The Path to an Effective Commission
It has become one of the biggest issues in the European political world. People across Europe have been dissatisfied with the European Commission, and indeed the wider Europolis government, for many years, and only now are politicians beginning to listen. At last, there is at least some appetite for reform of the executive into a strong, accountable and useful body. I plan to lead that charge, should I be fortunate enough to be successfully elected, and to transform the Commission from its present moribund state into an executive worthy of the name.
I plan to do this in several ways, building on the progress made by outgoing Premier Whiteford, who has spectacularly thrust Commission reform in the limelight. The first step is to recognize the flaws of the current model, which may seem apparent. In the previous Commission alone, we have seen 3 out of 5 Commissioners impeached or resign, but this inactivity is a symptom not a cause. The cause is that the executive has no clear idea of what it can or can’t do in enforcing Council legislation. It has no clear direction, and so the Commissioners, quite understandably, stick to the safe option of churning out endless statements and hosting meetings that, in the majority of cases, fail to achieve any of their aims.
To answer this point, I will be proposing a wide-reaching Constitutional amendment drafted between myself and Speaker Walters. This will clearly outline the powers of the executive in enforcing Council legislation and ensuring the UDoHR is abided by in all member states, among other things. The amendment will include:
- A provision for binding, executive actions which further enforce and implement passed legislation and/or the Constitution and UDoHR.
- An explicit provision for Commissioners to bring member state governments, non-state actors and individuals to the ECoJ for violations of passed legislation, the constitution and the UDoHR.
- A provision for Commissioners to summon representatives from national governments, local administrations and non-state actors to Europolis to discuss matters of relevance to the executive.
This is only one part of the problem, however. As has been raised in several Council debates and news outlets, there is not one government or institution in the European Union which respects the Commission’s authority or legitimacy.
Commissioners themselves are only ever elected by Councillors, who are under no obligation to vote in any way besides their own preference. This has created a tremendous gap in democratic accountability, leaving open questions as to its legitimacy and authority. To address this, the constitutional amendment Speaker Walters and I will propose will include the following reforms:
- The Premier Commissioner shall be elected separately, directly by the people of member states. The results of national elections shall inform the votes of their Councillor, who will be obliged to vote for the Premier in the same way as their electorate, in order to protect the principle of One Nation One Vote.
- In national elections for the Premier, the Single Transferable Vote system will be used, with voting Councillors obliged to list as many preferences as the national election in their country dictates.
- The positions of Commissioner for Defence and Peacekeeping and Commissioner for Economics shall be abolished, with both duties being absorbed into the Commissioner for Internal Affairs.
- Elections for the Commissioner for Internal Affairs and the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs shall be held concurrently with elections for the Premier Commissioner, using the exact same system as will be used to elect the Premier.
- The newly elected Premier will appoint the two successfully elected candidates to their respective offices. The Council will have the opportunity to veto either or both selections made by the Premier, should a motion to that effect be passed with a super-majority.
- Conversely, the Premier will gain the power to veto legislation passed by the Council, however this may be overridden by the Council with a super-majority.
- The term limit of 4 months for all three Commissioners, as well as the two consecutive term limitations, shall continue to apply.
The implementation of broad changes if often the hardest part. As we’ve seen, the Council is being bombarded with amendments regarding this issue and, although encouraging to see demand for reform, is not being as welcome as it needs to be. Which is why I will work with Councillors from all parties and none to explain clearly what these reforms mean for our European Union and to address any concerns they may have.
I believe that these reforms will transform the current Commission-come-Statement Factory into an effective, useful executive that is worthy of the name. Of course, I don’t hold a monopoly on wisdom, and so if fortunate enough to be elected, I will, as I say, welcome any and all constructive feedback.