Andrew Duff -  On Governing Europe

Andrew Duff says that those leaders who come to Brussels tonight wanting to weaken the European Union are not serving democracy.

In a statement he says: ‘It is right that the European Council takes stock tonight of the political situation in the European Union following the elections. They will trigger the appropriate consultations with the European Parliament on the nomination of the next Commission President, as prescribed by the Treaty. By respecting the Spitzenkanditaten experiment, Europe’s leaders have a chance to confound the argument that the Commission is stuffed with ‘unelected bureaucrats’.

‘There should be no panic about the outcome of the European Parliament elections. While the results must be respected, it is also true that many of the voters who took refuge with populist parties peddling simplistic policies made a bad call. In many countries it is the pro-Europeans who won. A retreat to nationalism by government leaders would only compound Europe’s problems.

‘During the election campaign certain prime ministers indicated that the answer to the perceived problem of the EU’s democratic legitimacy is to return law-making powers from the European Parliament to national parliaments. Such a dismantling of the legislative structure of the Union would destroy the ‘Community method’ on which the advance of European integration rests.’

Mr Duff, who was not re-elected on Sunday, added:-

‘In particular, Mr Cameron will get nowhere by making careless propositions, based on no evidence at all, that the elevation of the sovereignty of the Westminster Parliament will help make the governance of the European Union less complicated and more effective. His calling into question the fundamentals of the EU will get no support in Brussels because he is well known to be marching to the beat of UKIP’s drum merely to shore up his electoral support. There are higher things at stake in Europe than the future of one or other British political party.

‘Only stronger government within the EU will guarantee its democratic legitimacy. The electorate is right to demand more of the EU in terms of financial stability and economic recovery. Every effort should now be made to raise the capacity of the EU to take effective action across a whole range of issues and, above all, to deliver for its citizens public goods in terms of social and environmental policies.

‘If he is to be taken seriously, Mr Cameron needs to come up with a comprehensive package of constructive proposals which will make Britain part of the solution to Europe’s problems – and not Europe’s biggest problem.’


Andrew Duff MEP has been spokesman on constitutional affairs for the Alliance of Liberals & Democrats for Europe (ALDE) since 1999.
Contact him on +322 284 7998 or +44 7703 471659.

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