16 votes

Is the EU Democratic? Does Your Vote Matter?

4 comments

  1. [4]
    bbvnvlt
    Link
    This seems like a reasonable exposition of how things work. It takes a rather limited view of what a democracy is and should be though. The explanation (and many discussions on this topic) focus...

    This seems like a reasonable exposition of how things work.

    It takes a rather limited view of what a democracy is and should be though. The explanation (and many discussions on this topic) focus on who is elected how, and how directly. But for a functioning democracry, you also need proper reporting, a shared public discourse/sphere, limits to lobbying, and (enough of) a feeling of one-ness across the country or union.

    All of those are missing. And especially the last one is part of the reason I will be voting for a party that wants to curtail EU power. As a Dutch citizen, I don't feel sufficiently 'the same' as Poles, Greeks, Hongarians, and Spaniards to want to be in a shared state just yet. The EU is doing things backwards: building the institutions of a federal-ish state and hoping something of a national feeling/identity will follow, instead of building out collaborations sustainably and limited to what people actually support (also see, for instance, the ignored 'no' votes on all those referendums a few years back).

    Another big reason for my vote is my chosen party's opposition to the EU facilitation of corporate interests, races to the bottom on social policies, and neoliberal marketization of everything.

    Any other EU citizens around with views on these elections?

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      Papaya
      Link Parent
      In my opinion, all this talk about national identity is besides the point and only serves political interests without addressing what is really going wrong. The whole system is failing and no real...

      In my opinion, all this talk about national identity is besides the point and only serves political interests without addressing what is really going wrong. The whole system is failing and no real measures will be taken to make it right when discussions are about immigration and nationalism.

      First of all, the EU is borrowing in a foreign currency, unlike the US which can print the money it owes. Hence, we see things like the Greek-style crisis.
      There is a free mobility of labor that allows workers to escape debt burdens meaning inefficient allocation of labor. Also free mobility of capital and goods without tax harmonization between countries.

      Contrary to popular belief, the last thing EU needs is more emphasis on structural reform within countries which exacerbate current problem of inefficiency and aggregate demand. The real problem is the structure of the eurozone itself.

      What is needed is :

      • A common fiscal framework
      • Mutalization of debt (eurobonds, leads to lower interst rates, provides more room for expansionary policies)
      • A common financial system (banking union) with system wide regulation and deposit
      3 votes
      1. [2]
        bbvnvlt
        Link Parent
        It's not necessarily about reclaiming some imagened "identity" for me. More the link between identifying (feeling-part-of), sovereignty, and solidarity. I fear more financial integration would...

        all this talk about national identity is besides the point and only serves political interests without addressing what is really going wrong

        It's not necessarily about reclaiming some imagened "identity" for me. More the link between identifying (feeling-part-of), sovereignty, and solidarity. I fear more financial integration would lead to a situation like in Belgium, but worse, i.e. constant resentment in the richer part of the country for having to 'send money' to the economically weaker part, and resentment there over being dictated to by the richer part of the union. Plus personally, I have reservations about whether we share enough values and attitudes towards taxes and subsidies as, for instance, the Hungarian government or Italy to put myself in the same boat as them.

        Free mobility of labor is looking an awful lot like importing the low-wage labor we used to offshore our work to. It keeps wages here low, investment in automation suppressed, while creating conditions where workers from the East and South have zero bargaining power against employers and are almost guaranteed to be exploited (e.g. stuck in crappy, overpriced housing).

        I'd like to take up more war- and climate-refugees than we're doing, and do it properly. I'm not against migration, but in the Netherlands we're still dealing with the last time our country shipped in workers from poorer countries assuming they wouldn't stay and doing zilch to help them to/make sure they integrate properly.

        I must say I'm not up-to-speed enough to say much in the way of what a common fiscal framework, debt, and finances would do and whether I'm for or against it. But Greece was also due to austerity ideology, no? In the Netherlands, I think a number of big reports have concluded the economic downturn was also made worse unneccesarily by too enthusiastically sticking to EU budgeting directives and cutting everything under the sun.

        p.s. Out of interest hoe EU issues are experienced elsewhere (but only if you want to say) which nationality are you?

        1. Papaya
          Link Parent
          I'm French and I think there's too much conflict between France and Germany to give clear direction for the EU. The problem is not a shortage of ideas about how to move forward. Emmanuel Macron,...

          I'm French and I think there's too much conflict between France and Germany to give clear direction for the EU.

          The problem is not a shortage of ideas about how to move forward. Emmanuel Macron, in two speeches, at the Sorbonne, and when he received the Charlemagne Prize for European Unity, has articulated a clear vision for Europe’s future. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel has effectively thrown cold water on his proposals, suggesting, for example, risibly small amounts of money for investment in areas that urgently need it.
          The central problem in a currency area is how to correct exchange-rate misalignments like the one now affecting Italy. Germany’s answer is to put the burden on the weak countries already suffering from high unemployment and low growth rates. We know where this leads: more pain, more suffering, more unemployment, and even slower growth. Even if growth eventually recovers, GDP never reaches the level it would have attained had a more sensible strategy been pursued. The alternative is to shift more of the burden of adjustment on the strong countries, with higher wages and stronger demand supported by government investment programs.

          We have seen the first and second acts of this play many times already. A new government is elected, promising to do a better job negotiating with the Germans to end austerity and design a more reasonable structural reform program. If the Germans budge at all, it is not enough to change the economic course. Anti-German sentiment increases, and any government, whether center-left or center-right, that hints at necessary reforms is thrown out of office. Anti-establishment parties gain. Gridlock emerges.
          Across the Eurozone, political leaders are moving into a state of paralysis: citizens want to remain in the EU, but also want an end to austerity and the return of prosperity. They are told they can’t have both.

          1 vote