The forgotten democracy

Article published on June 23, 2003
community published
Article published on June 23, 2003

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

2/3 or 3/5? For Giscard & Co this is the question. Is it not more interesting to know what role and weight citizens will have in the future of Europe?

European institutions were born and imposed themselves in order to better guarantee rights and freedoms which obsolete national bodies were no longer able to defend from internal/external threats. But the Convention did not deal with the problem of building a democratic Europe (or at least a more democratic Europe). Its work was more of allocation and redistribution of powers. That is why it is increasingly clear that the ongoing battle within the empty corridors of the European institutions is a settling of scores between interest groups, white-collared lobbyists, national histories, technocratic knowledge and democratic unaccountability.

Sick of institutionalism? I can recommend a psychotherapist.

Prodi and Giscard, intergovernmentalists or integrationists, disagree on everything that is irrelevant to us citizens, but they continue to agree on excluding, until it will be possible, from what is their Europe citizens and their freedoms and rights of deciding and criticizing who governs them.

Is it really relevant to we citizens of Europe to know if the majority of the Council is fixed at 2/3 or 3/5? Who is interested in the numbers of European deputies (MEPs) until the institution is a mere onlooker in the decision-making process that really counts? Is it really important to know how many Commissioners there will be and if they will have the same prerogatives? How much of our lives will change with the institution of the European Congress?

If there still is anyone passionate about these debates it must basically be someone who has worked in the Commission for the last 30 years (and has to take bread and benefits home). Otherwise it must be someone who suffers from giving severe attention to institutional alchemy. To these people, I can recommend a brilliant psychotherapist who has tried to cure me too (and quite successfully) from this same illness.

Giscard & Prodi are not your type? Sorry, you have to keep them.

Is it not more interesting to know what role and how much political power citizens will have in the future of Europe? Would it not be more appropriate to ask oneself if and how to build the first supranational democracy, rather than an uncontrolled collection of powers and uncontrollable institutions and media for the citizens?

Without a doubt it is easier to find a European Congress that answers these kind of questions, but given the attention and method with which the members of the Convention have been chosen, we could not have expected more. In a democracy when politicians appear blind and unable, there exists the option of changing them via elections. This does not and cannot happen in the Europe designed by this Convention.