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Can we use the EP election to change the EU structure?

A small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world   1 vote - 25 %
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has   0 votes - 0 %
Enough with nonsense polling! Lets get to work!   3 votes - 75 %
 
4 Total Votes
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One thing I have never seen is a visual map of the decision-making processes and power nodes in the EU. I don't mean an organization chart. I mean to look at it as an ecosystem of connections.

The EU decision-making is process that is hard to grasp. We could make it easier.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 03:31:34 AM EST
I have been thinking of creating one, lately.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 03:46:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would be very happy to help, as I am sure other visually literate ETers would be, as well as all system thinkers.

If it were possible to create a map that conveyed in broad strokes 'How it works' to your average citizen, I think it would be a major contribution. And it could be something that we would make open source, but branded as an ET production - another way to get ET out into the media.

Scoop doesn't have the best tools to confer on visuals, but Colman's illustrative rough sketches of principles for the photoblog show what can be done. I could envision us getting quite far in Scoop with defining the structure of such a map, but at some point designers have to go away and come up with solutions.

Would you like to open a separate diary on this at some point?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 04:17:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The consolidated treaties are here, including the consolidated Treaty on European Union [PDF].

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 04:31:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for attempting to ruin my weekend ;-)

I imagined you providing something a little more gestalty...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 04:47:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just did, partly.

Missing is: a list of all the areas subject to codecision (articles 251 and 252).

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 05:32:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The useful map for citizens that I envision would show the interconnections between the main institutions (including their bureaucracies) and how these relate to the citizens in the member countries.

Our job would be to simplify and to help anyone understand the processes - 'at a glance'. People do not read Treaties (and why should they?) because they are framed in impenetrable language for legal reasons.

A well designed gestalt picture of the processes could not contain all that we need to know. But if we could come up with a basic visual representation, then that base picture could be used to overlay different ways of looking at the EU.

As examples, the same base picture could be used to show the election processes, the flow of funds, the budgets of bureaucracies, the initiatives such as REACH, inter-member trade, etc etc

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 06:00:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So for instance... say I give you

[Citizens] elect [National Government]
[Citizens] elect [European Parliament]
[National government] is represented in [European Council]
[European Council] nominates [Commission President]
[European Parliament] approves [Commission President]
[Commission President] and [European Council] nominate [European Commission]
[European Parliament] approves [European Commission]

Give me a map.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 06:06:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Give me a little time...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 06:29:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We can start with a list of subject - action - object as in "parliament approves budget" and then turn that into a (collection of) graph(s) with arrows.


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 06:00:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You did publish a decision map in a comment not so long ago, although many people find these things intimidating.  This sounds like the sort of work the EU Communications Directorate should be doing anyway.  Perhaps ET should apply for a grant to do it for them.  Ok ok- I'm not going there, again.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:22:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Commission: Codecision Step by Step flow chart:
That's a summary of article 251 of the EC Treaty.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:26:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Think big! Think real power! In constitutional theory the swedish king was the executive power until 1970, in real terms the swedish parliament took it away in the early 20th century. The parliament won confrontation after confrontation because it had the public support. The European Parliament has the legitimacy, it is time to turn it into power.

Well, the parliament could only do that by using the powers it did have under the constitution so the first step here is to scour the treaties to figure out what power the EP has that it can use to tighten the bolts of the Council and Commission.

I should note that a lot of things are encoded in the Parliament's rules of prodedure which the Parliament cannot change by itself but must be changed by agreement with the Council and Commission.

So there might be a possibility to reform the EU giving the EP more power by amending the EP rules of procedure.

I suggest we approach this as a game of nomic.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 03:51:13 AM EST
Oh paradoxes! Lovely ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 04:19:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the parliament could only do that by using the powers it did have under the constitution so the first step here is to scour the treaties to figure out what power the EP has that it can use to tighten the bolts of the Council and Commission.

Sounds like a good approach.

I have not read the treaty. Do you have good links for where to start?

I should note that a lot of things are encoded in the Parliament's rules of prodedure which the Parliament cannot change by itself but must be changed by agreement with the Council and Commission.

How are the rules enforced? I would imagine by the EP presidency. So electing an EP presidency willing to bend the rules would be an important part of the Manifesto.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jun 15th, 2008 at 07:19:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the 2002 CONSOLIDATED VERSION OF THE TREATY ESTABLISHING THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY [PDF]
PART ONE

PRINCIPLES

Article 11

2. ... When enhanced cooperation relates to an area covered by the procedure referred to in Article 251 [this refers to the codecision procedure] of this Treaty, the assent of the European Parliament shall be required [otherwise the EP is simply consultative].

TITLE VII

ECONOMIC AND MONETARY POLICY

CHAPTER 2

MONETARY POLICY

Article 105

6. The Council may, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the ECB and after receiving the assent of the European Parliament, confer upon the ECB specific tasks concerning policies relating to the prudential supervision of credit institutions and other financial institutions with the exception of insurance undertakings.

