60 Ideas for Europe

It is a shame that the Lisbon Reform Treaty looks like it is going to be ratified by all 27 countries with only one country putting it to a referendum (Ireland). Similarly it was the case with the EU constitution where only a handful of states had, or were planning, a referendum on the issue.

With all the promises about the EU becoming more democratic it seems odd that something so pervasive and important is not put to the people to decide. Saying that the reform treaty makes the EU more democratic is missing the point completely. If you want to make the EU more democratic, actively involve the citizens more.

Being very pro-EU I do find myself often agreeing with the argument that the treaty is very complex, difficult for the average person to understand and a treaty vote will most likely not be on the issues in the treaty, but rather a reflection on attitudes towards the Government or the EU as a whole. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that this is no excuse to circumvent democratic principles. Surely, the point of democracy is that everyone has a say, regardless of his or her opinion.

Not only should the EU ensure that all issues which will affect its people this much are subject to their vote, it should make it mandatory that any future treaties, or constitutions be subject to referendum in ALL countries

The EU must embrace the fact that you cannot only have democracy when it suits you, it is all or nothing, and at the moment, it is nothing.

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  1. I concur with the idea that we should make the EU a real democracy, and not a mere collection of conventions and treaties. Especially the appointment of an “EU President”, as will be the case in accepting the Lisbon Reform Treaty, illustrates the lack of transparency and democratic methods. If he or she has to represent me (or any other person) as a European citizen, I at least want to get the choice who will be representing me. The democratic principles hereby is called “election”, which is precisely what is not foreseen in this treaty!

  2. I wonder at the insistence with which some people demand national referendums on one amending treaty, but totally forget to discuss how the normal form of democracy – representative – should and could be improved at the EU level.

    In effect, demanding first unanimous agreement between 27 governments, then 27 national electorates and finally 27 national parliaments (in many cases with more than one chamber and super-majorities) would mean the exclusion of further EU treaty reform.

    If the Treaty of Nice is to be the crowning achievement of European integration, it would be more honest to say so, instead of demanding extraordianry procedures like referendums to doom any effort.

    But is the Nice Treaty commensurate to the challenges?

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