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Why can't we just remove the Council and make the Commission answer to the parliament's legislative initiative? Well, for two reasons. First "we" the people of Europe are represented democratically by our national governments. They compose the Council which is very analogous to a Senate (think: German Bundesrat). But as far as the structures of the EU are concerned the people are not directly sovereign. Sovereignty is delegated in the National Governments. EU treaties are entered into, in our name, by Plenipotentiaries of the member states. So, unless and until European policy at the Council becomes the number one political issue in a national election campaign, there will be no real chance of reform.

"...through national elections" I want to add.

So, what other options to we have? Through petitions we can only get the commision to consider something so that is no efficient way. I think the EP election is the obvious target for popular demands on EU reform. Sure, the EP lacking powers is the problem, but the EP has some power to say no, to block things. Wisely used that can be translated to wider powers.

Say that we draft an EU Democracy Manifesto, spelling out a plan for greater democracy and then try to get candidates/parties to accept it (as many as possible). What would it contain?

Preferably actions should be tied to the increase of power. Take the case of wanting the Commission elected (for real) by the parliament. Lets say that the EP refuses to accept a Commission President unless the Council agrees to nominate the one the EP majority would elect, would it be up to them (either through a mock election or a demand of getting to choose between the candidate of the party groups or something). Then the manifesto would include somthing like:

"If elected, I will not vote to confirm a Commission President unless the European Parmliament through a fair and free election has choosen said Commission President."

So, what other powers has the EP, what other reforms are needed for democratising EU and how can the EP use it powers to enforce change?

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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 12th, 2008 at 10:39:42 AM EST
Too deep in code right now to talk to humans, but the question of democracy in the EU is tied up in the very form of the EU: is it a supra-national thing, a nation-state, a federal state?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2008 at 10:54:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I say

while (state=democratic)
  people decide

A nation-state? Perhaps, if the people in EUrup start viewing themselves as EUrupeons. But that is not likely right now.

Supra-national things are defined by treaties between states. Ruling by treaty is a neat way of removing the power from the governmental structures that in a democracy is influenced by the peoples opinions, so we will not get a democratic supra-national thing as that is a contradiction in terms. (Barring re-definition of supra-national thing.)

So of your choices, we are left with a federal state if we want it to be democratic.

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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 12th, 2008 at 11:49:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Realised another thing as I read wikipedia:

Politics of the European Union - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The latest European Parliament elections are now taken into account by leaders when appointing the President of the European Commission, hence in 2004 the Commission President came from the European People's Party, who were the largest party following the elections.

If I remember correctly (and I think I do) the movements (up and down) were minimal. If the Council nominates based on the elections and they pick the winner based on largest party group, this will in effect serve to push the party groups into more mergers. The biggest one wins, remember. Thus in the long run we are looking at a two party system where the main price is the Commission presidency.

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by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 12th, 2008 at 04:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily. The Parliament approves the choice by a majority vote. This means you can have the case where the second and third parties decide to force the issue and oppose yet another candidate from the largest party. In national politics also (at least formally, on paper) the head of state proposes a candidate for head of government taking into account the result of the elections. This doesn't lead to two-party politics but it does seem to lead to two-bloc politics.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2008 at 04:26:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I add that the EP also votes on the entire Commission.

However, I would prefer if the Council wouldn't be the one nominating, but of course the largest EP party itself, and the Coulcil would come in later voting on approval after the EP did approve.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Feb 13th, 2008 at 05:23:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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