donderdag 25 juli 2013



The European Parliament is on recess and most of the Commission civil servants are somewhere in their native countries. The summer is a great moment to lay on the beach and think about the next Treaty change, and what should be in it. The whole of summer I will blog about reform options of the EU. Some of the ideas will be radical, others will be more incremental. To kick it off I will grab the bull by its horns

Article 11 of the Lissabon Treaty 
The institutions shall, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the 

opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action

How to make the EU more transparent.

Roll call voting in the Parliament Committee’s

At this moment roll call votes or electronic voting is not possible in the European Parliament committee's. Meaning that after voting has taken place there isn't a registration showing who exactly voted in which way. In this way we cannot hold individual MEP's accountable for their voting paterns in the EP Committee's. Because committee's have such a great influence on the decisive vote in the plenary, transparency would benefit a great deal if we knew the individual positions of members of parliament in the individual committee's. An effort by the British MEP Andrew Duff to change this was rejected by the EP constitutional affairs committee. Some MEP's argued that it would be technically difficult to implement, which of course is baloney.

Limit trialogues

Before Lissabon, trialogues were something reserved for the final stages of the co-decision process. If the first reading and second reading failed, council, commission and parliament would enter into trialogues in the last stage to make ammends.Nowadays, 58% of all legislation is finished by first reading, meaning that a lot of decision making is made during trialogue meetings before the piece of legislation even gets to the first reading vote. While it is understandable that for complex issues or controversiel issues it is easier to reach a compromise behind close doors, trialogues kill public debate and make it very difficult to scrutinize individuals MEP's. 

Dualism; True seperation of the exective and the legislative 

While limiting trialogues will surely improve transperency, it would only be treating the symptoms of a much larger problem; the fact that in Brussels, informal processes grreatly hamper the seperation of powers. Because MEP's, political advisors are in constant contact with the Commission or Council services, public debates are rendered useless. In fact public debates in committee meetings are used to sum up what is agreed behind closed doors, not to have a hounest debate. If Brussels is serious about transperency it should take the Dutch example, where civil servants are forbidden to talk to Members of Parliament and vice versa.  

Bring back the e-mails!

While I still can use the WHO is WHO in the EU directory, I think it is a serious setback to democracy that the European Parliament deleted the email adresses of the MEP's from their profile page. While serious lobbyists and interest representatives will already have all the MEP' emails (and of their assistants) , ordinary citizens will have a more difficult time to contact "their" member of parliament. 

Article 10 Lisbon Treaty 
Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions 
shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen. 

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten