After Brexit, the EU will remain a global player, with 440 million citizens, and one of the biggest world economies.
How Brexit will impact the political weight of and the dynamics between smaller member states has generated far less attention than it should.
Brexit means losing capacity because a large and influential country is leaving. But Brexit also means that the EU gain the capacity to act.
It will be a different union from now on.
The starting point in trying to answer the question of how the EU should be reformed is the observation that the European Union has a very negative image today.
Let’s be frank:
As the UK has decided to leave the Single Market, it can no longer be as close economically to the rest of the EU. The UK wants to leave the common regulatory area, where people, goods, services and capital move freely across national borders. These are the economic foundations on which the EU was built. And the European Council – the 27 Heads of State or government – as well as the European Parliament have often recalled that these economic foundations cannot be weakened.
It is fair to say, however, that Brexit has prompted a great deal of political movement. The direction of this movement is yet unknown, but it has instilled a new sense of unity among the EU’s twenty-seven remaining members.
Contrary to what some had predicted, Brexit has not led to enthusiasm for more EU departures. On the contrary, member states have so far demonstrated they want to explore new ways to stay together.
However, the biggest danger to the EU is not Brexit but its citizens becoming more and more inward-looking.
There is certainly a lack of democracy in the decision-making at the European level.
But is the democratic deficit at the EU level worse than at the national level?
Legislation in the European Union is made by the Council of Ministers
and the European Parliament. The ministers are sent by their national governments, which hold power as a result of democratic elections in each country. Members of the European Parliament are elected directly.
The Council of Ministers, which is perhaps not what we want.
The main problem with the CoM is that the individual ministers are accountable to national parliaments, but the whole body isn’t accountable to anyone.
Unless the CoM is reformed in some significant ways the decision-making bodies in the European Union will not have the same
democratic legitimacy as national governments and parliaments.
This could be solved by making the CoM more independent, where the whole body would, for example, be elected by national parliaments at fixed times (say every 2 years or so).
Unless Europe becomes more than just a market that benefits not just its member states CORPORATIONS there is every likelihood that its days are numbered.
So instead of promoting economic and social welfare across Europe, the very thing that got the EU the Nobel prize for peace, the region should just not focus on trade relations but on engaging with its citizens at grass root level.
How can this be achieved?
By establishing legal immigration channels. Migration has completely upstaged all the good things that are being done all the time at the European level.
Because the EU has reduced the capacity of national governments to take on the role of protector, while nothing has been done to create such a mechanism at the EU level.
Because you cannot have a union with mass youth unemployment.
Because there is no direct way of its citizens to investing in the union as it develops other than harping back to the two world wars.
Because it is quite evident that Social media has the potential to connect far and wide but it also with its individual tailored algorithms is closing open-minded politics. Which means there is more information than ever about Europe, and it is sparking a debate which is unprecedented.
Because of a lack of interest.
Because over the past 5 to 7 years, there has been a very alarming and very dramatic loss of trust both in national governments and in the political institutions of the European Union.
Because there is practically no implementation of otherwise good initiatives from the top of EC or the governments at the lowest level of local communities. So, most citizens can’t really see any direct tangible interests for their benefit and are unsatisfied.
Because Politicians who are supposed to serve are focused mostly on infrastructure projects and big organizations on using these for their own benefit. The European officials spend far too much time on issues that everyday citizens are not, at least today, concerned about.
If we could get focus on say the five biggest issues affecting Europeans, one would expect to see reform in the number of people working with the institutions.
People in microlocal communities should be therefore more pro-active and self-organized to do the same not one by one but together in cooperation. However, rarely they are indeed doing it in this way.
I love Europe as a concept and the idea that we are part of a grouping where our everyday citizens can live, learn and love in any of 28 countries needs is a more positive participation of the citizens. Not an egocentric participation. More in the sense of “what can I do to improve citizenship and cooperation in Europe”. One where the everyday citizen is able to prioritize the big issues for Europe.
Securing the right outcome will be a tough balancing act:
It will take many guises: trends, signals, scenarios, visions, roadmaps and plans are all parts of the tool-box for looking to the future. In addition to these tools, using foresight requires an in-depth reflection on the policy implications and related scenarios.
In the end, it is the people that will make or break the EU so why not afford them an opportunity to contribute by issuing European green energy bonds that can be cashed in ten-twenty years. Just think what it would do to the whole of the European Union if it became self-sufficient in energy.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.