Bruno Waterfield ends his column in The Telegraph, The EU elections that we can only lose (4 June 2009), by calling for a truly constitutional debate about the European Union: “The EU debate needs … to become constitutional in the true sense of the word. It needs to be about the nature of politics, who participates in politics, and to ask for whom political structures are organised. It needs to become an argument about what politics should be, in opposition to how it is - I don't see that in this European election.”
Our preferred solutions may point in different directions, but Waterfield is right about the need for a discussion about the fundamentals of European integration. What purposes should the European Union serve, if any? If the EU is necessary, how should it be organised in a democratic manner? Are referendums the way forward?
In my view, the European Union is an imperfect system, and the Treaty of Lisbon is the result of timid consensus. These European elections are not going to bring about sudden radical change, but during the coming five years the European Parliament can at least keep the torch alive. Among the main institutions, the EP is the most respected by and the best hope for EU citizens.
Sensible voting can help.