Key role for parliaments in future of Europe
Building a stronger, safer, more united Europe will need a new approach to collaborative democracy, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič urged on Monday.
Speaking at the COSAC meeting of representatives from the European affairs committees of the European national parliaments, V-P Šefčovič reiterated his call for 'more Europe' – "not a power grab by Brussels or an attack on national sovereignty" but rather "the 'Europeanisation' of national politics and a more 'joined-up' approach" to tackling the EU's shared problems.
And he added that 'more Europe' had never been more necessary, given the momentous decisions necessary to tackle Europe's current problems. "There are still major challenges ahead – deeper reforms at the national level, deeper economic and monetary union at the European level – and achieving them will be no small task. There are many areas where the European Union is appears far from unified, and tackling this must be our top priority. We need to complete economic and monetary union; in parallel, we need to create a banking union and a fiscal union, and we need to put in place the necessary institutional and political mechanisms."
Parliaments, both national and European, have a key role to play in bridging the perceived democratic gap in Europe, he told parliamentarians at the meeting in Cyprus. A 'buy-in' from parliaments gives democratic legitimacy to the policies we make and the important decisions we take," he said.
Getting national parliaments more closely involved made common democratic sense, he added, as it would help Europe to work more effectively, or "getting greater democratic value-for-money". This meant extending the community method, improving democratic scrutiny over existing instruments and institutions, and promoting genuine cooperation between the European and national parliaments, he added.