they will support through the elections to the European Parliament. The European Parliament already declared that it will not elect any candidate arising from any other process.

The Spinelli Group calls on the Heads of State or Government meeting on 23rd February 2018 in Brussels to open the way for an ambitious reform of the European Union leading to a renewed legitimacy of its institutions and policies. This reform must be based on the principle of European sovereignty, which can be effective only through the representation of member states’ and European citizens’ interests on an equal footing and the implementation of all necessary measures to promote the development of a genuine European political space.


Andrew Duff

President of The Spinelli Group

Elmar Brok

President of the Union of European Federalists and Co-Chair of the MEP-Spinelli Group

Jo Leinen

Member of the European Parliament and Co-Chair of the MEP-Spinelli Group

Andrey Kovatchev

President of the Union of European Federalists Bulgaria