Anyone who voices criticism should also offer solutions. I therefore published a proposal to reform the EU back in the summer of 2016 and updated it later. I would like to briefly summarise the most important arguments below:
The EU's responsibility should be limited to its core competencies. These are foreign trade, customs union, competition law and the "conservation of marine resources within the framework of fisheries policy". Of the mixed competencies, "transboundary pollution", "transboundary biodiversity" and "reactor safety" should be declared core competencies.
All other mixed competencies should be returned to the nation States. These are the areas of monetary policy, consumer protection, research and development, social policy, security and defence policy, transport, environmental policy, agriculture and fisheries, and energy policy.
I call for the introduction of the à la carte principle for all competencies that are not core competencies. The basis for cooperation in most policy areas will then be based on the "enhanced cooperation" system enshrined in the European treaties. It must be possible to withdraw from joint programmes and these must be regulated by contract when they are concluded.
The European Commission should lose the right of legislative initiative on all issues that are not part of its core competencies. Under the "enhanced cooperation" system, nine member states may enter into voluntary cooperation. I support this principle, but would lower the requirements for the legislative initiatives.
Streamlining the European Union
The loss of mixed competencies means that a large number of the European Parliament's committees can be dispensed with. As a result, I call for a reduction of at least 50% in the number of MEPs.
Making the EU more flexible and leaner
Abolition of the Committee of the Regions and the Committee on Economic and Affairs. According to the à la carte principle countries should be allowed to withdraw from EU agencies.
The abolition of one of the two seats of the European Parliament.
The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice should be limited to core competencies and to voluntary cooperation, concluded according to the à la carte principle. The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice ends with the withdrawal from joint programmes as stipulated in the Treaty.
I call for the democratic correction of voting rights in the European Parliament. The number of members for each country should be in proportion to the number of its citizens.
Introduction of controls at the EU's internal borders with the biometric "smart borders" system. This system was developed for the rapid handling of travel at the EU's external borders. It should also become compulsory for foreigners at the Schengen borders if EU States wish to implement it.
All Member States should allocate 0.1% of GDP towards maintaining the infrastructure and personnel in the European institutions. Alternatively, this amount can also be partly provided from other sources, such as revenue from EU agencies.
The à la carte principle
How I imagine its implementation:
The governments of the Member States (four States or States with a total of 20 million Union citizens) are granted the right of initiative. They give a legislative initiative to the Commission. The Commission draws up a directive and conducts a consultation process with the Member States. This directive must then be voted on in the Council of Ministers.ach minister has the same number of votes as the total number of members of the European Parliament in their country and proportional to the size of their country. If more than 50% of the votes (simple majority) are cast for this directive, it is declared an official European directive. There is no obligation to transpose, but gentle pressure should be exerted to participate in European solutions. This directive will then be passed on to national parliaments to vote on whether they want to implement it in their country. It would be possible for them to reject this directive for their country or to adapt it to national needs. In the case of any national deviation, there should be an obligation to document this for the attention of the European Commission. Even directives that have not reached 50% may be adopted on a voluntary basis.
The Commission may only act within its core competencies or if it receives a clear mandate from the nation State. This clearly limits the European regulatory frenzy.
Responsibilities and accountability will become clearer and democratic control will be facilitated. The members of the national parliaments take most of the decisions for their country.
The European Parliament can be significantly reduced in size. There will be an official European directive in many areas. Good directives will be adopted by many States. The Member States' obligation to document any deviations will ensure that the Commission is kept fully informed of any shortcomings in its directives.
Cooperation within the European framework remains attractive. Joint infrastructure projects, for example, can be initiated and financed by a group of countries while other countries do not have to participate. Such cooperation can be attractive for the member states because they may then make use of the technical competencies of the European Commission and, with the ECJ, an authority that is neutral with regard to the participants will be responsible for jurisdiction.
In addition, I propose the introduction of a quality label for products that are manufactured in accordance with the European directives. Trade would to be responsible for implementation. Violations would be prosecuted by the EU Commission.
List of references for the used photos:
- Cover photo: Ulrike Trebesius
- Photo: Rawpixel.com @ Fotolia.com