It is human nature to resist change, but improvements cannot be made without it. Examining one of the four fundementals of the EU, the free movement of people, commentators are likely to say that;-
- On accession, large numbers of people may want to move to another member state as happened in 2004
- Why would they do that? The answer probably lies in their economy, which may have been the principal reason for joining
- Solution would be to develop local jobs infrastructure that obviates the need to move. In turn, this would help the implementation of a Europe-wide common currency that currently is not viable
Another area in need of reform relates to those people not sufficiently able to identify with the EU. Does that explain why;-
- Combined voter turnout at EU elections is decreasing (43% in 2009)?
- But why then is it only Belgium and Luxembourg have high turnouts (90%)? Is the solution to change the voting system?
- UK is most Eurosceptic of EU member states. Does it relate to representation, because in the UK, if a member of the public has a local issue they go to their councillor, if they have a national issue they go their MP, but when it comes to European issues how accessible are their MEPs? Source: http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/key-facts-and-figures-about-europe-and-the-europeans-pbNA7606481/ page 73 shows that in 2007 the UK had the narrowest margin between Eurofiles and Eurosceptics of all the member states
All member states have their Eurosceptics, but the UK has the highest percentage. Speaking to some with this opinion, they tell me that they;-
- Want reform
- Want to leave the Union, either by referendum of by breaking it from within. What if the Eurosceptics gain a majority of the Seats at the next election?
- Saw Germany as an aggressor in the 20th century and are unwilling to forgive. However, there is hope in the Mandela effect
What about the UK?
The UK is a multi-cultural country, with inhabitants who have originated from all over the world, a “Big Hearted” nation as evidenced by its response to natural disasters such as the typhoon that struck the Philippines a few years ago. It is one of the reasons that the UK has such a high status in the world, but where do we go from Here? We have looked at how the EU started 60 years ago and seen how its purpose has evolved. How its member states have grown in number from 6 to 28. Most accept that the EU is in need of further reform, however does the UK public want to be part of that reform or would it rather leave altogether?
EU Reform Suggestions
In 1997, the Amsterdam Treaty was signed because of continued unease of the “Democratic Deficit” of an enlarging EU. The reforms within this treaty were to put this right! This resulted in;-
- a change to the voting system
- Making the EU more accountable to its people
- Simplifying the administration system
- Limiting the number of population gaining accession in any one year and yet seven years later in 2004, having 10 countries gain accession at the same time was not wise
Reforming the voting system to make its MEPs more accountable is certainly a step in the right direction, because currently there is a democratic deficit caused by year on year decrease in voting figures. More than that, there is evidence that people find it difficult to determine who they should be voting for. Does the EU lack people ownership? A project is more likely to be successful if the public buy in to it. If the voting system were to be reformed, what system would be chosen? The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is probably the most viable of proportional representation systems.
Having greater local representation may be the answer. There has been continued criticism that the French won’t let go of Strasbourg, but why not have centres of EU government representation in each country?
The administration system is hugely bureaucratic, but then it is administering 28 countries and 500 million people! Major changes can only be achieved by Treaty change. Is that the best solution?
Why not put a cap on the number of countries accessing the EU or simply limit the number of accessor countries within a specific time-period? The EU started with 6 countries, why have more? Does the answer lay in the notion that the idea of the EU is to improve influence in the world and improve wellbeing through increasing economic wealth? Ten countries gaining accession at the same time in 2004 caused problems, but why do countries want to join? Is it because recent accession countries have had low GDPs? Why not remove need to migrate to wealthier countries? These are just a few of the questions that can be answered through reform.