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Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?
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26.05.2015
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City/Town: Zurich
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Location: Zentrum Karl der Grosse, Kirchgasse 14

In the EU more than 500 million people in 28 countries have the right to vote in the European elections. Arguably this is an historic and unparalleled exercise in democracy. But how democratic is the EU?

More details and tickets here.

Join us for a lively debate with:
Luzi Stamm, vice-president of the SVP
Martin Naef, SP
Charlotte Sieber-Gasser, University of Bern
Bruno Waterfield, EU correspondent for The Times
Chaired by David Bowden, Institute of Ideas.

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  #2  
Old 01.05.2015, 01:06
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History...European_Union

Is the EU democratic? Not in the usual sense, but it works, so why break it?

The EU has been formed after many agreements between all the European countries. It has created 70 years of peaceful working together.
Looking at the world politics today, I think that is a great achievement.
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Old 01.05.2015, 01:22
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

And I think US watched Germany to not re-arm too quckly while UK and France got their nukes, and then the European powers figured out it is a lot less risky to mess with Africa, Middle East and Asia than risk a carpet bombing of a home base.
EU has little to do with it.
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Old 01.05.2015, 09:41
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

How can you put "EU" and "Democracy" in the same sentence?
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Old 01.05.2015, 11:15
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

Well you have these extremely powerful European Commissioners who are appointed, not elected, and so are not directly answerable to the electorate.

In fact they are not answerable to anyone.
If a Commissioner behaves inappropriately then the only possible action is for the EU Parliament to force the whole Commission (all the Commissioners) to resign en masse, this is a very clumsy mechanism and was only once threatened in 1999 but was never actually invoked.

Consequently I would say the EU is not democratic.
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Old 01.05.2015, 11:52
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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Well you have these extremely powerful European Commissioners who are appointed, not elected, and so are not directly answerable to the electorate.

In fact they are not answerable to anyone.
If a Commissioner behaves inappropriately then the only possible action is for the EU Parliament to force the whole Commission (all the Commissioners) to resign en masse, this is a very clumsy mechanism and was only once threatened in 1999 but was never actually invoked.

Consequently I would say the EU is not democratic.
So the commissioners must be approved by the elected parliament of the EU, are accountable to that parliament and can be removed by that parliament. And all the while their policy decisions are subject to the council of ministers, again elected at national elections and the EU courts. And this is some how less democratic than the UK with it's so called unwritten constitution, unelected upper House of Parliament and PM who tries to bribe the voters with the promise of a referendum on EU membership! You have to give it to Murdoch thou he has done a great job of brain washing his readers!
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Old 01.05.2015, 12:05
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

I think it tries to be a guardian of quality.
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Old 01.05.2015, 12:46
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

I'll be frank: I don't know how democratic is within all its institutions and mechanisms, decision making processes, but I personally see it as a historical chance for quite a few countries to rejoin the Western mainstream values. So yes, it is a guardian to democracy from this point of view.
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Old 01.05.2015, 12:52
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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So the commissioners must be approved by the elected parliament of the EU, are accountable to that parliament and can be removed by that parliament. And all the while their policy decisions are subject to the council of ministers, again elected at national elections and the EU courts. And this is some how less democratic than the UK with it's so called unwritten constitution, unelected upper House of Parliament and PM who tries to bribe the voters with the promise of a referendum on EU membership! You have to give it to Murdoch thou he has done a great job of brain washing his readers!
About "the commissioners must be approved by the elected parliament of the EU" A meaningless exercise, when did the EU parliament ever reject a commissioner? It is just a rubber stamp.

About "are accountable to that parliament" A statement without any meaning. There is no process for this or any regular reviews.

About "and can be removed by that parliament. " Did you read my post? Individual commissioners cannot be removed by parliament; it is the whole commission or nothing.

About "their policy decisions are subject to the council of ministers" Incorrect, policy decisions are made by the Commissioners in the weekly Commission meeting- source here.

