A Brussels antithesis reveals where the EU is heading

From left to right: Mr Olli Rehn, Vice President of the European Commission, Mr Michael Noonan, Irish Minister for Finance. Press conference after the Ecofin Council of 5.3.2013. (The Council of the European Union photographic library).

From left to right: Mr Olli Rehn, Vice President of the European Commission, Mr Michael Noonan, Irish Minister for Finance. Press conference after the Ecofin Council of 5.3.2013. (The Council of the European Union photographic library).

Yesterday in the Ecofin Council in Brussels, a handful of politicians from EU’s member states, away from their constituencies, left to be ‘guided’ by the European Commission in mortgaging to the EU’ bureaucracy their counties’ financial sovereignty, by approving the “two pack” directives. On the same occasion they created the clan of the ‘undead’ banks that is, the private financial firms which by being officially proclaimed as ‘systemic’, are bound to live for ever. On the same day however, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), representing authentically the civil society organisations from all Member States, announced that according to a survey Europeans believe in participatory democracy.

The antithesis between those two events gives a more or less clear depiction of the huge democratic deficit in the EU functioning. It is even more worrisome, that despite the enhancement of the role of the European Parliament, there is less and less democratic legitimacy and effectiveness in the Brussels’ structures. Let’s elaborate a bit on these two events.

The Brussels’ antithesis

On the one side, yesterday a historic event took place in the Ecofin Council, where a few people decided to subordinate the member states government budgets to the Commission’s discretion. This development exceeds by far the changes contained in the “European Constitution”, which was gloriously rejected in two referendums in France and Holland some years ago.

On the other side the fence the European Economic and Social Committee tried yesterday to save whatever relics of democracy can be saved in Brussels, by commissioning a survey on citizens’ democratic preferences and aspirations.  According to the EESC this “Flash Eurobarometer measuring citizens’ engagement, shows that Europeans trust civil society organisations to influence policies and make a difference in the life of their communities”.

Judging the findings of the survey ‘e contrario’, it is obvious that everyday people do not trust the mainstream political parties and authorities and even less the political horse-trading of Brussels. Instead, they try to create a better environment for themselves, by engaging in “participatory democracy activities, including signing petitions and becoming active members of non-governmental organisations, mainly at local and national level”.

Still everyday people are sceptical if such activities can influence the European Union decision-making process. According to the EESC, “civil society organisations are regarded in the survey as more likely to influence decision-making at local and national level (75% and 70% respectively) than at the level of the EU (53%)”. As a matter of fact the average European citizen feels alienated from what happens in Brussels. This fact supports those who see a growing democratic deficit in the doings of the European Union. Unfortunately no EU leader seems worried or working to reduce the absence of democratic accountability in the EU affairs.

In short, what happened yesterday in Brussels is very characteristic of where the EU is now heading. On the procedural level all decision-making is definitively taking place away from the many. The word ‘referendum’ is completely forgotten by all and every EU dignitary. The initiative by the British Prime Minister David Cameron to hold a referendum, on his country’s position in or out the EU, has nothing to do with democracy in Brussels. It is a just an internal British political issue, related more to Cameron’s position within his own political party, with no relation whatsoever to the democratic deficit in the European Union.

As for the subject matter of yesterday’s decisions in the Ecofin, they are designed to bind the weak member states to the Brussels bureaucracy and its masters in Berlin, Paris and why not London. The “two pack” directives provide an EU prerogative, over the fiscal policy in all and every member state. Knowing however the way the EU functions, the screening will be much more exhaustive for the small countries.

As for the official acknowledgement that some European banks are more ‘systemic’ than others, it denounces again that Brussels develop bit by bit a mentality favouring the freezing of the business scenery in the financial industry. What exists today as major banking firm is guaranteed to continue as such. By the same token it’s like trying to secure the banking sectors’ prerogative over the economy and the society as a whole. This is neither democracy not even capitalism.