Article 107

5. Articles 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 17, 18, 19.1, 22, 23, 24, 26, 32.2, 32.3, 32.4, 32.6, 33.1(a) and 36 of the Statute of the ESCB may be amended by the Council, acting either by a qualified majority on a recommendation from the ECB and after consulting the Commission or unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the ECB. In either case, the assent of the European Parliament shall be required.

TITLE XVII
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COHESION

Article 161
Without prejudice to Article 162 [according to which codecision applies], the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after obtaining the assent of the European Parliament and consulting the Economic and Social  Committee and the Committee of the Regions, shall define the tasks, priority objectives and the organisation of the Structural Funds, which may involve grouping the Funds. The Council, acting by the same procedure, shall also define the general rules applicable to them and the provisions necessary to ensure their effectiveness and the coordination of the Funds with one another and with the other existing Financial Instruments.

...

From 1 January 2007, the Council shall act by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission after obtaining the assent of the European Parliament and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions if, by that date, the multiannual financial perspective applicable from 1 January 2007 and the Interinstitutional Agreement relating thereto have been adopted. If such is not the case, the procedure laid down by this paragraph shall apply from the date of their adoption.

The EP can pass a Motion of Censure of the Commission by 2/3 majority (article 201).

The EP approves the Council's nomination of the President of the Commission, and separately approves the composition of the commission as a whole (article 214).

The EP amends each year's budget proposal by the Council and has the final word on it (article 272). It also controls expenditure under an automatic extension of a year's budget into the following year if no budget has been approved. It also "discharges" the Commission on the implementation of the budget (article 276).

The EP approves actions taken according to article 310 [referring to the European Community entering international treaties itself]

I think this answer the diary's question re: [something2].

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 05:31:15 AM EST
From the CONSOLIDATED VERSION OF THE TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION [PDF]:
  • The parliament can propose and must approve the Council's declaration that a member state is in breach of the treaties (Article 7)
  • The parliament approves the Council's acceptance of a new member's accession application.
The rest is consultative.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 06:17:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Codecision procedure (article 251 of the EC Treaty) covers:
  • development of "nondiscrimination on grounds of nationality" (Article 12) or "sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation" (Article 13)
  • development of "freedom of movement" (Article 18) "freedom to work" (Article 40 and Social Security provisions under Article 42), "freedom of Establishment" (Articles 43-47)
  • some of the development of visas, asylum and immigration policy.
  • common transport policy (Article 71)
  • harmonization of national law for for the internal market (Article 95)
  • cross-border cooperation on employment (Article 129) - not including harmonization of laws
  • customs cooperation (Article 135)
  • protection of workers whose contract is terminated, collective bargaining, employment of 3rd-party nationals (Article 137)
  • gender equality in employment (Article 141) including equal pay
  • "European Social Fund" (Article 148)
  • Incentives for quality of education (Article 149) and vocational training (Article 150), excluding legal harmonization
  • cultural policy (Article 151) also without legal harmonization
  • health protection (Article 152)
  • "measures which support, supplement and monitor the" consumer protection "policy pursued by the Member States" (Article 153)
  • "trans-European networks in the areas of transport, telecommunications and energy infra-
structures" (Article 156)
  • Industrial competitiveness (Article 157)
  • Actions additional to the "Structural Funds" for "Social Cohesion" (Article 159)
  • Regional Development Fund (Article 162)
  • Research Framework Programme (Article 166) and additional actions on research (Article 172)
  • Environment policy (Article 175)
  • Development Cooperation (Article 179)
  • European-level political parties (Article 191)
  • Freedom of Information (Article 255)
  • Fraud prevention (Article 280)
  • Production of Statistics (Article 285)
  • Data protection (Article 286)
  • International treaties (Article 300)

Note that in all of these codecision areas it's either the council or the commission that has initiative.

Here's one thing that could be demanded (for [something1] in the diary)
* On "VISAS, ASYLUM, IMMIGRATION AND OTHER POLICIES RELATED TO FREE
MOVEMENT OF PERSONS": Article 67 autorizes the Council to place "all or parts of the areas covered by this title" under the codecision procedure

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 06:55:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Article 252 also regulates codecision. Matters subject to codecision under article 252 include:
  • "Multilateral surveillance" of economic matters (Article 99)
  • Limitation of liability between the EC and the member states, or among them (103).
  • Harmonisation of technical specifications of Euro coins (Article 106)

The following had to be instituted by application of Article 252 before 1994. I am not sure what it is prohibiting.
Article 102
1. Any measure, not based on prudential considerations, establishing privileged access by
Community institutions or bodies, central governments, regional, local or other public authorities,
other bodies governed by public law, or public undertakings of Member States to financial institutions,
shall be prohibited.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 09:17:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry,  A swedish kind of death, but I'm not ready to give up on the Treaty just yet.  I'll leave others more qualified to do so to run with this approach.

The EP elections in 2009 may however also be the right time to resolve the Treaty impasse - if Cowen doesn't come up with a quick fix soon - see my second draft letter to the Editor on Irish Referendum at bottom of referendum thread.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Jun 14th, 2008 at 01:31:04 PM EST
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