An ever mounting debt crisis, a stumbling single currency, the threat of invasion, a growing humanitarian cry from the people of Syria and an even faster growth in right-wing nationalism across the continent. This is Europe in 2015 – a minefield for the EU.
As Britain prepares for yet another referendum on independence, is this really the time to call for fast-track social, economic, cultural and political integration between member states? Yes – infact, the time has never been better.
Amongst the murky pool of European bureaucracy, raw facts are a rarity. It is therefore, essential that we examine the scraps in detail. This is what I will now do:
- People desire change – the fixed traditions and habits of Brussels and Strasbourg have to end. Europe needs a new start. This can happen by introducing democracy into the heart of the union.
- We must alter the ‘language’ of Europe – No more ‘losing’ sovereignty to Brussels. Instead, we should talk of ‘voluntarily pooling’ our powers and collective decisions made with the best of intentions for all member states.
- Eliminate the European Commission – This may seem rather dramatic – but recently, the European Commission has become a symbol of secretive economic liberalism and a champion of northern European states. In its place, the leaders in the European Parliament would sit as part of a combined authority with the European Council (collection of heads of government). The running of day-to-day businesses within the EU would fall to leaders of the European Parliament as part of an informal ‘cabinet’.
|Institution:||Current Status:||Proposed Status:|
|European Commission||Executive, Legislative and Quasi-Judicial||n/a|
|European Parliament||Legislative||Legislative and Executive|
(Heads of Government)
|Executive||Legislative and Executive|
|Legislative: A law-making body and institution that can enact, repeal and discuss bills.
Executive: A body which undertakes the daily administration of enforcing law passed by the legislative authority.
Judicial: An institution which interprets the law on behalf of the state.
|THE RESULT: All EU legislation would have to pass the approval of both the elected European Parliament and the European Council via a ‘simple majority’ – in effect, forming a similar arrangement to Britain.|
- All EU member states would have to formally agree to work towards membership of the single currency – However, it is clear this can only be achieved if MONETARY and FISCAL policy are combined into the hands of a single pan-European authority.
(e.g. The European Parliament – and not the European Council)
WHAT WILL THESE CHANGES ACHIEVE?
Unfortunately, Europe’s problem is not ‘cosmetic’. It has a rotting structure. (Hence the need for the reforms suggested)
There is some bizarre fault line running between member states. Some, like Germany and France, are keen supporters of further integration of political, social, cultural and financial ties. Others however, are more sceptical of unity and instead, favour a European Union based solely on a free market economy and more Liberal-Conservative values.
Either way, something has to give. Europeans need an organisation that completes the final link in our continent’s federal structure.
To do this, the union must become more responsive to changing events and the demands – not necessarily of national governments – but of a large numbers of EU citizens. (e.g. anti-austerity movements)
No more talk of Brussels and Strasbourg as being ‘institutions’ and ‘corrupt powers’. Let us make Europe a place of excitement and the EU, a path we Europeans have freely taken. Let us implement these reforms in the hope of a better future.
After All, our fortune is at stake.