Barbarians at the Gate? (3)

by Andrew Stuttaford

With the Davos crowd growing daily more uneasy (if still somewhat prematurely) about the prospect of a much larger euroskeptic contingent sitting in the European parliament after the May 2014 elections, The Economist’s Charlemagne returns to the topic of the EU’s democratic deficit. It’s an interesting piece, and well worth reading.

In particular, Charlemagne reports that Italy’s eurofundamentalist prime minister, Enrrico Letta has signed up for yet another bad idea whose time may have come:

Mr Letta is among those who want to galvanise pro-European forces by turning the European election into a contest for the next president of the European Commission. The main European political “families”, the broad coalitions of national parties that dominate parliament, say they will each campaign behind a “presidential” candidate. The Socialists seem likely to choose Martin Schulz, the feisty German president of the EP. The greens plan an open primary. The conservatives, likely to remain the biggest grouping, still seem to be in a quandary.

The ‘conservatives’ (for the most part a collection of dreary Christian Democrats) will doubtless go along. Charlemagne helpfully sets out some of the reasons why such an election would not work out as well as hoped, but doesn’t really focus on the most profound objection to it: without a ‘European’ demos, there cannot be a genuine pan-European democracy.

And that demos does not exist.

Here (from earlier this week) is UKIP’s Nigel Farage reminding the EU Parliament of just that fact.

Holding a Europe-wide election for the president of the Commission (with all the additional clout that such an election would inevitably bring), presumes that this is the sort of super-powered technocrat that the peoples of the EU wish to see put in charge. It is far from clear that they do. 

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