Commission Candidates' Debate (July 2013)
Commission Candidates Debate
Nominations for Commission XIV have now been drawn to a close and arguably the most important phase of the election season has begun. In order to receive votes when the polls open, the Commission nominees need to make a positive impression on the public and other politicians in order to receive support and credibility. The Commission Candiates' Debate is a great opportunity for the candidates to express their views and ideas, dispute with other candidate, and it also gives them a platform to answer and engage with the public. Not all nominees are required to participate. However, it's rare for those whose who don't participate or don't do well in the debates to be successful in the election.
The following candidates have been declared as official nominees and will have an opportunity to participate:
Colleen Bennet (Rhine Ruhr, ECL)
Blair Von Schroeder (Red Croatia, UEC)
Peter Montfort (Angeter, UEC) [Incumbent]
Augustus Barrington (Inimicus, UEC)
Karolinasz Jaedala (Os Corelia, ALDGE)
Marie Rivas (Northern Caesarea, S&D)
A few ground rules before we begin:
- Only the Commission nominees and the debate moderator are allowed to participate
- All questions must be sent to me, and I will do my best to get the nominees to answer it
- When submitting a question, please specify who the question comes from, what their occupation is, and where he/she come from
- I will accept question from anyone and everyone, however I may decide to reject a question if I do not find it appropriate
- Questions may be asked anonymously if they so wish
- Questions can be aimed towards a certain individual or can be general
- Political bias is accepted in questions
- Call out the other candidates and attack them as much as possible, personal attacks are welcome and encouraged
Hello and welcome to the July 2013 Commission Candidates' Debate! I, Tyler Graceffa, will be your debate moderator this fine evening. Get cumpfy in your seats ladies, gentlemen and gender Xs, because in a very short amount of time the power of the Europan Union shifts into your hands and it might be up to to cast a vote for your favourite nominee, unless yo don't get a say in the way your country votes, which in that case, just enjoy the political mudslinging and the horrific opinions of some of those that will be up here tonight.
Please welcome your nominees to the stage!
*applauds and boos breakout*
Before I get to the audience and viewers questions I would like for each of the nominees to begin by making their opening speeches.
"Thank you. Now, I, Augustus Barrington, am relatively new to the European Union. However, this does not mean I lack the experience to deliver for this Union. I have been forty years in financial services, I'm a professional economist. I am also an experienced politician. I was Nicholas Benfield's deputy and secretary, and I have given many colleges and guest classes. And now I stand before you, in what might be the most important debate in the European Union. It is with great confidence and a sense of pride that I am here.
As some of you might know, I was not elected to be the official UEC candidate. However, seen to the low number of nominees for this election, I, after careful deliberation with the UEC leadership, have decided that I will run either way. And here I am, ready to lead the European Union for the coming four months. I hope this debate will be tense, yet friendly, and that the European citizens will know after this evening, where this fine gathering of candidates stand for."
((OOC: Monday morning I depart for England. I will most probably not be able to log on Monday, and perhaps not on Tuesday, either.))
Here I am, for the first time standing before you as a representative of my country, my party and of my views and ideals. When I finally decided to run for commission, I swore to myself that I would try my hardest, so I can prove that I can see the true potential of Europe, so I can prove that I am capable of this job, and that I want to help Europe to be part of a bright future, not only a shining gem of the past.
And to prove that, I have devoted myself to hard work, so I could reach out to each and every person willing to listen, willing to hear out what I have to say, willing to help the Europe become a better place...And on my journey, I have learned to listen to what many people have to say, to listen to their complains and to hear about what does not need to change. On my journey I have gained knowledge, and experience that I can present to Europe. And that...That is why I want to be elected.
Thank you for your time.
Blair Von Schroeder
Red Croatia's Party of International Relations
This year has seen the failure of the marriage recognition act and the ocean protection act. These are two pieces of legislation I firmly believe would have changed Europe for the better. The solution is to see conversation around those bills to facilitate their return to the table in a form that is agreeable. I want to talk with those who opposed these bills to see how we can solve them.
The role of the commission is to facilitate legislative changes made by the council but if a bill fails we never ask why. I am standing on a platform to become internal affairs commissioner to work with the council to seek common goals for the common good and help facilitate liberty for our citizens.
Yes I am a gay rights activist and yes I am an openly Lesbian woman but these are tags attached to me and things I feel so much more than. I want to be a conversation conduit, a connection between many lines, an open book and door. If you place your trust in me with a vote I feel I can achieve this goals. Thank you.
Perhaps unusually, this time I'm the only person standing before you all with experience in the Commission, a record, so to speak. In these last two months as Internal Commissioner, I have worked with the government of Davishire to normalise their relationship with Europolis, and I have consulted and brought forward proposals to reform our committees and bring us more effective governance. The work is unfinished, of course, and you may consider that a point against me; but I am running for a full term of the Commission to help fulfill those proposals, and the principles behind them. I would be honoured to serve again as Internal Commissioner, but I am open to serving in any office.
I believe that this election is about vision, a vision of what the Commission is for. My vision is that the Commission is not here to legislate, not in normal circumstances. It is there to protect us from extra-regional attack and to protect our national sovereignties, but primarily it is there to be an executive - to carry out efficiently the duties of governing. Laws directed towards that, like the budget or my committee proposals, are fine. But I strongly believe we should not go back to a Commission that churns out legislation and, in doing so, basically cripples the Council, and that is why I am running for a full term in the Commission.
Hello everyone, I'm Colleen Bennet and my goal is to bring competency back to the European Commission. The past four months have not been the greatest for our region, but now we have a chance to get back to our ever improving ways. I'm not sure if it's exactly a good thing, but none of the prior full term Commissioners are running again. Commission XIV is going to be a complete reshuffling of the deck that is EU politics and I'd like to be part of the winning hand. European Union does not want promises; it wants action. We do not want legislators; we want leaders. This is why I am running. I stand before you not as a Rhinian, but as a fellow European. A European that wants effective governance. A European that does not want to be disappointed once more by our leaders. A European that is willing to give everything she has towards building a better present and future. Thank you.
Good evening, I am Marie Rivas, the candidate to the Commission for the Party of the European Socialists and Democrats, and I'm proud of it. The word "Socialism" has been vilified during decades in many European nations, as an antiquated, inefficient and even tyrannic ideology.
The reality is that this ideology brings answers to the current problems of the European Union. We have all seen what a Commission and a Council dominated by conservative politicians is able to do: nothing. Blocked by bigotry and national jingoism, initiatives like the creation of Europol, Ocean Protection Act or the Marriage Recognition Act have been blocked.
Conservatism is not able to protect our citizens against terrorism, protect our environment and fight against climate change. It can't even make sure that european citizens can travel or work safely in another nation of the region regardless of their sexual orientation.
Europe needs a change. Social justice and respect to the environment are not incompatible with economic efficiency, quite the contrary. I invite you to fight, with your vote, for a fairer and greener Europe.
Thank you for your opening speeches, candidates.
I have two questions for you, Mrs. Rivas.
The first question was requested to remain anonymous. The questions asks, "What do you think about each of the current EU parties?"
The second question was issued by Councillor Marshall of Rhine Ruhr. He states, "You complain that the conservatives of the region killed the Marriage Recognition Act, but you as a Councillor did not even vote on the final form of the bill. Are you willing to concede that you are equally guilty for the bill's failure? I'd also like to mention that three fellow liberals abstained from voting which too hurt the bills chances. In fact, more UEC members voted for the Marriage Recognition Act than any other party."
Again, both questions are directed towards Marie Rivas.
For the first question, it is obvious that I have more ideological affinity with some parties and less with others, but I think that shouldn't be a hurdle to maintain a constructive dialogue and to close agreements, even if it would be easier to deal with some councillors than with others.
I would not reveal a secret if I say that the S&D point of views in issues like Rights and Liberties and Environment are close of those held dear by the ALDGE. In fact, we're governing Northern Caesarea in coalition with two ALDGE members.
Civil Rights are also a point of coincidence with the "left wing" of the ECL and even with some UEC formations. The problem is that the UEC has lost the centrality and the flexibility of the old European People's Party. It has turned further to the Right and to the closed defence of tradition and national sovereignty, even at the expense of some conservative traditional issues like anti-crime or anti-terrorist cooperation.
For the second question, I recommend Marshall to read the Hansard of that sessions of the Council. I presented an amendment to make more "palatable" the act to Conservative councillors and to open a dialogue to save the Act but I guess that the mentalities were too closed and there was no room for debating. I refused to vote as I saw that there was no possibility to pass the proposal, even a "light" version of it. I remember the ECL councillors abstaining and renouncing to continue dealing to save the Act.
Thank you Ms. Rivas. If anyone would like to speak up, feel free to do so. Otherwise... I'm going to open up the floor here a bit more and speed things up. I have a question or two for each of the candidates.
For Karolinasz Jaedala, Acwellan Devoy the Speaker of the European Council asks, "Seeing as some compromises succeed and some fail, how would you reconcile incompatible stances on Council bills and increase the success rate?"
For Augustus Barrington and Blair Von Schroeder, Alan Haern IR professor of Verington University asks, "What, specifically, do you wish to accomplish in the European Commission?"
For Colleen Bennet, Ria Levion, a 5th grade student from Dairghazbury asks, "How do you plan on leading an improved, active Commission?
For Marie Rivas, Brandon asks, "How do you propose keeping people safe from terrorism without infringing upon their rights?". Also, Robert Kligenberg asks, "How is socialism at all efficient?"
