Reform #2: Political system (vol. 5) – Overview
Previously, I introduced my ideas of reforming the pillars of the European political system – in accordance with the principles discussed in other articles too (see Debut, Suffrage) – in four volumes: European electoral system, European Parliament, European Government, and the European Presidential Council and the President of the Republic of the United Europe. In this last volume, I intend to summarise the coexistence of the aforesaid European institutions, presenting a general overview of their roles and function in the Republic of the United Europe (or RUE).
The institutions of the European Union versus of the Republic of the United Europe
Originally, the institutional structure of the EU was designed to serve a small group of states in a very different era and international context. Overgrown and obsolete, this political system is unable to serve a Union of 27 member states in a world that is full of new global challenges. In order to triumph over the difficulties Europe faces, the member states of the European Union must step forward together by forming a proper political alliance, creating a new political system, which is both legitimate and efficient. Encouraged by historic examples (e.g. the Republic of Rome) and contemporary alternatives (e.g. the US), whilst using the EU’s current structure as a base, the Republic of the United Europe has every tool to succeed in this quest.
Arguably, the member states of the RUE need to transfer some of their sovereign powers to a more efficient decision-making mechanism on a European level to ensure efficiency, security, and prosperity. In return, the member states must receive guarantees that they and their interests are not to be bypassed in policy-making.
After introducing an enlightened electoral system, the composition of the European Parliament (or EP) will be different, as the role of national parties and national interests will be neutralised. Instead, pan-Europarties along European interests are going to enjoy a wider range of authority, of which one is the formation of the European Government (or EG). The EG and its ministries (led by the Prime Minister of the RUE) will replace both the European Commission (and its Directorates-Generals) and the Council of the European Union to be the executive branch of the RUE, outranking the national governments in the legal hierarchy. Its members are not going to be appointed by the national governments anymore, but by and from the directly elected MEPs, meaning more legitimacy and transparency.
This might seem as the European institutions’ rule over the member states, which authority comes from the necessary pro-European nature of the political system. However, upgrading the European Council to a European Presidential Council (or EPC), and introducing a single representative person, is an efficient way to counterbalance the EP and the EG with a pro-nation-state European institution. The elected heads of state and government of the EPC will directly and exclusively select the President of the Republic of the United Europe (or President) from their own members, and are going to be responsible for setting the general political direction of Europe by proposing, encouraging, or blocking certain policies of the EP and the EG through the President.
Authority, responsibility, and function
Certificated voters (who earned the right to vote) are going to determine the composition of their national and European parliaments. As the national elections are going to remain the subject of national regulations, it does not have to be discussed here. The seat allocation in the European Parliament is going to be determined by the pan-Europarties’ overall election results based on a transnational party-list proportional representative system. The national branches of the pan-Europarties are going to get seats allocated along a certain distribution mechanism (based on the figures of turnout and election result), forming the European Parliament, which is going to have an exclusive supranational legislative authority, meaning that its rule of law is effective in every member state of the Republic of the United Europe. The EP is accountable to the European citizens and will be responsible for approving the budget – and monitoring its implementation –, and for forming and supervising the European Government.
The lead candidate of the winning pan-Europarty is going to be promoted by the EP to be the Prime Minister of the Republic of the United Europe, and will be tasked to form the government (and its ministries). Being the executive branch of the RUE, the EG is going to be responsible for legislation proposal (and execution), budget preparation, and administration. As a supranational government, the EG will set the frames and directives of policy-making, which must be applied by the national governments, ensuring that the ship of Europe is steered in the same direction, but leaving plenty of room to the national governments to implement their own policies within the frames. The EG is accountable to the EP.
Both the European Government (led by the Prime Minister of the RUE) and the European Parliament will have a natural pro-European affiliation – latter being the bastion of Europe. In order to guarantee the sovereignty and interests of the member states, the European political system necessitates a strong counterbalance in the form of the European Presidential Council (formed by the heads of state or government, or their envoys). Apart from proposing the President of the EP and appointing the President of the Central Bank of Europe (as it will be called in the RUE), it is in the EPC’s exclusive authority to select the President of the Republic of the United Europe from its own members, and to form his or her political advisory body. As indicated by its membership and powers, the EPC can rightly be called the bastion of nation-states.
The President is the highest executive authority in the united Europe (outranking the PM of the RUE): commander-in-chief of the common European army, head of intelligence, and in charge of all matters related to foreign affairs. Besides, the President has legislative initiative and the right to veto any legislation (including the budget proposal) or the appointment of the PM once. The President serves an unlimited term, which is necessary to ensure political stability and efficiency. In order to avoid tyranny, the President can be removed from office on a political or legal basis. Former could be initiated by referendum, by the EP, and by the EPC; whereas the latter can be set in motion by the European Court of Justice. The President should be immune to political impeachment in the first three years in office to ensure stability, and could be initiated afterwards once in half a year or once in a year (by the same branch). At any stage of either political or legal impeachment, the European Accountability Committee’s involvement as preparing an independent expert report is important and necessary.
Whilst the European Parliament is going to be in the centre of the European political system – due to its ratification powers, appointment of PM, control over the EG, role in impeaching the President, etc. –, the European Government will have an essential role in proposing legislation to the EP and in executing them on the level of member states. The duty of the President of the RUE is to ensure that national interests are considered and national sovereignty is guaranteed in the European political system, thus, together with the European Presidential Council, having a pro-nation-state affiliation. By having a wide selection of political tools via strong powers, the President can either significantly block the initiatives of the EG or EP, or boost them enormously, providing a very efficient and powerful, but also safe and legitimate decision-making mechanism. It is going to be of key importance that the Prime Minister and the President have a good working relationship.
It is essential that in crucial matters none of the institutions can be bypassed. For instance, the budgetary process is initiated by the EG by drafting the proposal and putting it forward to the EP, which should approve or reject it, whilst the President has the right to veto the proposal at any stage. However, in foreign affairs, the President has the right to set certain policies and sanction crucial decisions (the PM of the RUE has no functions abroad), but these should be discussed and approved by the relevant ministries of the EG, and could be blocked by a certain majority of the EP. Regarding the amendment of the European constitution, the two-third of the MEPs and the three-quarter of the EPC members must agree, ensuring that any changes are supported by a general consensus between both representative bodies.
Efficiency, legitimacy, and balance are the three most important features of the reformed European political system. It is efficient, because it is expert and decisive compared to the current one. It is legitimate, because both the members of the European Parliament and of the European Presidential Council are directly elected either on a European or on a national election; therefore, the members of the European Government and the figure of the President of the RUE are promoted lawfully. It is balanced, because it maintains the equilibrium of the collective interests of Europe and the individual interests of the nation-states, whilst guaranteeing the sovereignty of the latter in a potentially fragile relationship.
The political system of the Republic of the United Europe is going to empower the leaders of Europe to succeed in reforming the economy, the social system, and the armed forces, whilst setting a bald new foreign policy, elevating Europe to be the leading global power.