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Thread: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

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    EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Just found and read this over at 'The Public Discourse'

    Why Britons Should Vote to Leave the European Union by Dr. Dominic Burbidge

    Dominic Burbidge is Departmental Lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford, and Researcher at Oxford’s Department of Politics & International Relations.

    Ending quote:

    "This is the EU as an anti-democratic machine. It is not anti-democratic due to any lack of institutional checks and balances but due to its commitment to separating a notion of citizenry from that of peoplehood, in order to ensure that the legislative process remains ultimately unaccountable."

    I'm very tempted just to copy and paste the whole thing here.

    Please read it.

    Then if anyone knows better, please counter his points.


    TLDR Quotes:

    "For the purposes of this essay, let us take the very weakest possible definition of democracy: a system of government in which, if 100 percent of citizens (politicians and voters alike) believe a law should not be introduced, it is not introduced."

    "If an alien dropped into your garden and asked you what type of government you had, it would mean you could tell him yours is democratic. If he then asked to go there, you could take him to the sovereign institution that follows that rule.

    But this is not the case in the EU."

    "The main institution through which a people, when in unanimity, can affect political outcomes democratically is the legislature. That is why in Britain we used to be able to say that parliament was sovereign...

    In the EU, the corresponding institution would be the European Parliament. However, the democratic criterion falters on three counts."

    "First, not everyone in Europe knows that it exists... After we get past that hurdle, we see that the average voter turnout for representatives to the European Parliament has been in constant decline across the EU as a whole, year after year. For the most recent 2014 election, average turnout was 43 percent. For British citizens, it was a paltry 36 percent."

    "But let us assume that turnout in European parliamentary elections is always 100 percent in the UK, and that everyone who votes wants to comply with parliamentary procedures for passing legislation. We then run into the second issue: UK representatives will (rightly) fill only 73 of the 751 seats in the European Parliament (10 percent). So even if all Britons strongly disagree with proposing a law, they still have very little chance of influencing the outcome."

    "So let us also assume that unanimous agreement among all British representatives can manage to sufficiently influence parliament. We then run into the third problem: the European Parliament does not have the power to introduce legislation anyway."

    "The European Parliament only processes legislation proposed by the EU Commission. As John Pinder and Simon Usherwood explain, “The Treaty of Rome gave the Commission the principal right of legislative initiative, that is, to propose the texts for laws to the Parliament and the Council.” In his book The Engines of European Integration, Mark Pollack explains that this was based “on the plausible assumption that the Commission, like the members of US Congressional committees, is a preference outlier with a strong preference for further [EU] integration.” Because there was fear that a European Parliament could strangle the agenda of integrating European states, it was deemed safer to have the EU Commission set what legislative proposals should be debated."

    "So if I say to the alien in my garden that I live in a democracy, I am not so sure where I should take him to prove it. How about I take him to the EU Commission?"


    "he EU Commission is made up of twenty-eight members, and—following the Treaty of Nice—only one is from the UK. Now suppose I compromise and say, well this is our one, so he (Jonathan Hill) is my leader? This would not work so well, either. Upon taking office, Mr. Hill actually had to solemnly declare that he would think and act fully independently of the UK’s interests—a requirement that seeks to ensure that the Commission works in the general interest of the EU. So legislative proposals ultimately come from a body for which all members must solemnly declare their support in furthering the EU project. Members of the European Parliament only debate what legislation is set by the Commission, and the Commission does not allow its members to disagree with any fundamentals."
    "Many would argue that my notion of “us” or “the people” is wrong. What I should be asking is whether 100 percent of EU citizens can affect whether a law is introduced and passed. Yes, indeed: it is this redefinition of the people that is required by the EU project. Because sovereignty is being transferred gradually to EU institutions, the institutions can only remain democratic if the notion of “we the people” conforms.

    What is meant by “the people” therefore matters most of all. It must come before any debate on particular EU policies that one may or may not like. "

    "As things stand, the EU Commission may choose a policy because it is in the interests of the EU’s commitment to ever closer union, regardless of the interests of any member state or particular EU citizens. Unanimity among EU citizens is not sufficient grounds for not introducing such legislation in the European Parliament.

    The French theorist Pierre Manent is most adept at explaining what this commitment to transitory peoplehood means in his book A World beyond Politics? There he states:

    It seems that democracy, in the European construction, is striving to escape the sad necessity of having a body. So it gives itself a body without limits, this Europe with indefinite expansion, a Europe defined paradoxically as an indefinite expansion."
    Last edited by Galant; 22-06-2016 at 02:24 PM.
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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    how's it not democratic, there are no fights, and it can take 30 hours of non stop talks to come to a decision

    things that affect a billion lives can't be done in 5 minutes

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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Why are you making another thread about this - there are two threads on the referendum already with the same kind of arguments.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 22-06-2016 at 04:26 PM.