In reality the Brussels bureaucracy can decide now on how the 27 member states will spend their money. Apart from that it also tries to create nothing less than a new economic system, by exorcising competition from the financial sector. Of course Berlin and Paris are not innocent of those developments.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Scaling for success: SMEs, tech innovations and the ITU Telecom World Awards 2019, in association with The European Sting

How global tech can drive local healthcare innovation in China

Main results of Foreign Affairs EU Council, 16/07/2018

Black Panther’s ‘General Okoye’ joins the fight against gender-based violence

Commission reports on progress in risk reduction in the Banking Union and calls for faster progress on Capital Markets Union ahead of EU Leaders’ meetings

Voices of Afghan women ‘must be heard at the table in the peace process and beyond’ UN deputy chief tells Security Council

7 surprising and outrageous stats about gender inequality

“16+1” Cooperation injects new vigor into China-Europe cooperation

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: UNESCO ready to help after Notre Dame fire, and updates on Libya, Nicaragua, and the Cyclone Idai response

UN chief welcomes establishment of inclusive government in Central African Republic

Brussels terrorist attacks: Schengen in danger once again while leaders gather Europe’s multiple broken pieces

Social entrepreneurs can change the world – but these 6 things are holding us back

Ahead of street protests, UN rights chief urges Guatemalan Government to respect democratic freedoms

How Finland is fighting fake news – in the classroom

UN food agency begins ‘last resort’ partial withdrawal of aid to opposition-held Yemeni capital

Somalia: UN mission head condemns deadly terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, Galkayo

FROM THE FIELD: 10,000 Indonesia quake survivors to receive UN tents

‘Highly explosive’ escalation of conflict and displacement across Syria’s Idlib, says top UN official

Malaysia has achieved high levels of growth, but must do more to address governance and social challenges

Turn toxic e-waste into a source of ‘decent work’, UN labour agency urges

The refugee crisis brings to light EU’s most horrible flaws and nightmares

Global Leaders Take The Stage At MWC Shanghai 2019, in association with The European Sting

The business case for diversity in the workplace is now overwhelming

Thailand gave healthcare to its entire population and the results were dramatic

MWC 2016 Live: Industrial world prepares to reap digital benefits

Young health workforce – a core of effective primary healthcare?

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Safeguarding civilians, strengthening Ebola response in DR Congo, marking Fistula Day, updates on CAR and Syria

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

This is what countries are doing to fight plastic waste

Release of prize-winning Reuters journalists in Myanmar welcomed by UN

EU Ambassadors in the EP: a multilateral approach to global challenges needed

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “No other problem has jeopardised the EU as much as the refugee question” Joachim Gauck, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, cries out from Davos

Charlotte in Ghana

Robots will soon be a necessity but they won’t take all our jobs

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Following the World Cup? Then you’re watching high-performing migrants at work

Mood changes in Europe in favour of growth and jobs

Do the giant banks ‘tell’ Britain to choose a good soft Brexit and ‘remain’ or else…?

Community Manager – 1289

UN forum spotlights cities, where struggle for sustainability ‘will be won or lost’

MWC 2016 LIVE: CEOs issue rallying call to drive ‘gigabit economy’

US-EU trade war: Berlin fearful of the second round

To Brexit, or not to Brexit…rather not: 10 Downing Street, London

How 5G can connect the affordable homes of the future

In Libya, Guterres ‘deeply concerned’ by risk of fresh military confrontation, urges restraint

“The winner is who can accelerate the transition to a new digital era”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015: a Digital Europe 4.0

Millions of people eat octopus- here’s why we shouldn’t

Brexit: With May gone the Tory divide is to sink the UK despite Brits wanting to ‘Remain’

Better sanitation for India is in the pipeline

The ECB must extend its money stimulus beyond 2018: Draghi reckoning

Deaf advocate voices importance of sign languages as UN marks first commemoration

We’ve lost 60% of wildlife in less than 50 years

Luxembourg has achieved high levels of growth and well-being but must do more to preserve and share prosperity

United States: UN human rights office welcomes California moratorium on death penalty

Recognizing, protecting and empowering youth rights in Europe and the world

UN must provide redress for minorities placed in toxic Kosovo camps, says rights expert

3 things you need to know about securing a blockchain

Businesses succeed internationally

Growing up near green space is good for your mental health as an adult

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday.

    It will always be exciting to read articles from other authors and use a little something from other sites.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s