For Peter Montfort, Duxburian Officer of the Interior Liam Hall asks, "What would you accomplish in your second term that would differ from the sluggishness of the first?"
First of all, Before I proceed, I would like to thank Alan Haern for presenting such a serious question to this debate. And now, I shall continue with giving you my answer:
As I have told in the past, The only thing that needs to be accomplished in the European Union is rather simple. The division between parties must go. Unlike my colleague Marie Rivas, which has shown her oppositions to some specific parties - I consider everyone's opinion important, and I consider everyone's opinion correct as long as the one presenting it is in possession of common courtesy. Therefore, what must be done is truly as simple as I present it. The commission must agree to act neutrally, and avoid abusing the power that shall be presented to them if they win the elections for their own personal good, and in stead focus on the good of Europe.
Sure, I agree that this is not a common situation, but we have all witnessed what trouble can it cause when it happens. The last two nominations have not passed without different parties pointing the finger at each other, and at the commission in power, which is why it's important that this time, we choose the right people. The people willing to work hard, people willing to try hard. Willing to make the commission and the Europe a better place.
That is what I wish for this region to accomplish.
Once again, I thank you for your time.
Blair Von Schroeder
Red Croatia's Party of International Relations
Seeing as some compromises succeed and some fail, how would you reconcile incompatible stances on Council bills and increase the success rate?
First of all I would like to thank Speaker Devoy for directing me such a question. This questions hits to the core of my introduction. He is right in that some compromises work and some fail. The recent failures have indeed been on what some might suggest are incompatible stances. So we have to ask why these bills failed, and talking is the obvious answer. If we look over the key debates within bills such as the aformentioned Marriage Recognition act we see a political stand off of left and right; those who believe it a human right and those who believe it against nature. Now if I sit down in such a debate you'd assume that I'd be the waiting to jump in heels first and giving a good kicking . Being a gay woman who fought for marriage equality in Os Corelia its clear where I stand, but condemnation isn't going to create a change of opinion.
It has long been ALDGE policy to support a sort think tank politics, to hold an open session on an issue and work out whether it can be pursued or not. I believe this is where the answer lies. For successful legislation we need a majority agreement and these informal session can facilitate that. We tried specific committees they didn't work, most parties have pre-legislation discussions but these are partisan and not progressive. If elected to the internal position I would invite councillors to come to me with the topic then I would chair an informal session on that topic and provide a summary of discussion, I would then ask if there is a possibility of legislation and if so invite councillors to work on a written bill. This may seem a longer process but bills take time! We can also debate these issues informally in this time without wasting legislation time.
How do you plan on leading an improved, active Commission?
I must say that I'm inspired by your confidence in my chances Ria. Honestly, I do not believe that much is required of me to be considered an improvement upon the last Commission. I'm not going to skirt around your question though. I wouldn't be a candidate for the Commission if I didn't have a gameplan for each office. If elected Premier, I would offer my ideas to each of my fellow Commissioners and see if they would like to give them a try or do their own thing. The key to being a good Premier is being engaged with both fellow Commissioners and with the Europan people. That was why Dominik Frank was so successful in my opinion.
The last Commission was completely unconnected and you barely saw any cooperation between offices. The only time that any of the Commissioners worked together was during that dreaded trip to Dromund Kaas which would define the failures of Commission XIII. If I am to be Premier Commissioner I would encourage discussion and cooperation between the various offices of our executive branch. I remember when Commissioners Lamington and Arcturus put their projects together which led to the European Relief Force Act which was written by Councillors Zapatero and Roebuck. Or when then Premier Bass and Defense Commissioner Arcturus worked together along with the Inimicus government in resolving the Telum Incident. Not only will a good Premier encourage cooperation within the Commission, but also between nations and Councillors. I wouldn't be micromanaging every little thing, rather I would try to have our institutions work together as one. That is the key to running an effective and active Commission.
"What, specifically, do you wish to accomplish in the European Commission?"
Well, thank you for your question, professor. I think the answer completely relies on which post I am elected to. For example, if I would be assigned to the office of Internal Affairs, I would be interfering with matters such as the Speller case, or other internal problems. But would I be elected to the post of Economics Commissioner, it would seem wise for me to dive into the paperwork and make sure every European Union organisation is well funded, and that nations pay and recieve the right amounts of money to and from this Union.
Overall, I think one could summarise my goals to the fact that I want the best for the European citizens. Not only in financial matters, but also politically and militarily. The previous commission, I think, was certainly not a complete faillure, but, as my Rhinian colleague has said, there was almost no connection between the different offices, and that is what has to change in Commission XIV. I think I am able to do that.