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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Quote Originally Posted by Galant View Post
    "The EU Commission is made up of twenty-eight members, and—following the Treaty of Nice—only one is from the UK. Now suppose I compromise and say, well this is our one, so he (Jonathan Hill) is my leader? This would not work so well, either. Upon taking office, Mr. Hill actually had to solemnly declare that he would think and act fully independently of the UK’s interests—a requirement that seeks to ensure that the Commission works in the general interest of the EU. So legislative proposals ultimately come from a body for which all members must solemnly declare their support in furthering the EU project.
    I haven't read the link, only your extract but if that's the level of 'reasoning' in it then I shan't bother.

    For example the bit quoted above. For comparison you only have to look at the oath MP's swear when they take their seat in the UK parliament. They have to state they'll be faithful and bear true allegiance to our head of state. There's nothing in there about representing their constituents or doing what's best for them.

    Does that mean the UK parliament is unrepresentative and purely dedicated to furthering the interests of her Majesty?

    Of course not, because those sorts of ceremonies have little meaning in our current culture. The significant forces that determine how the body acts are those that influence which candidate each constituency votes for.

    The members of the commission are proposed by the national governments and have to be approved by the European parliament.

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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    So basically you're all commenting on something you haven't read. Lovely.
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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    immigration is'nt a EU problem, its brtain not being democratic with france because of history, and france no moving the calais camp 200 miles away

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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    The article has nothing to do with the immigration question.
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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    The EU is just as democratic if not more so than the UK.

    http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/...-have.html?m=1

    House of lords anyone?

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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Quote Originally Posted by Galant View Post
    So basically you're all commenting on something you haven't read. Lovely.
    I haven't read mein kampf nor watched the full 'brexit: the movie' but yes, I would feel qualified to comment on both.

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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Quote Originally Posted by wazzickle View Post
    The EU is just as democratic if not more so than the UK.

    http://eulawanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/...-have.html?m=1

    House of lords anyone?
    Did you even read the article?
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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    The EU is, apparently, the democracy we deserve, not the one we need.
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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Quote Originally Posted by Galant View Post
    The EU is, apparently, the democracy we deserve, not the one we need.
    Would the "we" here be the people who rejected the once in lifetime chance to change away from the undemocratic FPTP electoral system, but constantly complain about feeling represented?

    This comes up again, and again in all the Exiter's arguments: complaining about the EU being undemocratic while being perfectly fine with the UK's system:
    (1) no written constitution (hence why I don't understand why there can be such a thing as a UK Supreme Court)
    (2) an unelected upper house
    (3) a hereditary head of state
    (4) immensely centralised in Westminster (after devolution this mainly affects the English)
    (5) a completely unrepresentative electoral system where many votes don't count
    Now (2) and (3) are not that unusual, but (5) certainly is.
    For (5), here are some "Votes per seat" examples:
    DUP: 23,033;
    SNP: 25,972,
    Conservatives: 34,243;
    Labour: 40,290;
    Greens: 1,157,613;
    UKIP: 3,881,099.
    Now however much I might dislike UKIP, having such a high number of disenfranchised voters is very very dangerous.
    The devolved assemblies and the European parliament use modern electoral systems are therefore of course far more representative.

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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Sorry but this guys reasoning is utterly flawed, for starters he equates democracy with 100% representation even when the dictionary of the very university he lectures at doesn't mention anything about democracy being 100% representative, he then goes on to claim that because 10% of the EU population don't know about the EU parliament that must mean it's not fulfilled his rather strange definition of what a democracy is, sorry but 44% of the population didn't vote in the last GE, does that make our parliament undemocratic, does the undoubtedly high probability that at least 1 person living in the UK doesn't know what the UK parliament is make it undemocratic?

    Must i go on reading?

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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    Sorry but this guys reasoning is utterly flawed, for starters he equates democracy with 100% representation even when the dictionary of the very university he lectures at doesn't mention anything about democracy being 100% representative, he then goes on to claim that because 10% of the EU population don't know about the EU parliament that must mean it's not fulfilled his rather strange definition of what a democracy is, sorry but 44% of the population didn't vote in the last GE, does that make our parliament undemocratic, does the undoubtedly high probability that at least 1 person living in the UK doesn't know what the UK parliament is make it undemocratic?

    Must i go on reading?
    Not with that level of comprehension, no.

    He clearly states that he's using 100% requirement as a simplistic and minimalistic example of democracy. A standard everyone can agree on. An extreme.
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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Quote Originally Posted by kompukare View Post
    Would the "we" here be the people who rejected the once in lifetime chance to change away from the undemocratic FPTP electoral system, but constantly complain about feeling represented?

    This comes up again, and again in all the Exiter's arguments: complaining about the EU being undemocratic while being perfectly fine with the UK's system:
    I've not heard a single person, not one, nor read any single author, who has said that their perfectly fine with the UK's system. This isn't a zero sum game. It's not about choosing either the EU or the UK system as it is. It's about choosing to continue to have the power and ability to do something something about the one, and defending at least the principles and basic elements of it.
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    Re: EU and Democracy - Why the EU is classed as undemocratic

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Why are you making another thread about this - there are two threads on the referendum already with the same kind of arguments.
    I have no idea. It is a classic to post a link to approx 1tb of text than ask people to argue with it whilst ignoring the 1tb links they posted.
    Society's to blame,
    Or possibly Atari.

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