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Tory legacy shattered

Ideas on Europe Blog - Sat, 19/09/2020 - 15:03

Believe it or not, Conservatives used to be the party of Europe.

Indeed, it was:

  • The Conservatives that joined the UK to the European Community.
  • The Conservatives that advocated and helped to design the EU’s Single Market.
  • The Conservatives that encouraged the former Communist countries to join.

It was also one of the Tory party’s greatest leaders, Winston Churchill, who promoted the cause of a united Europe as the antidote to war on our continent.

It was 74 years ago today, on 19 September 1946, that Churchill gave his landmark speech at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, when he called for a united Europe as the way to guarantee peace.

His aim was to eliminate the European ills of nationalism and war-mongering once and for all. He proclaimed his remedy, just one year after the end of the war:

“It is to re-create the European family, or as much of it as we can, and to provide it with a structure under which it can dwell in peace, in safety and in freedom.

“We must build a kind of United States of Europe.”

The European Economic Community was formed on 25 March 1957 with the signing of the Treaty of Rome by the six founding European nations: France, Italy, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Just four months later, at London’s Central Hall, Westminster in July 1957, Churchill gave a speech welcoming the formation of a “common market” and stating:

“We genuinely wish to join…”

From then onwards, every Conservative Prime Minister strongly endorsed Britain being a member of the European Community – with the notable exceptions of the current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his immediate predecessor, Theresa May.

Hardened Eurosceptics were always previously on the far side-lines of the Conservative party. But now, they’re in charge, with Mr Johnson at least pretending to be one of them (he wasn’t always).

This month last year, 21 Conservative MPs were sacked because they rebelled against the UK crashing out of the EU in a catastrophic no-deal Brexit.

Those no longer welcomed included Sir Nicholas Soames, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.

Sir Nicholas had been a Tory MP for 37 years, and like his granddad, is a passionate supporter of a united Europe.

His sacking shockingly demonstrated that the new Europhobic Tory party could no longer tolerate pro-EU members in their midst.

Although Boris Johnson restored Sir Nicholas to the party a few weeks later, he decided not to stand again as a Conservative candidate.

A few months before the EU referendum, Sir Nicholas gave an impassioned speech in the House of Commons, remembering his grandfather’s address in Zurich, which he described as a speech of “great prescience and great vision.”

Sir Nicholas extolled the European Union’s remarkable achievement in bringing us:

“peace, stability, freedom and security unprecedented in a thousand years of European history.”

He added:

“It is a very great credit to our country that we should have played such a leading role in seeing this through.”

But his message, along with that of his grandfather, Sir Winston Churchill, is now off-message.

Can the Conservative Party ever be the same again? Their pro-Europe legacy has been shattered.

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Posted by Jon Danzig on Saturday, 19 September 2020

 

The post Tory legacy shattered appeared first on Ideas on Europe.

Categories: European Union

Agenda - The Week Ahead 21 – 27 September 2020

European Parliament - Fri, 18/09/2020 - 14:10
Committee meetings - Brussels

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Press release - MEPs to discuss the situation in Belarus with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Monday

European Parliament - Fri, 18/09/2020 - 14:09
Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs will discuss the dramatic developments in Belarus with opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on Monday, 21 September.
Committee on Foreign Affairs

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Press release - EU long-term budget: EP still fighting for a good agreement

European Parliament - Fri, 18/09/2020 - 14:06
During the fourth trilateral talks with Council and Commission, Parliament’s negotiators underline that a lot remains to be done before an acceptable agreement can be reached.
Committee on Budgets

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Article - Plenary highlights: State of the EU, Covid-19, recovery plan

European Parliament - Fri, 18/09/2020 - 12:14
MEPs debated the state of the EU, came up with measures to fight Covid-19 and opened the way for the recovery plan during a busy September plenary.

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Pacta sunt servanda: a guide

Ideas on Europe Blog - Fri, 18/09/2020 - 12:02
Given all the recent interest in breaking treaties, I thought it’d be useful to provide you with a quick guide to what is generally accepted to be the international framework for this: pacta sunt servanda. A short Twitter thread puts some words to it, and a PDF version is available here.

The post Pacta sunt servanda: a guide appeared first on Ideas on Europe.

Categories: European Union

Press release - COVID-19 vaccines: Public hearing in European Parliament

European Parliament - Fri, 18/09/2020 - 11:37
Addressing the challenges linked to securing access to safe COVID-19 vaccines will be the main topic of an online hearing on 22 September from 09.00-12.00 in the European Parliament.
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

To strengthen democratic legitimacy in a differentiated EU, turn to transnational lists

Ideas on Europe Blog - Fri, 18/09/2020 - 10:55

The EU’s legitimacy depends on institutional procedures that respect democratic principles – both in cases of uniform and differentiated integration, Max Heermann argues.  

