EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘Hedge funds seek allies in new EU Parliament‘:

The EU president (created by the Lisbon Treaty) should be given a veto over decisions reached by qualified majority voting (QMV) in the Council.

The way in which QMV functions presently is deeply undemocratic. States with nothing but an academic interest in an issue can pass legislation which may be very damaging to a key industry within another member state.

An example of this situation is the current debate over financial regulation. Britain, which accounts for 80% of hedge fund activity in the EU, will have to accept legislation drafted by its competitors (who account for the remaining 20% of EU activity in this area).

A veto for the EU president would ensure that all EU citizens’ opinions were considered in QMV decisions. This would enhance the democratic legitimacy of decisions reached this way.

This democratic legitimacy would be enhanced further if the president was directly elected by all EU citizens.

J.H.

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Comments

  1. There is no reason to have a president of europe. we have seen what happens when the eu takes power, the people become disenfranchised, which is what the eussr constitution/lisbon treaty is committed to setting in stone. Ireland would be far better off sending a message to the unelected filed politicians who make up the commission that they are not going to hand them all the power they crave. Any Irish person who believes that they will be sidelined if they vote no should understand the opposite is true if they vote yes, because they will have no say whatsoever once this piece of legislation is imposed on us by the corruption ridden democratically deficient eussr.

  2. If any EU state doesn’t want to grow with the EU itself, please feel free to leave the Union and continue your lives as an EEA member – like Norway. EU is on the verge of becoming a country and those states that oppose this should not hold back those states that do

  3. I agree with miha. It is hardly ever talked about, but if Irish voters and politicans believe they are truly under-represented in the EU (which they aren’t, considering the 3M Irish currently have veto power over 455M European citizens), they are free to become an EEA state only, or worse, join Iceland’s path.

    People like JH throw around “democratic legitimacy” without any attachment to reality or a proper method of comparison. http://livingtheeuropeandream.blogspot.com/2009/09/on-democratic-legitimacy.html

  4. Sorry, but this is one of the most confused arguments I have ever read. The Council is made up of ministers who are part of elected national governments, while the MEPs are directly elected. So how would giving a veto over their decisions to an unelected person strengthen democratic legitimacy? And I don’t see how a presidential veto could ‘ensure’ that all EU citizens’ views are represented – since there will always be some citizens on each side of an issue. Anyway how could the unelected president be more representative of citizens’ views than elected governments/MEPs – who hold their posts on the basis of ‘representative democracy’?

    The democratic legimitacy argument would be addressed if the president were directly elected (ie the final suggestion), but such a system would radically weaken the role of national governments in the Council, and surely few EU citizens are crying out for this much centralisation of power by the EU.

  5. A completely ridiculous proposal. First of all it creates a kind of single-person dictatorship. On which grounds and for which purposes can the president single-handed decide to call a veto. Remember that the president of the Eur. Council does not bear any national mandate.
    Second of all it totally reduces the constitutional differences between Council and European Council. The European Council decides about the general policies and about very sensitive politicized policies. The Council on the normal issues.
    The proposal neglects the habit of concensus politics and bargaining in the Council. Next to it it enhances the profile of the President vis-a-vis the Commission and the European Parliament. The president of the Commission is appointed by the representatives of the European People. Within the normal legislative procedure all measures are also considered by the same people. Their opinion can be reduced to nothing by one single, (appointed) person. So far for any real democratic enhancement of the European Union. An election for a president cannot be held in the current constellation. Already we see a problem with turnouts of less than 50%. Who will deliver candidates ? What about nationality ?
    The president as a party above the parties and without an interest in the stakes is the best solution. It improves the inner workings of the Eur. Council and enhances its general and political profile and continuity. For now that is enough.

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