On his blog (in Swedish), Dick Erixon writes about a speech held by the Dutch prime minister, Jan Peter Balkende. In the speech, held in the European Parliament, Mr Balkende describes a honest and surprisingly insightful analysis of why the Dutch voters rejected the constitutional treaty. In essence: it didn’t provide any limits on EU power. He also presented four points, which he feels are necessary for the Dutch people to agree to a revised treaty. I translate from Mr Erixon’s blog.
1. Remove everything that by name and form is reminiscent of a constitution. Treaties should be concerned with particular issues.
2. Give the national parliaments greater influence over EU policy. National parliaments should vote on any EU treaty and if more than half of them rejects it, the treaty will not pass. This would make the EU more democratic.
3. To increase efficiency there should be more of majority decisions and less vetoes. This, however, requires that the areas that the EU can make policy on is limited, in order to assure national sovereignty.
4. The criteria for admitting new members should be explicitly mentioned in the treaties.
This seems like a step in the right direction. Whether it is actually plausible, however, might be doubtful. It is not likely to be well received in Brussels.
Personally I would also like to see the EU Parliament entirely dismantled. Given the extremely low voter turnout its democratic validity is doubtful, and it contains too many politicians that need to make themselves known to the public for anything good to come out of it. If it was replaced by votes in the national parliaments, which people at least sometimes knows at least something about, that would probably make for fewer silly and hurtful policies.
It will be interesting to see if any other political leaders support Mr Balkende.
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