It is Europe Day. Let’s talk about the European Union of tomorrow.
Prime Minister, not President
I am a strong supporter of a federal European Union. A union of citizens, not a union of member states. I also don’t want a second United States of America, with a strong president and a weak senate and house of representatives.
The Europe that I work for should be more like the Federal Republic of Germany. This Europe has a prime minister (not a president) who is proposed and elected by the European Parliament. This prime minister can not introduce laws or “presidential orders”.
A strong parliament
Instead the power is where it belongs: With the parliament, which proposes, argues and votes on all laws of the European Union.
The election of the European Parliament could also be improved. Again Germany has quite an interesting option to propose: The “Bundestag” is elected by a combination of constituencies and proportional representation.
In Germany citizens have two votes. We should adopt this system for the European Union: We build constituencies of circa one million citizens. This ensures that each region in Europe has a voice in the European Parliament. It also means that local citizens have a concrete Member of European Parliament that they can approach with their needs and ideas. The seat of the constituency is elected by the “first pass the post” system. (First vote)
The second vote goes to European lists of the different political groups. Each political group gets as many MEP as their share of total votes justifies. What happens if a political group has more MEP’s from constituencies, than their total percentages justify? Then the other parties get additional MEPs until the proportional representation is achieved again. (Sounds confusing, but is quite simple in voters real experience).
Subsidiarity is vital
The Europe that I work for has complete authority over the big issues of politics: Foreign policy, defense, security of borders and so on. It collects it’s own taxes and spends it’s own money. It has no authority on purely local or regional matters, though. Everything that doesn’t need to be organised for all, should and must be decided on the local and regional level.
Let us work together to build a truly democratic European Union.
An important afterthought: Refugees, Putin’s war against Ukraine, ISIS: The national member states just react, they never lead. The current system of the EU has clearly failed. Our aim in policy should not be to react, but to define and implement our own agenda for a better world. This can only happen if Europe develops a single will and a single voice. Only a Europe of citizens can provide this common will, voice and therefore: A positive influence in the world.