Commission XVII Candidates Debate
_The auditorium was filled with spectators, young and old, conservative and progressive, left and right, all watching the debate's leader and the five commission nominees
Victor Crutchlow, one of the Inimician Broadcasting Corporation's most celebrated presenters, had been invited to moderate today's debate, and, nervous as he was, took to the stage, where the five Commission candidates were already standing _
It's that time of year again: summer has arrived and with or comes a new commission. After Commission XVI, led by Chasca Nayra from Nouvelle Picardie, it is time for one of these "fabulous five" to battle for the Premiership of Commission XVII:
- Eloise Murray, the councillor from Miraco, running on behalf of the ECL
- Susan Callaghan, this Halsbergian UEC veteran is trying her luck once more
- Alenka, the Duchess of Lithuania provides another new face to European politics, running as an independent candidate for her country Poland-Lithuania.
- Kaegan Hezterblatz is the third and last new candidate, having been nominated on behalf of Os Corelia and the ALDGE
- Eric Pickles, outgoing Commissioner for Internal Affairs now wants to go the extra mile and lead the EU as PremierNow, we have the standard rules and regulations that we need to get out of the way:
- Questions to be posed to the candidates must be sent to yours truly, i.e. me.
- Be sure to specify who each question comes from when you send it to me, along with where they live (be as specific as you want), and what their occupation is.
- Questions may be submitted anonymously.
- The debate moderator (AKA me) reserves the right to reject any question if I feel I have legitimate grounds to do so.
- Pose questions to an individual candidate, or to the whole group, whichever takes your fancy.
- Be as biased or as unbiased as you like in your question.
- Only myself and the Commission candidates may be allowed to participate in the debate.
Now then, I would like to invite all candidates to present themselves to the European Union by making their opening statements.
[i]Above- Stock Image of Commissioner Pickles
The Commissioner, Eric Pickles stepped forward and stared directly into the TV camera. He was well dressed
"For those of you who are unaware for the last 4 months I have been serving this region as the Commissioner for Internal Affairs. A post which I have been most privileged to have held. I have worked hard over the period of my last term to be as active as possible whilst being a representative of the region and a key member of the regional government.
Regardless of whether I win the position of Premier or another commission office I have 2 main areas on which I would like to focus. The first is accountability, I would like to work with councillors to bring about the possibility of the council being able to impeach inactive commissioners or commissioners who break regional law. This will mean that we would in the future have an executive which is directly responsible to the council. However in order for me to do this it would be necessary for me to be elected to the position of Premier Commissioner.
My second fucis is the freedom of information , if elected to the position of Premier I would like to work with fellow commissioners and councillors to bring about the legal right of access to certain forms of information from government funded organisations. As well as being able to provide citizens with the right to access what information is held about them by all organisations.
Over the past few months I have worked for this region as commissioner, I have helped to make decisions and broker peace. I admit not all of my decisions would have been made had I had the benefit of hindsight, not everything I did was perfect because if it was I would not be human. I would however like to say that everything I did or said was apart of my love for this region and because I believed it would be the right thing to do. I would like to continue to serve the peoples of this region into the future.
I have experience of government both nationally and in the commission and as a result I hope that you will trust me and my experiences to lead the region into the future.
But I cannot say everything. For more information about me please read the information within your packs that have been issued. Thank you I look forward to answering your questions. "
(OCC- Document HERE )
I would first of all like to thank the Inimican Broadcasting Company for their moderation of the event and for the people of Europe for being ready and willing to engage with the institutions that represent them. The last few commissions haven't been working, if if something is broken we need to fix it. First of all we need the very present reminder that our position is not to make laws nor do I intend if elected to do that but to rather facilitate from which ever office I am given.
My key word of this electoral campaign is facilitation. This could be in facilitating council bills or facilitating dialogues between nations to get mutual benefit. In trade deals we in the commission could help broker deals between nations by offering to assist if needed we can also be neutral parties in many situations such as conflicts but only if we are required. We can also engage once again with think tank facilitation where we open conversations about possible legislative ways to tackle problems.
I would also like to see the commission have a sense of ceremony in officially signing the documents when passed in the council to mark such an occasion. I would also like the commission to tour European countries to engage with all members.
A lot of councillors have great idea but can't quite articulate them into passable legislation. I would like the commission to work with new councillors on articulating their ideas through bill writing mentorships. As we are working in a non-partisan role we can help councillors present their opinions even if we disagree with the principles to ensure all voices are heard in the right of democracy.
But yes I have plenty more ideas where that came from so feel free to ask me. Let the commission facilitate for Europe.
