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Does Europe's Democracy need a fundamental update?

77 ended sessions
590 Participating

All the sessions of this House Parliament were held

Look at you now the evaluated results of this House Parliament. Soon follow the opinions of the parliamentarians addressed.

Poll question

Does Europe's Democracy need a fundamental update?

Abolish the veto in the Council, strengthen the Parliament, involve citizens continuously.

Background

In the arena of European politics, citizens are often standing only on the sidelines. Participating in the European elections every few years is not enough for more and more people. An overwhelming 92% of people in the EU want their voices to be taken more into account (Eurobarometer, 2021). 44% of citizens demand fundamental institutional reforms (Eurobarometer, 2020). In line with the currently ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe (#CoFoE), that brings citizens from across the EU together and offers a space to share ideas and suggestions, this round of European HouseParliaments focuses on European democracy. In this round, we want to discuss and debate three fundamental reforms to strengthen and renew European democracy.

Part questions

1. Should the principle of unanimity in the Council of the European Union be abolished and replaced by qualified majority voting?

Background: At the Council of the European Union (Council of Ministers), the government representatives of the member states meet regularly to discuss and make decisions on important European policy areas (e.g. foreign and security policy, social affairs, finance, environment). This so-called "chamber of states" exercises lawmaking within the European Union together with the European Parliament. For central issues, such as foreign and security policy, financial budget or citizens' rights, the unanimity principle applies and this allows individual states to block or delay decisions. It is proposed to abolish this veto system and replace it with a qualified majority (55% of member states voting in favor of a proposal by member states that together account for at least 65% of the total population of the EU) or a newly designed majority voting procedure.

Pro

Faster decisions and thus increased reaction speed in crises are possible.

Qualified majority promotes European rather than national policies

Makes the EU less susceptible to blackmail by individual member states

Contra

Current unanimity principle requires agreement by all members states and thus promotes unity in the EU

Can deepen divisions among EU member states

The unanimity principle ensures national souveranity

Additions from the meetings

Could support citizens in countries that oppose a certain law

There might be a risk that countries leave the organization and therefore you put their citizens at risk

1/18

2. Should a representative citizens' council advise the EU institutions on fundamental decisions?

Background: Outside of European elections, European citizens do not have many opportunities to contribute their ideas and perspectives. Citizens' Councils can change that. They are a permanent institution of citizen participation. European citizens are randomly selected by lot to join the Citizens' Council, which advises the EU institutions on fundamental European policy issues. Citizens' Council members do not have a mandate like members of parliament. They make recommendations, can be asked for their opinion and are therefore an additional link between the population and the EU institutions.

Pro

Permanent opportunity for citizens to contribute ideas and bring in perspectives

Makes EU institutions more responsive to the needs and ideas of citizens

Brings citizens and politicians together and increases trust in European democracy

Contra

The EU Parliament is the permanent and legitimately elected representation of the citizens. An additional Citizens' Council is not necessary and weakens the Parliament.

Prolongs procedures and decision-making processes in the EU

High demands and pressure on participating citizens

Additions from the meetings

Can add to the ideation process

It can get out of hand

1/18

3. Should the European Parliament be able to propose and initiative its own legislation in addition to the EU Commission?

Background: Currently, the European Commission is the only EU institution with the right to propose legislation. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union can only request the Commission to take legislative action on a specific issue. In recent years, the Commission has responded more frequently to proposals from the Council, but less so from the Parliament. It is proposed to give the European Parliament, as the representative of the EU citizens and the only fully democratically elected body in the EU, the right of legislative initiative.

Pro

More ideas and proposals for the EU legislative process

The right to propose legislation strengthens the role of the Parliament in the structure of the EU institutions

The right can strengthen the confidence of citizens in the effectiveness of elected representatives

Contra

The EU Parliament can already propose topics to the EU Commission today

Even more duplicate competences. The power of the EU Commission will be weakened and procedures extended

The right to propose legislation by parliaments already exists today on the national level, but is rarely actively used. Governments propose most laws.

Additions from the meetings

Will strengthen the parliament

Will create additional competition towards communion and even to national parliaments. Unless the EU will become a parliamentary system

1/15

Impressions from the house parliaments

Evaluation

Does Europe's Democracy need a fundamental update?

77 Meetings

Consents 73

Rejections 1

Abstentions 3


1. Should the principle of unanimity in the Council of the European Union be abolished and replaced by qualified majority voting?

The voting results are made up of 407 together registered results.

Tendency (median)

8

Average

7.4

2. Should a representative citizens' council advise the EU institutions on fundamental decisions?

The voting results are made up of 405 together registered results.

Tendency (median)

6

Average

5.6

3. Should the European Parliament be able to propose and initiative its own legislation in addition to the EU Commission?

The voting results are made up of 405 together registered results.

Tendency (median)

8

Average

7.5

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