Photo: European Parliament / Flickr / CC BY 4.0

Crises often reveal the need for closer European cooperation. At the same time, they highlight divisions among the European Union’s member states about the right path forward. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. The European Council may have, for now, agreed on a financial recovery plan. Nevertheless, demands for new competences on the EU-level are sure to emerge. Healthcare, in which the EU has little power, is a likely candidate.

To free necessary reforms from political gridlock, it is often suggested that the EU should resort to “differentiated integration”, the idea that not all EU member states need to take part in a common policy area for integration to move forward.

Politicians and political theorists have long debated the desirability and legitimacy of differentiated integration as such. Still, they have spent little time on the question of how to govern a differentiated Union.

An increasingly differentiated EU requires normatively defendable procedures that citizens perceive as legitimate. But do institutions which were designed for uniform integration provide sufficient legitimacy for differentiated policies?

Do institutions which were designed for uniform integration provide sufficient legitimacy for differentiated policies?

The upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe, a planned series of debates among and between citizens and political elites from across the Union, should address this question.

Another issue likely to come up during the Conference is the establishment of transnational voting lists for the European Parliament (EP). In fact, from the perspective of institutional design, differentiated integration and the EP’s electoral system are closely related. Dirk Leuffen and I explore this connection in a new study, which asks how the EU’s legislative organs – the Council and the Parliament – should legislate in differentiated policy areas.

Differentiated integration’s challenge to the European Parliament

In the Council, member states that have opted out of a common policy area are excluded from the legislative decision-making in this area. In contrast, the European Parliament allows all its members (MEPs) to cast their vote.

This practice results in a mismatch between the territorial scope of EU policies and the composition of the legislature: MEPs vote on bills that will not apply to their constituents.

From a normative point of view, this mismatch is troubling because it violates two fundamental principles of democracy: autonomy and accountability.

The principle of autonomy, understood as collective self-government and the freedom from domination, demands that those who are subjected to laws should be the ones authorized to make them. In the case of differentiated integration, autonomy is violated when MEPs from opt-out states make laws to which they themselves and the voters they represent are not bound. Moreover, they cannot be held accountable by those voters who live in a member state that does participate in the given policy area and who are therefore directly subjected to their decisions.

Even though the European Treaties stipulate that the EP represents all European citizens, the European elections currently fail to provide an effective mechanism of accountability. Each member state devises its own electoral rules. National parties organise campaigns where domestic issues often dominate. MEPs depend on their national parties for re-elections and future careers.

Therefore, they are more likely to vote with their national party than with their transnational parliamentary group, a fact often masked by high levels of voting cohesion in the parliamentary groups. Participation of their member states in a differentiated policy area may consequently influence the voting behaviour of MEPs. Léa Roger and colleagues found that MEPs from countries outside of the Eurozone, were more likely to vote for new fiscal rules which they knew would not apply to their own home country.

MEPs from countries outside of the Eurozone, were more likely to vote for new fiscal rules which they knew would not apply to their own home country.

Consequently, from the perspective of autonomy and accountability, MEPs whose state does not take part in a differentiated policy area, should not be allowed to vote on these policies.

However, defenders of the current practice evoke another basic democratic principle: the equality of citizens and their representatives. Deirdre Curtin and Cristina Fasone argue that stripping individual MEPs of their voting rights in some areas due to their nationality would violate their equality, turning them into second-class MEPs and their voters into second-class citizens. If MEPs are reduced to mere national delegates, the EP will lose its symbolic function as the Parliament of the European demos, impairing the EU’s legitimacy more generally.

Ensuring democratic legitimacy in a differentiated EU

Differentiated integration thus creates a trade-off between the basic democratic principles of equality, accountability and autonomy that does not exist in the case of uniform integration. As Dirk Leuffen and I discuss in our paper, different reform proposals for decision-making in the EP weigh these principles differently.

The trade-off can be resolved, however, by introducing a unified electoral system with transnational lists. MEPs elected from transnational rather than from national lists will be, in principle, true representatives of the European demos.

MEPs elected from transnational rather than from national lists will be, in principle, true representatives of the European demos.

This will satisfy the autonomy criterion, which demands that MEPs and their constituents are bound by the decisions they take. Voters from across the EU will be able to hold MEPs to account by punishing or rewarding them (or their party list) in the next election.

Advocates of transnational lists have long argued that they lead to behavioural changes of both politicians and voters, resulting in elections focused more on EU rather than on national politics.

Irrespective of such developments, transnational lists would satisfy the minimum criteria of equality, autonomy and accountability for decision-making by all MEPs, even in areas of differentiation.

A unique opportunity

The Conference on the Future of Europe provides a unique opportunity to highlight the connection between electoral rules and the democratic legitimacy of differentiated integration.

Moreover, in conjunction with new survey research, the citizen assemblies to be held as part of the Conference will offer political scientists the opportunity to better understand how citizens evaluate differentiated integration. Lawmakers will gain crucial knowledge for designing a differentiated EU that citizens from all member states perceive as fair and legitimate.

