60 Ideas for Europe

EUROPEAN elections

We have European political parties. We have a statute for them, so that at least some financial independence is guaranteed from their national parties. Yet, what is missing? EUROPEAN elections!
Now, how to change the situation? Three ideas seem reasonable:

1. Have common campaigns and a more visible face of the European Parties.

Posters should look the same and say the name of the European political family at the bottom. They should address pan-European issues. This is something which can be done on the basis of today’s legislation, without having to change any directives. In a second step, people should be able to really vote for European Political Parties, not the national member party. A first measure could be to put at least in brackets the name of the European political family after the national parties’ name on the ballot paper.

2. Parties should nominate who is running as Commission President for their party family.

As the European Parliament has now a bigger say in the nomination – election – of the European Commission, parties should make the process more transparent and name their candidates.

3. Years ago, there was the idea of having a part of the MEPs elected by a European list, separate from the national.

This thought should be taken up as it would strengthen the pan-European dimension and help citizens and media to experience EUROPEAN elections. This would also contribute to finally take away the notion of “secondary elections” for the EP

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  1. One day we might see this happening, but currently the pan-European Parties are only collections of National Parties which work together in the EU Parliament.

  2. Currently we see in the European Parliament a politicisation developing along left/right and supranational/ intergovernmental lies.

    After granting the European Parties more financial autonomy and after it having a bigger say – supported now by the Treaty – it noy seems to me the next logical step for more legitimacy and accountability…!

  3. 1. Have common campaigns and a more visible face of the European Parties.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this point and the suggestions you make to achieve this.

    2. Parties should nominate who is running as Commission President for their party family.

    Sure and why not but have the Commission President as the Parliamentary leader of the European political family, that gains the most votes in the EP. In the case of, say, the EPP-ED group winning the majority of votes, Joseph Daul MEP would become the Commission President?

  4. I fully agree, above all with the 2nd idea. However, I fear national parties might not be daring enough to try that.

    Still, I believe that the first political party able to claim to be part of a consistent and solid european alliance, to have a concrete and implementable programme (not just vague values and preferences) and a concrete name for the commission could win a landslide victory across Europe (and I assume whatever they defend).

    Such a party would be the first that gives the impression that it adresses to voters minds, that it doesn’t take them for dummies like every five years, by promissing utopical changes they can actually not achieve because they are not endorsed on an european level (‘withdrawal of the EU’, ‘social Europe’, ‘reducing burocracy’ and all those empty motos).

    Only this political party would be able to convince its traditional electorate to make an effort and vote – low turnout being particularly true for european elections.

    In fact, I think more courage among political parties, more willigness to take power in Brussels would be essential if we want a european public sphere to emerge. Treaty reforms or constitutional changes will never replace that.

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