I am Alenka, Duchess of Lithuania, but do not worry: the title of duchess is not an official title in my nation. Rather, it is ceremonial as a show of gratitude from the government. I have been in service of Lithuania and the national government of Poland for five years.
What I have seen from the last Commission was appalling. My idea of a commission is not to pass judgement on nations and conflicts, and get involved in toxic rhetoric but to work for these European peoples with whom we all identify. We have seen certain commissioners threaten and posture rather than facilitate and mediate, as it is agreed.
I would like to see the Commission more actively engaged with each nation, and much like my Corelian colleague, establish a schedule of tours but rather than just the Premier, have the entire commission tour around to better understand each constituent nation.
I'd like to see the Commission work with each other more often in its capacity to come up with more cooperative ideas and help each other. The job of an Economics commissioner affects the Foreign Affairs and Internal commissioner, and so on and so forth. Rather than have these offices work so independently, the Commission should be some of the first people actively working with other Commissioners. Which leads me to my final point.
I believe that the Premier Commissioner must speak with his or her commissioners and come up with an overarching goal that provides a cohesive, well-defined mission. Too often each of the individual offices never cross, and the Commission is less effective, more interested in advancing Euro-party goals (even though we are supposed to be, once elected, not operating in that capacity) through each individual office. As an independent candidate, I can thoroughly say that would be my primary goal as a Premier: making sure the Commission can and will work together towards a greater good.
Good evening. I'd like to open by joining my Corelian friend in thanking our hosts for the debate today. Evidently, as there are already five candidates, all of us here will become, or continue to be, a Commisioner. We shall continue or join the ranks of those who work for the good of the region, putting the Union before their home countries. Unfortunately, a small number from the previous Commission, one of whom is represented here today, were unable to follow this basic principle of our union: that our regions leaders work for the good of all, not just their home governments.
I want to be premier. I want to put my experience to good use as the leader of the Commission. I have had the pleasure of serving in the Commission several times. I know the ropes. Ever since I started out as economics commissioner, I have been gathering the experience and knowhow that I believe are necessary for a Premier Commissioner to posess. But of course, this election is not about the past. It is about the future of our region, one which I firmly belive will be a bright one. I know our union's best days are ahead of us, not behind us as some on this stage would have you believe.
Mr Pickles says he'd like to be Premier. A noble goal, of course. To want to dedicate yourself to public service, if that is his aim, is laudable. But we have to ask ourselves, is he the right man for the job? Will he safeguard sovereignty, will he keep the peace in the region, will he be a completely impartial mediator in any disputes? Unfortunately, the answer, based on his track record, is no. We need only look back to the conflict in the Sahara. Thank god a peaceful solution was reached, but this was no thanks to Commissioners Pickles. His bellicose, warmongering rhetotic threatened to derail the peace process on several occasions. Indeed, it seemed he was a mouthpiece of his home government rather than a true servant of all European peoples. Perhaps this wouldn't be so bad if the Commisioner had actually got his facts right about the situation when he issued his numerous statements, which I'm sure the region always looked forward to. I'm also told that, despite his numerous attempts, Mr Pickles was not invited to the London Conference, nor to any of the other meetings that took place. It could be quite funny that he is so poorly regarded by member states, were it not so harmful to the region. Let's cast our minds back more broadly over the last term. In the last four months, there has been more conflict between member states than ever before. We've had the Sahara incident, the altercation between Inimicus and Rimroth, not to mention the frosty encounter between the Duxburian Navy and Mr Pickle's home nation. Can we really afford to have the someone who has, in his capacity as Internal Affairs Commissioner, overseen such a vast increase in regional tension?
I say no. I say that the premier of our region must be someone who's only interest is the preservation of peace and prosperity, one completely independent of their home nation's government. I believe that I can deliver that. That's why I'm asking you, people of Europe, vote for me for Premier Commissioner. Let's make a difference together. Thank you.
Before making my opening remarks, I'd like to first thank our moderator from Inimicus, my fellow candidates, and the people of Europe.
The nation of Miraco, is a relatively young nation, having joined the European Union only a year ago, though I firmly believe that this does not impact our motivation and our commitment for bettering this region. As a young nation, we wish to work alongside our veteran colleagues to help build the Europe of tomorrow. This is the reason I am running for European Commission.
I see the European Commission as a place for nations both young and old to come together, identify the problems faced by fellow nations and craft solutions, not as individual commissioners as my colleague from from Poland-Lithuania pointed out, but as a cohesive unit.
