New treaty or older issues?

Would a new treaty solve the current EU debacle?

There is a distinct possibility, argued by many, that a new treaty, sparked off the Cameron speech could in turn prove to be a turning point in EU development. Even if in principle I share that view, some things need to be achieved beforehand. And chief amongst those is talking with the citizens.

The Commission has dubbed 2013 as European Year of Citizens. However I think the understanding of the topic, and moreover, the way it is applied is not exactly the best. Sure enough, understanding the benefits and advantages of the European Citizenship is important, but how about responsibilities?

And in turn, what type of responsibilities are we talking about? Most of the presumed responsibilities associated with citizenship as a concept, are already encompassed in the national citizenship that each EU citizen has. And so the problem becomes what responsibilities can we associate with EU citizenship?

It’s important, for me, that citizenship not only denote in benefits but also in responsibilities. Because things granted tend to be taken lightly since there is no associated conditionality to them. You can’t lose your EU citizenship as long as you are citizen to one MS, and since no MS (yet) has left the EU, no one ever lost his citizenship. That’s not entirely a bad thing, but experience has shown that most desired citizenships also have a quite distinct opportunity to be lost.

I think it is important to understand that when something that brings inherent advantage is also losable, people will start paying attention more to what it is that they need to do / upheld / protect.

I would love to see this initiative from the Commission take a more poignant approach to educating the European Citizen on EU affairs. To break the barrier that separate Brussels from the world. The crystal palace seemingly being built in Belgium does not help the cohesion of the EU.   It alienates and rips through the potential integrated population. It creates friction and opens the door to latent exaggerated nationalism.

The young tree that the EU is needs not sever its finest roots – the people. Cut down sufficient of them and the tree will come down. But in order for Brussels to understand this, it might first need to understand that governments, no matter how transparently and democratically chosen at one point in time, are not the people. And that communication needs to be adapted, not to 27 (soon 28) languages but to 500 million voices that don’t resound in Brussels, to 500 million people that are worried about tomorrow.

And tomorrow can’t be built without them.

 

3 Responses to New treaty or older issues? »»

  1. Comment by Euronomist | 2013/01/29 at 11:02:39

    Having seen some of the articles which proclaim that due to the Cameron speech (from now Speech) a new treaty or an improvement would occur I would have to cast my doubts on the subject for two main reasons:

    1. The Speech was in no way suggesting or proposing any alternatives to the current situation. It was the rambling of a politician who caught himself between a rock and a hard place and not knowing what to do tried to get the most out of it by proposing a date after the 2015 elections in order to have everyone on his side. That didn’t work as people are not so stupid as politicians believe. In addition, the only actual proposal in the Speech was that the parliaments should be given more power in order to have more accountability.
    Here, Cameron was once again assuming that we have a much lower IQ than we actually do. Think of it this way: in most countries of the EU, the Prime Minister is elected by the Parliament. Thus, we are presented with a conflict of interest: why would the Parliament hold the PM accountable for something done, when they have elected him/her themselves? Even in countries where the president is directly elected by the people it is rarely the case that the party (or parties) supporting the president does not have a majority in the Parliament. Thus, with their incentives focused on the president how is giving more power to the parliament going to solve anything?

    Power should be given to the people and not the dying representative system.

    2. We then come to another issue: should change be done just because a MS has threatened to exit the EU or because we want to? If it is for the latter reason then I would personally prefer that no change was done. If we are to live in a Union who succumbs to threats then we are doomed to be destroyed. We agree that Brussels should bring forth a large array of changes, making people feel more as part of a family than feeling that an “aristocracy” is ruling them from far away.

    We agree that citizens should have more responsibilities than they now do. This should lead them to actually understand how important this opportunity of a great European family is, and actually cherish and enjoy it.

    What should not be forgotten is that Brussels has to do something for us too: “A government from the people, by the people and for the people” is what we should wish for in the future

  2. Comment by Horatiu Ferchiu | 2013/01/29 at 11:11:58

    That is precisely why I left out all matters pertaining to the speech aside. I started my day reading a bunch of comments from around the Union on the possible introduction of a new treaty as a consequence / reply to Cameron.
    We are quite in agreement with the whole Cameron situation. But I will draw your attention to the situation currently in Romania where the President and PM are from different political constructs, and the PM controls the Parliament and advocating for more Parliamentary power. So that in its turn is a worthy debate, since more accountability for the Parliament is always desired, but “accountability to whom?” since more power can also lead to Parliamentary dictatorship. At this point, without a document pertaining to Cameron’s demands it’s kind of hard to actually come up with a relevant comment.

    On what concerns the state of the Union, and it’s strength, see my previous article :)

  3. Comment by Euronomist | 2013/01/29 at 11:33:48

    I have :)

    Yet, you are right here. Accountability to whom? The only possible answer for me is “accountability to the people they supposedly represent”.

    Adding more power to the Parliament will not make the PM or the President more accountable. It will just make the form of governance more “aristocratic” than it is now. (aristos in Greek means excellent, but unfortunately I think that those forming the Parliament are far from being excellent)


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