Franco-German confusing compromise gives mixed messages on EU democracy
Close cooperation between France and Germany has been a driving force for European integration for the last forty years and it is positive to see attempts being made to solve the question of the Presidency of the EU. The Young European Federalists (JEF-Europe) are, however, concerned that the proposals do not go far enough towards achieving the goal of a federal and democratic Europe that is more comprehensible to its citizens.
“It is good that the French government has finally realised that the European Parliament electing the President of the Commission is the only way to ensure democratic legitimacy of the EU’s actions.” stated Alison Weston, President of JEF-Europe.
“Accountability of the Commission is key to the federalist idea of a democratic, decentralised and effective EU.”
“Giving the European Parliament the responsibilities to select the Commission President will without doubt rejuvenate the only directly democratic institution of the European Union.”
While democracy will be enhanced on one hand, a strengthening of the Council, and the confusion that the proposed two-Presidency system will bring are cause for concern.
Alison Weston continued: “It is unclear in the proposals which institution will be the predominant one in the future. The proposals talk of a more effective Council, a more accountable Commission and more influence for the Parliament. It simply cannot be the case that all institutions win!”
“Germany has previously championed the case for all member states, small and large, being fully involved in decision making. A strengthened European Council, without a 6 month rotating Presidency, does precisely the opposite.”
“The Franco-German proposals are a typical messy compromise – some positive aspects, some negative, and a result that moves the process of European integration only a small step forward, not the qualitative leap the citizens need.”
“If the people of Europe are ever to fully understand and appreciate the European Union, the institutions must be organised logically and clearly according to the federal model. That means a strong executive – a reformed Commission – with a single president, held to account by the European Parliament.”
“These ideas simply do not advance European democracy as much as a true federal European constitution would.”
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