That is the beauty of a union such as ours, we come together as individual nations to make up a cohesive piece of art, the mosaic that is the Europe Union. If elected Premier, I shall make it my goal to ensure the cohesiveness of the European Commission, to work together with fellow nations to craft the Europe of tomorrow.
I?d like to end my opening statement with wishing my fellow candidates the best of luck.
Victor, there have been some allegations made against me. Would it be possible if I could just take a few moments to say a few additional words as a result of what has been said?
Since Mrs Callaghan's statement was a personal and provocative one, Crutchlow said:
"Very well, Mr Pickles, you may reply if you wish"
Through his earpiece he heard the first questions had been written in. Before reading some, though, Crutchlow pointed out a slender, tall figure in the audience. Blair von Schroeder stood up and said:
Mr Pickles, how did you aid the region during the last four months?"
"Thank you for this clear and direct question, Miss Von Schroeder. Commissioner Pickles, go ahead"
The Commissioner stood up
"Firstly I shall answer the excellent question from Miss Von Schroeder. Through my time as Commissioner of Internal Affairs, which as you have said lasted for 4 months I have worked to create discussion on important matters. I have been following the tradition that commissioners are not legislators per se and trying to talk with councillors about key topics so as to hopefully encourage people within the union to come together and decided upon the future. A prime example of this was the abolition of capital punishment. However sadly it did appear that on these occassions when I have attempted to raise discussion of important issues there has been a limited response from fellow Europeans. A prime example of this was the recent discussion on a post disaster relief programme when I got a very short and blunt response from a national representative.
I have also tried to assist in peace processes. Whilst I was excluded from the process which was related to the western sahara I did work with representatives from both Rimroth and Inimicus in order to bring them to the table before and then worked with them during the negotiations in order to bring peace. Without my working with both parties I feel that this conflict could have gone on for longer and there would not have been compromise.
I shall also like to confirm that I will 4 months from the date of my appointment on the 27th July be releasing a document which provides a summary of my term in office as commissioner for internal affairs.
Now I will address the concerns of Mrs Callaghan. The main concern of hers does appear to be that she fears I am representing the government of Davishire rather than the peoples of Europe as a whole. I want to firstly completely deny this allegation. I have only had 4 exchanges with the government of Davishire, details of which will be released at the end of the current commission term. The second point I would like to respond to is that the candidate has inferred that the increase in tension is as a result of me being the commissioner. I feel that such an allegation is wrong because at no point did I want conflict to occur. Admittedly the decision that I made could with the benefit of hindsight be considered by many to be the wrong decision however with the information that I had at the time whilst working with my commission colleague from the commission for defence and peacekeeping.
I would like to finish to say that during my term thus far I have only done what I thought was right and regardless which office I have next term I will continue to do what I think is right whilst trying to improve the commission in getting it more active and working more as a team.
I do hope that this answers your concerns. "
The Commissioner smiled and sat down.
"Thank you very much. I will allow Mrs Callaghan to reply if she wishes to do so, but I must also continue with the main theme of tonight: answering questions from concerned European citizens.
One of these concerned Europeans has sent in three questions. One for Mr Pickles, one for Mrs Callaghan, and one for all candidates.
First, the question for Commissioner Pickles:
"Mr Pickles, have you ever read the European Constitution or do you know who Xristos Kalabouris is? If so, you know that we already have mechanisms in place to 'impeach' Commissioners who are doing their jobs poorly or not doing it at all. Can you explain more in detail why your version of impeachment is different and necessary; as well as, how can you hope to enact such change if you're voted into the Premiership?"
And now the question for Mrs Callaghan:
Mrs Callaghan, you mention your time as Economics Commissioner in your opening statement. How can you reconcile the fact that you were unable to get a single vote on your widely ridiculed last second attempt at a European Budget with the idea that you are the great leader we need for Premier?"
Tough words there... And now for the question directed at all candidates:
"I think a good Premier and a good Commissioner in general has a good idea of a wide range of issues and topics that affect Europe and a plan on how to adress them. With that in mind, I'd like to hear from each candidate what they'd like to see done with each Commission position during this term and in the future"
A set of very direct questions that should allow every candidate to portray themselves quite nicely, if I may say so. Let's hear from the candidates!"
"I shall answer the question directed towards me personally first,
I am fully aware of the European Constitution and have read it on many occasions and it is carried in my briefcase at all times. I am fully aware that Article VII provides the council powers to impeach commissioners and the commission also has the power however I would like to work with councillors to see specific reasons that the council should be able to impeach a Commissioner. I would want to work with colleagues in the commission and councillors to draw up legislation which specifies these reasons for which the council could impeach commissioners so that the constitution could be amended to make that so. If everybody knows what the penalties are for what then it will mean that people are more likely to do the jobs that they are elected to do.