About "some how less democratic than the UK" What is the relevance of this comment? The question was about the EU not the UK.
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Old 01.05.2015, 13:04
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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I think it tries to be a guardian of quality.
Link to something I just posted about honey which supports the quality aspect of the EU versus the U.S. with regards to food.
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Old 01.05.2015, 14:36
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

As far as I know EU is one the few confederation at this moment, even if it is not in the name. The opposite to Switzerland, that in my view is hardly a confederation, even if they call them like this.
I would say EU is actually taking steps (or started taking steps in that direction) that Switzerland did in past six centuries. How far it will come we will see. So probably Swiss can start selling political wisdom to EU
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Old 01.05.2015, 15:16
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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About "the commissioners must be approved by the elected parliament of the EU" A meaningless exercise, when did the EU parliament ever reject a commissioner? It is just a rubber stamp.
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/6b47b...#axzz3Yt6yQHVB


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About "are accountable to that parliament" A statement without any meaning. There is no process for this or any regular reviews.
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ftu/pdf/en/FTU_1.3.8.pdf

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About "and can be removed by that parliament. " Did you read my post? Individual commissioners cannot be removed by parliament; it is the whole commission or nothing.
Again clearly outlined :
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ftu/pdf/en/FTU_1.3.8.pdf


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About "their policy decisions are subject to the council of ministers" Incorrect, policy decisions are made by the Commissioners in the weekly Commission meeting- source here.
http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/decision-making/index_en.htm

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About "some how less democratic than the UK" What is the relevance of this comment? The question was about the EU not the UK.
This was a sly dig. But very true. Its a lot more democractic than the uk . But Euro bashing is the only thing holding the empire together.
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Old 01.05.2015, 16:19
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/6b47b...#axzz3Yt6yQHVB

What is the expression "One swallow does not make a Summer"?
It is a highly undemocratic process, the Parliament does not choose from a list of candidates; they simply look at the one candidate offered.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ftu/pdf/en/FTU_1.3.8.pdf

Again clearly outlined :
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ftu/pdf/en/FTU_1.3.8.pdf

Same link twice ,
anyway it states exactly what I wrote, I quote "The Commission is collectively accountable to Parliament under Article 234 TFEU.
If Parliament adopts a motion of censure against the Commission, all of its members are required to resign, including the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as far as his or her duties in the Commission are concerned."

I repeat there is no way for the EU Parliament to remove one commissioner.
Commissioners may be compulsorily retired by the Court of Justice but only under very well defined conditions but here we are discussing their accountability to the EU Parliament.
There is no provision for the EU Parliament (or anyone else) to retire a single commissioner who does not perform well.
I repeat "There is no process for this [accountability to Parliament] or any regular reviews."


http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/decision-making/index_en.htm

This was a sly dig. But very true. Its a lot more democractic than the uk . But Euro bashing is the only thing holding the empire together.
Still raining here
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Old 01.05.2015, 17:21
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

Is the debate here, or at the event?

Anyone know if its in german or english?


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Well you have these extremely powerful European Commissioners who are appointed, not elected, and so are not directly answerable to the electorate.
The EU is a Supra-national apparatus with its own set of rules. It can theoretically include any kind of state, democratic or otherwise. But that is really not its concern. The EU's concerns are for its own interests, often against the interests of its members. If a member state turned despotic, I'm not sure the EU would mind, so long as it does not impede on EU powers.
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Old 01.05.2015, 18:13
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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..So probably Swiss can start selling political wisdom to EU
I think some of the event panel speakers will definitely think they can.
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Old 01.05.2015, 18:38
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

The debate is going on here but will also be at the event on 26th May. The event will be in English. See the website for details.
http://www.zurichsalon.org/event/is-...-its-guardian/
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Old 01.05.2015, 18:49
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History...European_Union

Is the EU democratic? Not in the usual sense, but it works, so why break it?

The EU has been formed after many agreements between all the European countries. It has created 70 years of peaceful working together.
Looking at the world politics today, I think that is a great achievement.
An interesting perspective. I wonder how far would it need to deviate from democracy "in the usual sense" before it would be considered undemocratic?

I think it's debatable whether 70 years of peace in (western) Europe can be attributed to the formation of the EU. That may be one factor but it's surely only one amongst many.

I'm sure these kinds of issues will come up in the debate on 26th May.
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Old 01.05.2015, 19:16
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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I think some of the event panel speakers will definitely think they can.
Although theoretically interested in this subject, for some reasons I'm going to say thanks but no thanks.
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Old 01.05.2015, 23:31
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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An interesting perspective. I wonder how far would it need to deviate from democracy "in the usual sense" before it would be considered undemocratic?
Question:
What does that mean? Isn't democracy a process? Couldn't an entity apply democracy for some issues, but not for some other issues? So at which threshold is an entity considered democratic or undemocratic?

We see many cases where the EU disregards the democratic will of its member states. So how does the EU claim to be a safeguardi g democracy?
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Old 02.05.2015, 20:15
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Re: Debate: Is the EU a threat to democracy or its guardian?

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We see many cases where the EU disregards the democratic will of its member states.
In that case could you gives a couple of examples????
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