Strengthening the role of Parliament is essential for liberal democracy, MEPs say

Strengthening the role of Parliament is essential for liberal democracy, MEPs say

AFCO Interparliamentary Committee Meeting — Reform of the European Electoral System

MEPs want to improve EU democratic structures by strengthening the role of Parliament, consolidating European citizenship, and establishing a “European Agora”.

Following-up on the proposals of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs has adopted, with 17 votes in favour, XX against and XX abstentions, a draft report which recommends reforms aimed at improving European democracy, including through the revision of the EU Treaties.

Restoring parliamentarism

MEPs reiterate that Parliament should have a direct right of initiative and a right of inquiry. They stress the importance of addressing the institutional imbalance created by “governmental” democracy, while calling for the establishment of a genuinely bicameral system (making the General Affairs Council a legislative Council meeting in public), and for more use of qualified majority voting and the activation of “passerelle” clauses. Parliament should be able to trigger motions of censure against individual commissioners, MEPs argue, and highlight the importance of respecting the competences of different parliaments across Europe, at all levels. Highly concerned about disinformation and the misuse of generative AI, MEPs call for the establishment of an EU editorial and news media support fund.

Consolidating European citizenship

Solidifying European citizenship through an “EU Statute of Citizenship” would make EU values more tangible, MEPs argue, and call on the Commission to develop a citizenship competences strategy. They focus not only on “mobile” European citizens along the lines of Parliament’s 2023 proposals, but also on third-country nationals who have resided in the EU for a long time, who deserve, under certain circumstances, access to European citizenship: the Union’s co-legislators should lay down common provisions in this regard, they propose. MEPs also call for an end to the disenfranchisement of citizens of some member states living abroad, who lose the right to vote in national elections.

Bolstering representative and participatory democracy

MEPs claim that it is necessary to address impeding factors arising from discrimination, resulting especially from the digital divide, and call for the introduction of e-democracy tools at local and national level. A one-stop-shop for participatory tools, a “European Agora” working closely with Parliament, and pan-European online citizens’ consultations are essential, they say. They reiterate Parliament’s long-standing call to evaluate Treaty changes through EU-wide referendums on fundamental matters.


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