Thank you for your question, Mr. Hall. What would I accomplish? Well, top of the list, were I to be elected and made Internal again, would be to get the committee reforms through. I'm pleased to note that my proposals are receiving feedback, and that that feedback seems to be generally positive. Then, it would be imperative to make sure that new system works, and if not yet done, I would intervene to help speed up the Constitution and UDoHR drafted and before the Council as soon as possible. On that point, we may wish to consider lengthening the Commission's terms back out to five months, since I believe the inactivity of this Commission is to some extent - not totally, but to some extent - a product of the shorter term. Anyway, In the Foreign Commission, I believe we need to prioritise the enlargement of our region, and - as I proposed in the last election - establish an organised system for rotating responsibility for inviting nations to join the EU*, and of course we should continue the process of establishing embassies with other regions.
As Defence Commissioner, and perhaps this is a clich?, and perhaps you won't believe me or anyone who says this, but I would make equipping the ERF my main priority by a country mile. It has to be done. As Economic Commissioner, I believe we have to cut the cost of a European patent, and cut the national contributions - there was trial and error with the first budget, and we've ended up with a vast surplus, and that's alright for the first budget. But I don't see any reason why we should continue to transfer loads of money to Europolis, and curtail business in the process, and then transfer almost all of it back to national governments. Finally, if I were elected Premier - dare I dream - I would sit down with the Commission and we'd set out a clear agenda of what we want to achieve over our term, and I would press for all of the above to be included in that agenda. I think it's particularly important, both here and after five of us here tonight are elected, not only to say what we want to be done, but to say how we plan to do it - I think that's what we need to restore clarity, trust, and activity in the Commission.
Thank you for your questions.
For the question about anti-terrorist struggle and the rights of the people, I think that they are not incompatible concepts. Even the most evil of terrorists have rights which are guaranteed by national an even European courts. We cannot forget it and law enforcement forces must with that premise. I thing that presently the terrorist groups which are operating in Europe are taking profit of the lack of coordination and cooperation between police forces in the continent. The European Institutions must create a climate of confidence to permit governments and security corps to share databases and investigations data to prevent terrorist attacks in any european nation. We must also make sure that a terrorist will have no safe havens in Europe and that he will be tracked in every country of the region.
And about the efficiency of socialism, I can give the example of my Home Nation: the PSD has been in power for 62 years in the last century and it has one of Europe most dynamic economies, a solid private sector, a AAA public debt ratio... and a strong welfare state.
Alright, thank you candidates.
The next question is for all of you. It was sent in anonymously. It asks, "As you probably know Bakrova is a country with cultural richness. In more western countries of the European Union it seems that the culture and folklore is lost. And how you want the youth national values, norms and traditions teach without the international forget. how do you combat this phenomenon? Cultural Capitals? premiums for institutions that promote culture? festivals?"
Following up that question, there is one specific question for Mrs. Karolinasz Jaedala that might have a similar answer. North Europan Councilor Bent Jerrik Christiansen asks, "You mentioned that your goal is the internal reorganization of the EU. I would like you to give us some of the ideas they intend to adopt?"
Well, first of all, I personally believe that cultural heritage carries great importance within the nations of the European Union and that it is something to be proud of, which is why I as an individual would be satisfied if culture started being more promoted in the European Union. However, I will sadly not be able to answer this question directly because I think that culture should not be promoted in the EU nations, regardless of my personal views because there are many people who want to look towards the future, and make their own life rather then accept everything their nation has left to them, and those people I can respect.
However, what I do believe is that the citizens of the European Union should be able to gain the information about their nation's history and culture as fast and simple as possible, and that anybody, including their national governments should not stop them from doing so.
Blair Von Schroeder
Red Croatia's Party of International Relations
"As you probably know Bakrova is a country with cultural richness. In more western countries of the European Union it seems that the culture and folklore is lost. And how you want the youth national values, norms and traditions teach without the international forget. how do you combat this phenomenon? Cultural Capitals? premiums for institutions that promote culture? festivals?"
Well Anonymous, I think it would be up to the individual nations to decide if they would like to hold onto their cultural heritage or embrace modernity. The European Union already has ways in which to preserve cultural heritage in the European Arts Collaboration Fund which is currently working on a cultural archive as proposed by Count Kairos Jelesniak of Os Corelia and there is also the European Heritage Site Program which has been around for a few years now. Commission XI welcomed the first class of sites into the program around this time last year. I am not sure if the regional government should do any more to protect the cultural heritage of its member states, but its not really my decision. If you feel passionate enough about this issue, I urge that you write to your Councillor about it. Perhaps they can start a Council discussion on the matter or even write a piece of legislation.
Edited for grammar
Cultural diversity is an european asset, as our regional motto "United in Diversity". The European Union must promote, in cooperation with national, regional and even local administrations, the cultural heritage of the member nations. Adding a part dedicated to folklore and traditions to the European Heritage Program would be a good beginning.