A manifesto for European Democracy

[Imported from Facebook; a collaborative project]

We hear an awful lot day in day out about these “unelected bureaucrats” making our laws, costing us far more than we get back, not listening to us and denying us a say when we say the ‘wrong thing’, etc., etc.. What I want to see from people now, regardless of party affiliation, regardless whether they like the EU or not, is practical suggestions to increase democracy in the EU and to turn some of these ‘expensive unelected elitist’ people into accountable, elected down-to-earth ones.

I want this topic to be purely focused on democracy – not whether or not we should be in the EU, not whether we should pay as much into it, but simply what practical ways there are for us to make it more democratic. I want the ideas wherever possible to be ones which our national government can implement, but I want to hear all EU-wide suggestions for reform as well. Just bear in mind that the most achievable ideas for the time being are ones that can be achieved on a national basis.

(Inspired by the wonderful people of Question Time, 28th May 2009)

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The Manifesto for European Democracy

[Tagline: Turning a culture of British moaning into a manifesto for British action!]

So far we have:

Proposition 1) That the post of European Commissioner nominated by this country be subject to democratic election.

Proposition 2) That the Regions currently used to elect EU legislators by means of closed-list PR be split up into districts responsible to each individual MEP elected by the region, districts being allocated to MEPs by the boundary commission. For example, districts in the West Midlands could be Herefordshire, Woucestershire, etc..

Proposition 3) That MEPs be given district offices, which they are required to pay for with their constituency allowance, which the government offers a return on for a minimum amount of time spent in the district office liaising with constituents. Such a return would have to be great enough to create an incentive not to stay in Brussells and claim the attendance allowance for this time instead.

Proposition 4) That MEPs should be required to account for how they spend the allowances granted to them by the European Parliament, particularly that granted to them for constituency work, online, to create an incentive for prudent spending of public money. This will enable their constituents to hold them to account democratically for their use of public money, not just for their voting record, with each election.

Proposition 5) That we should introduce an Annual or Bi-annual event wherein all United Kingdom MEPs are scrutinised by a cross-representative panel that includes politicians, representatives from different sectors of the economy, and Union representatives. Such an event would be televised live, and be an important time at which we would engage with our representatives. Possibly entitled “EU Liason Committee” or “MEP Liason Committee”.

Proposition 6) That the European Parliament should be given the power of legislative initiative, bringing it in line with other lower chambers of legislatures around the world. MEPs would have the power to draft legislation, with the most widely supported bills heading the legislative agenda.

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Lastly, if you wish your proposal(s) to be credited to you, then please make that clear. In the absense of confirmation of this, anonymity is assumed.

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