The EU leads the Way on Democracy

Contrary to received wisdom, those of us in Brussels, MEPs as well as EU officials, are very aware of how we are seen.  Even in far less Eurosceptic countries than Britain MEPs are seen as remote and unaccountable.

As the elected politicians it’s our job to do as much as we can to put this right.

I was therefore delighted with to see the European Citizens’ Initiative which is currently going through the European Parliament.

The European Citizens’ Initiative aims to allow anyone living in the EU to refer issues to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, establishing a direct link between the people of Europe and the European Union.

The Citizens’ Initiative, provided there is enough support, will allow those living in Europe to propose EU legislation.  This is a powerful addition to our democracy, allowing as it does direct participation. It’s real devolution of power from the politicians to the people.

Given the size and reach of the European Union it would be surprising if this we didn’t face issues over democratic accountability.  Those attempting to represent constituents in a democratic international organisation (the only one in the world) with a population of 500 million across 27 member states are going to face problems. Likewise, the people in these 27 countries will almost certainly feel the EU is a long way away.

The Citizens’ Initiative is a way forward allowing people not only a say but a concrete means of bringing about change. It’s good for all of us and a real example to our national parliamentarians.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “The EU leads the Way on Democracy

  1. Mary,

    Actually its a waste of time – paying lip service to a concept that has no part in the future development of the EU Project. The EU has always been fundamentally anti-democratic.

    I understand this process will require a threshold of 1million signatures & then only requires the commission to “take account” of the petition. Doesn’t really compare with being able to vote them out does it?

    regards
    geoff

  2. Daniel Oxley

    This initiative is part of the Lisbon Treaty/EU Constitution. I am sure we all remember the Lisbon Treaty/EU Constitution, that milestone on the road to democracy in the EU. The treaty which was so unpopular with the public that several nations were asked to vote for it, and then when they got it wrong were asked to vote again and when they got it wrong again were asked to vote for it yet again.

    The EU was like a strict school teacher making the child (citizen) re-do their homework over and over until the correct answer could be supplied. The EU (school teacher) was the sole arbiter of right and wrong. At The EU Academy the curriculum is a carefully planned one and it does not allow for any shades of meaning or personal interpretation. There is the Unelected Commission’s answer which is correct or there is madness, mayhem and the deranged views of crazed of nutcases. Nutcases whose madness is unstoppable, even to the point of wanting to leave the EU; an idea so wicked that it was official Labour Party policy only 25 years ago!
    At the EU Academy (motto We Know Best), there were several different Heads of Department in charge of the British children recently but they all decided that their pupils were so ungrateful, so stupid and so likely to fail the Lisbon Treaty Referendum Exam that the whole faculty filled in the papers for us. It was very hard work for the teachers but they know that they have to do something to justify the tuition fees of £6.7 billion per annum and rising.

    I am not encouraged by the European Union’s ECI. An institution so hostile to democracy is unlikely to be swayed by the voters, however many of them sign a petition. If the EU really wanted to transform itself into a democracy it would not place all the power with the unelected bodies and deprive its puppet parliament of any powers to legislate. It might also give a thought to the position of President Rompuy. The United States of America and other democracies have public elections for their Presidents, why shouldn’t we have the same privilege here in the United States of Europe?