I shall now answer the general question,
I agree, commissioners need to have a knowledge of a wide range of topics that affect the region as a whole. Currently my main concerns for example are issues involving countries paying large amounts of money out of national budgets into a large regional surplus which needs to be reduced. Ideally I would like to see all commissioners carrying out the duties of their offices, for example the Defence commissioner monitoring chemical and nuclear weapons, the Internal Commissioner dealing with internal issues and the Foreign affairs commissioner working with other regions to improve our standing in the world. However I will not set each office a specific agenda because as you said each commissioner should have a general knowledge of what topics are important. I would as Premier set out a key route plan as to where we want to move over the next four months. I would for example want to see the commission given powers to propose legislation to the council, I would like the commission to work together on issues such as capital punishment and importantly the environment. I would also like to see more accountability, afterall commissioners are elected. I would like to see reviews of each commission term published by commissioners as I will do next week and I would like to increase the number of commission meetings to work on joint strategies to tackle issues. But importantly I would like each commissioner to go ahead and find out what issues need to be tackled by visiting member states and starting discussion. Does that answer your question"
In answer to the general question offered to all candidates I want to see the commission operate as a separate body to the council yet in service of it. I don't want to see any commissioners legislating as there is no point or need for it. I want to see a Premier Commissioner who will formally sign off bills and set a clear facilitation agenda that will involve visiting European states to bridge the gap between national governments and the European council so they feel they can have a valid position of authority.
The economics commissioner has a clear portfolio of producing a budget and ensuring we can finance the various institutions, I would also task the economics commissioner with auditing the use of budget money to ensure all institutions are running cost effectively. The auditing reports would then be presented to council who will be given their right to legislate around these financial changes.
The foreign affairs commissioner will be given a portfolio of acting as an ambassador to over regions and inviting them to visit our council chambers. I would like to see that office take on more inter-regional dialogues and have representatives form other regions come speak in the council chambers. They will also be able to facilitate discussions about trading pacts the councillors may wish to assert.
The internal affairs commissioner will be possibly the most active in facilitation being the person present at most council sessions working with the council chair to aid the democratic process. I would like to see the internal commissioner be a mentor to new members and aid them in creating bills they are wishing to place ot council. I would also like to see the internal commissioner starting think tank groups and discussions on core issues that legislation could eventually come out of. I would like the internal to work with the speaker to produce a summary of arguments in each debate. The internal will also continue existing appointment portfolio work as well.
The Defence and Peacekeeping commissioner will be in charge of helping broker deals in inter-european conflict. This will be their central office role. They ill also offer summits on a variety of issues form nuclear disarmament to finding ways to actively encourage peace. They can also lend their expertise to defence specific bills and mentor councillors through these.
I wouldn't wish for any of the commission to feel the need to take glory and credit for their work as they are in service of Europe not their own careers and although they may broker peace they are merely doing the job paid for. I also will not be pursuing reform of commission impeachment as I believe the current system address and hold the commission accountable and there is not a thirst for expensive changes. Any change is the council not the commission's prerogative. I feel such moves are merely show boating ideas where a lack of real effective commission work lies.
Thank you for your excellent question. I fully agree that a good Commissioner and Premier should have a good idea of a range of issues that affect Europe.
Let me first address the position of Economic Councillor, up until now we have a large surplus set to be redistributed amongst EU members. I would like to see a smarter budget and a clear direction for how it is to be used. For example I would like to see a fund set aside for aid, and projects that will benefit the whole of Europe.
As for the position of foreign affairs commissioner, I would like to see the European Union become more influential as a region, and to forge more alliances and relations with more regions. We are a region with much to offer, but we need to establish more relations if we are to grow as a region. Furthermore, I wish to see the facilitation of trade agreements and the ability to take action against rouge state and non-state actors.
Internal Affairs commissioner in my opinion, should work closely with nations to identify issues and help create solutions either by mentoring new states legislate solutions, or through dialogue. The key to being a good internal affairs commissioner is transparency and accountability.
Lastly, the defence and peace keeping commissioner should not only make brokering peace in times of conflict a priority, but they should also focus on maintaining peace and working with member nations to prevent conflict. They must employ evidence based policies and work on key areas to ensure a more peaceful Europe.
Though I speak of each office separately, I wish to re-iterate on my earlier statement, the commissions cannot be separated. We cannot craft the Europe of tomorrow as individuals, we must work together as a cohesive unit if we are to move forward as a region.
Again, I wish to thank our moderator for the question.