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Will the EU be the death of democracy? (Highlights)

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Will the EU be the death of democracy? (Highlights)

This timely, highly informative debate asks whether democracy and sovereignty can mean anything in the European Union.  We learn of the use of the EU by national governments to evade responsibility, the need for a clash of ideas, why banks must be allowed to fail in order to shake things up, the dangers of technocracy replacing democracy and more. An exceptional line up of speakers take us beyond the usual Eurosceptic versus Europhile debate and challenge us to consider what sort of Europe we want, who we are and what democracy means.  WORLDbytes volunteers are delighted to be filming and editing this series.  You can watch the full debate here.

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Related topics: Debates, Democracy

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Dario said:

I would say “I am from Europe” in another continent and then specify which country I’m from and in which country I live in as I would say to aliens “I come from Earth” if I were far away in another galaxy. It’s not the sense of belonging that worries me but a “technocratic” structure that overcomes people’s will for the sake of numbers (GDPs, debt, etc.) as the European Union is organized right now. Very interesting and inspiring debate indeed!

Hans-Juergen ZAHORKA, Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal said:

Wow, this was a thrilling debate! I (sorry, I am a lawyer) missed a general definition of democracy, which is in the EU Treaty and in the EU Charter of Fndamental Rights (which was not integrated due to the UK government. This could have created a bit more consensus. It is funny that in UK the participating Americans are more pro-European than the average British citizen – Sir Wall Street Journal, Miss Bloomberg. She dared to say it to the audience that federalism can help, a word which in UK has to be avoided at all times and for all reasons… And I think Mr. Kennedy said that Germany caused by “forcing” UK to recognize Croatia (I think nobody can and should force anyone in the EU) the biggest war after WWII. This is of course, sorry, nonsense. We will welcome Croatia (after Slovenia in 2004) on 1.7.2013 to be a new Member State of the EU, and this because they could repell all attacks and were able to foster democracy. Democracy is never perfect, but some standards are equal all the way. See Austria when they took cabinet members from the extreme right, see Hungary under its present leader. Both have been prevented to go further. Due to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (Luxemburg) and of the ECJ of Human Rights (Strasbourg) Europe is kept to minimum standards. And we are all happy that the EU has fulfilled the Robert Schuman speech from 9.5.1950. This is,by the way, also the vision of those Balkan citizens whose governments – more or less – try to become now Meber States.
What we need, however, is a renewed burden sharing of responsibilty within the EU institutions. This is gradually the case; the European Parliament gets more and more competences, the whole EU too (well, if Britain is too much against this ==> wait for the Scotland referendum!), and the sad Council will have to cede to power sharing, to the peoples’ representation.
Thanks for this great mega clip – I hope many others will follow. It really shows how poor this boring EU bashing can be from some British citizens. We all should hope for “brain rain” … ;)

Andrew S. Reed, UKIP said:

In UKIP’s view, the tense of the question is wrong. The EU is the death of democracy. In the EU, elected persons have no power, while the functionaries of a self-appointing, and unaccountable, clique have all the power. The leaders of EU-governments and members of parliaments are professional actors, playing the roles set for them by functionaries.

Only a radical departure from the supranational system, with its sham electoral contests between essentially identical parties, can revive democracy. It is UKIP’s business to bring this departure about.

Andrew said:

This is a very informative debate on the EU which has drawn many opinions. My personal view is the EU is not the death of democracy. However I partly agree with Brian as he states that a key reason there is growth in Europe is because Germany have benefited from the EU. I feel this creates a problem between countries in the EU as most other countries in the EU at the moment are suffering.

Francis said:

I think this debate is great and has made me realise that although I agree that we lack leaders, I don’t want their pessimism to rub off on us! I want a Europe, I want to move from merely nations protecting themselves, in isolation, and I am not the only one. More debates like this, more of us not letting the EU get away with it would be a start.

Paige said:

Nobody takes responsibility anymore, and that is not just about not wanting to look silly but is about how they have no project to put forward. Where are the leaders?

Ollie said:

What I hear about Europe is how most of us want to remain British, or English, or whatever and the more we see Europe not working economically the more we withdraw. But I think most of us would be totally up for being European, but not EU, not with politicians who have giving up, just meddle, tweak this and that, deny their failings. I would totally back (or argue) with any politican that has vision of Europe but they don’t have that.

Nathalie said:

The fact that the EU deny people to have their say, to hold those in control to account, to debate what kind of Europe we want is both wrong and deeply worrying. We musn’t let so called technocrats obliterate democracy, and yet they are doing just that. And they keep failing, but keep going. I think the fact they have removed themselves from us means we feel so severed from it all it is difficult to know how to take control. Or perhaps that has something to do with how there is such little politics now, an emptyness of any vision on any future so it is difficult to know what to do in this hollowness.

Adnan said:

This is a really good debate. Going to go and watch the full unedited version now. Agree with one of the speakers who says EU itself is not the death of democracy, but it is the expression of the death of democracy. Where to go from here?

Yasmin Quinton said:

I think the trade union guy is given a bit of an unfair hard time as it is true Germany has done well out of lending and he doesn’t seem to be in a panic about this. Surely there is a problem of stronger and weaker countries in the EU and the weak ones do seem to be taking all the crap and getting trampled on.

Jon R said:

I’m stumped by this excellent video as I’m now wondering if my opposition to the EU is just the usual whining mainstream one I just can’t get what the pro EU case is ? What is it in fact? All the speakers here (and at least two seem to be Euro federalists) are really critical of the EU so why keep it? They don’t answer the question either about why people still want to be in it- I know the Irish got arm twisted, but even so?

Brian Edwards said:

Why would we want complete political union, I understand the point about institutions- the mighty versus the week and so on, but Europe is not America- we don’t all speak the same language and I don’t think it is being a little Englander wanting our own government is it? I still love loads of European stuff but I live in the UK not Venice and wouldn’t feel right telling gondola businesses where they can paddle..

Alesandra said:

Call me thick but I never knew when they set up the Euro that they wanted it as part of moving towards complete political union as the Bloomberg TV women explains. I found that quite shocking as we never got asked if we wanted that nobody was asked that and then how can we understand what motivated the elites to go that far- if as Brendan ONeill argues it’s about delegating responsibility, did they in fact plan that? Plot that from day one? Sounds a bit conspiratorial to me.

Honor Davids said:

This is short sharp and stirring I think the Wall street journal guy has a limited view of democracy if he thinks its needed due to human failure a dim view of humanity in general even. I like his ‘love’ example.

JJ said:

This is a good one too- very comprehensive and not just usual yes-no but what do we want & mean by democracy- I think I have an issue with the sovereignty thing though – if democracy is contingent on sovereignty then why not protectionism too if the electorate wills it? Hmm difficult one.

Gina Hereford said:

Tackling the problem of the undemocratic EU has more than one angle to it, as this debate reveals. The euroceptics and the europhiles seem sometimes to coalesce in their little nationalist views. It is time to pose the question in terms of being pro-Europe but anti-EU.