European Movement France: Go further to democratise the European Union!
Declaration of the members of MEF’s General Assembly
Adopted in November 19th, La Rochelle
The presidential election of spring 2017 delivered a clear message: the vast majority of our compatriots wish for France to remain members of the European Union (EU), and their priority is to be involved in the evolution of the European project and decisions made on our behalf.
Some democratic advances have helped to strengthen the influence of citizens on the EU: one of them being the election of MEPs by direct universal suffrage and the continuous strengthening of their powers even at the time of selecting the President of the European Commission. However, we must go much further, at a time when cohesion and the future of the EU provoke lively debate, to democratise European political life.
Let us go further, first, by reforming the voting methods for the European elections. The creation of 13 new regions in metropolitan France offers a historic opportunity to adopt euro-constituencies closer to the ground, which makes sense to voters. Let us use them for the elections of the spring of 2019, associating the new, less populated, regions with their neighbors in order to avoid excessive demographic imbalances.
With the impending departure of our British friends, we propose to use their 73 seats of deputies for transnational lists from 2019 onwards, reinforcing the European dimension of the electoral campaign. But let us not go so far as to elect half of the MEPs on the basis of transnational lists in 2024, as proposed by the President of the Republic, since that would again break the necessary local anchoring of the elected representatives in Strasbourg.
We must go further also with regard to the transparency of European decisions. Jean-Claude Juncker was right to publish draft negotiating mandates for trade agreements, which must be subject to political and citizen controls commensurate with the issues at stake: member states should do likewise once these mandates are adopted and should continue throughout the duration of the negotiations.
Controversies over the authorisation of glyphosate show that transparency must also be strengthened for everything that comes under the decisions of the “committees” of national representatives governing the action of the Commission. These committees adopt seemingly technical and in fact very sensitive standards: when will a public inventory of the positions expressed by Member States at each of their meetings be made?
Council of Ministers meetings adopting legislative decisions are also supposed to be public, but it is difficult to access their records.
When advancing the democratisation of the EU, it is better to control those who make decisions in our name. The planned demise of the “Troika”, which brought together the Commission, the Central Bank and the IMF side by side with countries like Greece, will put an end to a confusion and opacity, which is very damaging on a civic level. The establishment of a full-time President of the Eurogroup and a subcommittee dedicated to the euro area in the European Parliament would also allow us to see things more clearly!
In addition, we need to better control our national representatives: France has the only Head of State and Government who does not report to Parliament on the decisions taken in the framework of the European Council. Why not allow the President to do so through the announced reform of our Constitution, as proposed by the Bartolone-Winock Report?
The “democratic conventions” on Europe held in 2018 must put such proposals on the table as well as reviving European construction and reforming EU policies. The activists of the European Movement – France will mobilise throughout the territory to guarantee the popular and pluralistic dimension of these Conventions and the taking into account of the recommendations they will issue. They will activate their networks to reinforce the European character of the Conventions so that they are marked by the openness needed for a better Europe.
The revival of the European project and its democratisation must progress at the same time, reinforcing the cohesion that the EU needs now more than ever standing in front of the extraordinary political and geopolitical challenges that it faces.