Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Basic questions about democratic European Union

When people speak about democratic legitimacy at the European level, the so called community method seems to be the maximum most of them have in mind qualitatively, although materially some do not exclude a widening of the scope.

As long as the member states ”own” the European Union, the European Council defines the general political directions and the Council retains budgetary and legislative powers, as well as policy-making and coordinating functions beyond the areas of co-legislation with the European Parliament, the main character of the EU remains unchanged.

Are incremental changes (or none at all, as several member states seem to signal) enough to legitimise the European Union in the hearts and minds of the public? - Hardly.

In a rapidly changing world the European Union needs effective powers in a few new areas and a robust government, based on the elections to the European Parliament.

It is astonishing that in 21st century Europe popular sovereignty is not yet the first principle of the European Union or at least an avant-garde, in other words a normal parliamentary democracy with politically accountable government.

When the European Parliament is elected directly by the citizens of the EU, each having a vote of roughly equal weight, our next question should be if there really is a need for a second chamber.

Could someone enlighten me as to what the value added of a second chamber would be or why the citizens should share their sovereignty with the states?

Is a two chamber system worth the added complexity, cost and possible gridlock? If so, are there special areas where it should be active because it would actually contribute to the security and prosperity of EU citizens?



Ralf Grahn