Monday, 21 November 2011

CDU's steps towards EU political union

When the leading German coalition party, the Christian Democratic Union CDU, proposes some steps towards political union, national leaders and European media are guaranteed to comment in various ways.

After the next steps in the euro crisis, how does the CDU resolution Starkes Europa – Gute Zukunft für Deutschland outline the capable, democratic and transparent political union needed?

The Christian Democratic Union quickly wants to shape a consensus [among whom?]. A Convention with a clear mandate to put this consensus into practice should then be called.

Economic and political union

The CDU sees the completion of economic and monetary union (EMU) as a new milestone on the road to political union. The party has the following aims for the Convention:

1) The stability and growth pact (SGP) has to be strengthened by automatic penalties. The SGP has to be made harder to amend through integration into the EU treaties. The CDU wants the Court of Justice of the European Union to judge breaches of the EMU and the SGP.

2) Serious breaches of the SGP require a procedure with several levels in order to get their finances back in order:
* First, advice from the Commission.
* Commission staff to support the efficient use of budget resources and the coordination of EU funds.
* If necessary, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) can offer assistance on strict financial and economic conditions.

3) A procedure for debt restructuring. Voluntary secession from the eurozone without losing EU membership.

4) Developing the ESM into a ”European Monetary Fund”.

5) The citizens of the European Union to elect the president of the Commission directly (but the rest of the commissioners to remain national government appointees).

6) A democratic system with two chambers on an equal footing: the directly elected European Parliament and the Council of Ministers representing the member states. Both chambers could initiate legislation.

7) In the medium term the allocation of seats in the European Parliament has to reflect population size better.

CDU ”compass”

The CDU presents a ”compass” or creed: France as the most privileged European partner, more Europe where needed and less petty regulation, a privileged partnership for Turkey instead of full EU membership, a common foreign, security and defence policy which eventually leads to a defence union, and a more capable, legitimate and transparent Europe for citizens.

Popular sovereignty

The Christian Democratic Union is prepared to advance a few steps in the direction of economic and political union in Europe.

The CDU has not yet adopted popular sovereignty at European level as its first principle. This would lead to a democratic union based on its citizens: representative democracy and government elected by the people of Europe.

What is the added value for EU citizens of sharing their sovereignty at EU level with the states?

Ralf Grahn