Holding a Conference on the Future of Europe after a decade of crises and incremental reform may lead to the political acknowledgement that differentiation is here to stay, and that the EU therefore needs institutional procedures that respect democratic principles both in cases of uniform and differentiated integration.

The post To strengthen democratic legitimacy in a differentiated EU, turn to transnational lists appeared first on Ideas on Europe.

Categories: European Union

110/2020 : 18 September 2020 - Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-265/19

European Court of Justice (News) - Fri, 18/09/2020 - 10:20
Recorded Artists Actors Performers
Freedom of establishment
EU law precludes a Member State from excluding performers who are nationals of States outside the EEA from the right to a single equitable remuneration for the playing of recorded music

Categories: European Union

Press release - Roma integration: EU must do more against social exclusion and anti-gypsyism

European Parliament - Fri, 18/09/2020 - 09:52
Structural anti-gypsyism must end, say MEPs, who demand measures to ensure Romani people have equal access to housing, education, healthcare and employment.
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Press release - COVID-19: Member states need to harmonise health assessments and measures

European Parliament - Thu, 17/09/2020 - 17:52
Common definitions, health criteria and methodologies are key to effectively fighting the ongoing pandemic and its economic consequences in the EU, MEPs say.
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Latest news - Next SEDE meeting - 28 September 2020 - Subcommittee on Security and Defence

In the context of the exponential growth of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the President of the European Parliament has announced a number of measures to contain the spread of epidemic and to safeguard Parliament's core activities.

On 2 July 2020, the Conference of Presidents adopted the revised EP Calendar 2020.

The current precautionary measures adopted by the EP to contain the spread of COVID-19 do not affect work on legislative priorities. Core activities are reduced, but maintained to ensure that the institution's legislative, budgetary, scrutiny functions are maintained.

Following these decisions, the next SEDE meeting is scheduled to take place on 28 September 2020 (online).

Recent press releases:

- Sahel, West Africa and the Horn of Africa: a new EU approach is necessary - 16 September 2020
- MEPs to discuss new defence related priorities - 7 September 2020
...

For further press releases please see in the SEDE press room.


New EP calendar 2020
SEDE meetings' calendar 2020
Press release: Sahel, West Africa and the Horn of Africa: a new EU approach is necessary - 16 September 2020
Press release: MEPs to discuss new defence related priorities - 7 September 2020
Press release: Defence Subcommittee MEPs will meet new head of the European Defence Agency - 16 July 2020
Press release: MEPs debate defence priorities with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer - 14 July 2020
Press release: MEPs adopt a report on the implementation of EU arms export rules - 13 July 2020
Press release: European defence: Exchange with the French Minister of Armed Forces - 2 July 2020
Press release: The era of naive Europe is over, says Commissioner Breton - 25 June 2020
Press release: Call for a renewed relationship with the African continent based on solidarity and respect - 24 June 2020
Press release: EU must guarantee security to its citizens, warns Defence Subcommittee Chair - 26 May 2020
Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP

Press release - MEPs approve €6.2 billion to tackle crisis and speed up vaccine deployment

European Parliament - Thu, 17/09/2020 - 17:14
The funds will allow the EU to improve its chances of having an effective and safe vaccine available as soon as possible, and to step up COVID-19-related cohesion funding.
Committee on Budgets

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Article - Covid-19: MEPs insist on targeted support for culture

European Parliament - Thu, 17/09/2020 - 17:12
Europe should support the cultural sector during the Covid-19 crisis, say MEPs in a resolution adopted on 17 September.

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Press release - Human rights breaches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mozambique and the Philippines

European Parliament - Thu, 17/09/2020 - 17:03
On Thursday, Parliament adopted resolutions taking stock of the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique and the Philippines.
Committee on Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on Human Rights

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Article - Sakharov Prize 2020: the nominees

European Parliament - Thu, 17/09/2020 - 16:18
Find out about this year's nominees for the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Press release - MEPs call for EU sanctions against Belarusian President and Navalny’s poisoners

European Parliament - Thu, 17/09/2020 - 13:24
MEPs call for new presidential elections in Belarus and urge the EU to sanction President Lukashenko and the perpetrators behind Alexei Navalny’s poisoning.
Committee on Foreign Affairs

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Press release - Poland: Council has to “finally act” to protect minorities and the rule of law

European Parliament - Thu, 17/09/2020 - 13:08
Disrespect for judicial independence and the rights of LGBTI persons point to “overwhelming evidence” of breaches of EU values, Parliament says.
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Press release - Parliament wants the EU to tackle pharmaceutical pollution

European Parliament - Thu, 17/09/2020 - 13:07
The EU must take measures towards more sensible use and disposal of pharmaceuticals to prevent risks to the environment and public health, says Parliament.
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

Press release - COVID-19: EU must step up efforts to tackle medicine shortages

European Parliament - Thu, 17/09/2020 - 13:05
Parliament calls for the EU to be more self-sufficient when it comes to medicines and medical equipment so that affordable treatments are available at any time.
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

Source : © European Union, 2020 - EP
Categories: European Union

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