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Chief of these reasons are as follows:
In my view, a few key things might help to address these problems.
i) Possibly a directly elected President who becomes a visible embodiment and figurehead for what Europe is all about. People want to know who is in charge and are not inspired by Government by committee.
ii) A European Commission operating more like an elected Government - where commissioners are grilled by the Parliament on a more regular basis and are dismissed on an individual basis if they lose the confidence of Parliament.
iii) Greater transparency on the budgeting process and cost benefit studies on new spending proposals
iv) Replacement of NATO with a common European defense force and greater harmonisation/cooperation between police forces particularly on common threats like terrorism
v) Political parties campaigning on a Pan European basis and laying out their stall as to what future direction of Europe should be - particularly for the election of the Directly Elected President. In this context the Greens, Socialists, Christian Democrats, Liberals etc. can argue their respective cases as to what direction Europe should go in and therefore what "identity" it will have.
Vi) Speaking sociologically (and without a personal agenda on this!) I think the religion issue will be a major if not always openly articulated factor in whether countries like Turkey will be allowed to join.
Unlike Jerome, I do not think this is a technical issue to be decided by technocratic elite, but rather a political issue which should be put to popular vote. The very fact that Jerome can speak of this as a technical issue highlights (to me) how out of touch the technocrat elite can be with popular sentiment and why there is such a growing popular distrust of what the technocrats are up to! Ultimately it is for the people to decide what the boundaries (geographic, political, ethnic, religious, cultural) of the EU should be -- and hence its identity.
Far from engaging in an exercise in self-aggrandizement here because I felt I had touched on a hidden taboo I think it is incredibly arrogant for a bureaucratic elite to think that they can slip Turkey into the EU based on some technical economic and legal criteria without consulting with how the electorate feel about it.
Including a major country like Turkey (or Russia) would make a major change to the social, cultural and religious balance of the EU - and hence its identity - and the very fact that it can be considered to be merely a matter for the elite to decide highlights just what is wrong with the EU as a democratic polity.
I hope this elitist "we know what's good for you" approach does not permeate though the general mindset in the ET because, if so, there is no place for me here.
Index of Frank's Diaries
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