“This week we could observe the top-down attitude of some of Europe’s leading politicians when EU President Van Rompuy discredited the role of the European Parliament with regards to the election of the next Commission President. The Lisbon Treaty clearly foresees that the Commission President is to be elected by the Parliament taking into account the result of the EU elections. The decisions of the voters must be accepted. We cannot allow a backlash to political package deals taken behind closed doors. In view of citizens’ eroding trust in the EU, this a truly dangerous development we cannot tolerate at all” comments Gerald Häfner on behalf of Democracy International.
In an interview with the German Süddeutsche Zeitung, Council President Herman van Rompuy had expressed his scepticism towards the election of the next Commission President via leading candidates of the European Parliament. His statement that EU citizens were clear about the difference between the EU Parliament and those who really decided had infuriated EU deputies campaigning for their top candidate to become EU Commission President. The Treaty on European Union (Article 17, 7 TEU) stipulates that the European Council is to propose to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission, taking into account the results of the elections to the European Parliament. This candidate is then to be elected by the European Parliament.
“These clashes over who decides about Europe’s new political personnel is a poor sign of political leadership. Europe’s top politicians should discuss different options for a more democratic European future. Their arguments make clear that citizens themselves need to take into hands Europe’s future. We need a platform for common discussion and decisions. A new, democratic Convention is the means for this better, more democratic European Union”, so Gerald Häfner on behalf of the global coalition for democracy.
Democracy International campaigns for a new, democratic EU convention under the banner “Democratic Europe Now”. Article 48 of the EU Treaty provides to arrange an EU convention before amendments are made to the treaties of the EU. Democracy International demands that the new, democratic EU Convention has the greatest possible democratic legitimacy and that adequate time must be given for serious and thorough deliberation. Also, the Convention must operate with full transparency, have all its meetings open to the public, and include in its deliberations proposals from civil society. EU citizens are to approve the proposals that the Convention will elaborate by direct vote.
More information on the campaign Democratic Europe Now at www.democraticeuropenow.eu
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Photo (on front page) by EPP's Flickr Channel, see here