Constitutional Amendment - Commission Reform
I hereby propose that Article III of the Constitution to be amended to the following:
ARTICLE III – THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Section I – Definition of the European Commission
I. The European Commission is the executive authority of the European Union. The European Commission shall be headed by a Premier Commissioner, elected by popular vote among European citizens. The AV electoral system shall be used, with each member state's Councillor obliged to vote in conjunction with his or her member state's individual Commission election results. It shall also consist of the Commissioner for Internal Affairs and the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, whom shall be separately nominated by the Premier Commission and confirmed by the European Council.
II. The term for the Commission shall last four months. No country may have a citizen or national of itself elected for more than two consecutive terms.
III. Commissioners do not represent nor are they related to any government of the European Union. Each Commissioner must be from a separate country.
Section II – Duties of the European Commission
I. The European Commission is charged with the duty of managing the Offices of the Premier Commissioner, and the Commissioners for Internal Affairs and the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, as well as their subsequent duties.
II. The European Commission is responsible for the enforcement of European Council decisions among the member states, as well as the decisions made by the European Court of Justice.
Section III – Election Procedures
I. Any nation may put forward as many candidates as it wishes for the office of Premier Commissioner, but only the most successful candidate from each nation is eligible for election.
II. National elections for the Premeir Commissioner shall be held in the member states, using the Alternative Vote system. The results of these national elections shall be binding on the Councillors of their respective nations, who shall vote on behalf of their citizens to elect the Premier Commissioner, on the grounds of the the One Nation One Vote principle.
III. The nomination period shall last seven days, to be followed by a seven day period in which debates shall be held, to be followed in turn by seven days of voting. Voting for the Premier Commissioner shall be conducted via the Alternative Vote system, with Councillors being bound to the results of the national elections among their member states' electorate.
IV. Councillors voting for the Premier Commissioner shall list as many preferences as the results of their member state's national election dictate.
V. Ties shall be broken by determining the proportion of each candidate’s votes that are first preferences, with the candidate with the highest proportion winning the tie. If that is tied, the process shall be repeated for the next-highest preference. If the candidates are tied for all preferences, then the tie shall be broken by a coin toss.
VI. The new Premier Commissioner shall be sworn in and replace the outgoing Premier Commissioner the next day, and they then shall propose their nominations for Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs to the Council, who shall then confirm his or her proposals by a simple majority vote.
VII. The new Commission shall be sworn in and replace the outgoing Commission the next day.
Section IV – Decision-Making in the European Commission
I. The European Council may replace the Premier Commissioner as a result of a vote of impeachment. Such a motion requires a nomination and election of candidates as outlined in Article III, Section III.
II. The Premier Commissioner has the right to remove and replace any of their appointed Commissioners as see fit, however the Council may reject such a motion on any grounds.
III. Any decision made by the European Commission shall be vested in the Premier Commissioner, who may vest decision making powers in his Commissioner as he sees fit, or as outlined by previous legislation.
IV. The Premier Commissioner shall be succeeded by the Commissioner for Internal Affairs, pending an official by-election. If there is no present Commissioner for Internal Affairs, then the Premier will be succeeded by the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs.
Section V – Offices of the European Commission
I. The European Commission consists of the Office of the Premier Commissioner, the Office of Internal Affairs, and the Office of Foreign Affairs.
II. Each Office is headed by a Commissioner, whose job title is named after the relevant Office.
Section VI – Office of the Premier Commissioner
I. The Office of the Premier Commissioner is headed by the Premier Commissioner.
II. The Office of the Premier Commissioner is first among the Offices of the European Commission, and the Premier Commissioner shall preside over all meetings of the European Commission.
III. The Office of the Premier Commissioner is responsible for nominating, or replacing members to the Offices of Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs.
IV. The Office of the Premier Commissioner is responsible for setting an agenda for each Commission, for co-operation between the Offices of the European Commission and between the European Commission and the European Council, and for signing off on passed European Council legislation and European Commission decisions.
V. The Office of the Premier has the right to veto any resolution, motion, law made by the European Council. However, the Council may override this veto using a supermajority.
VI. The Office of the Premier Commissioner officially succeeds the Office of Defence and Peacekeeping. Any legislation that previously invested or accredited responsibility to the Commissioner for Defence and Peacekeeping shall now be invested in the Premier Commissioner.
VII. The Office of the Premier Commissioner is responsible for mediating conflicts between member states, and is responsible for co-ordinating regional relief efforts for parts of the region blighted by conflict or natural disaster.
VIII. The Office of the Premier Commissioner is responsible for maintaining the defence and security of Europolis, and for organising co-operation between national security services active within Europolis and the Europolis security services.
Section VII – Office of Internal Affairs
I. The Office of Internal Affairs is headed by the European Commissioner for Internal Affairs.
II. The Office of Internal Affairs is responsible for relations between the European Commission and the member states.
III. The Office of Internal Affairs is responsible for the promotion of political freedoms and civil rights among the member states of the European Union, and for encouraging co-operation between member states for the benefit of the European Union as a whole.
IV. The Office of Internal Affairs is responsible for encouraging efficiency and good governance among the institutions of the European Union.
V. The Office of Internal Affairs officially succeeds the Office of Economics. Any legislation that previously invested or accredited responsibility to the Commissioner for Economics shall now be invested in the Commissioner for Internal Affairs.
VI. The Office of Internal Affairs is responsible for managing the finances of the institutions of the European Union, including through the presentation of a budget for each financial year for the Council to debate and vote on according to the provisions of Article II, Section III. In the event of the Council rejecting a proposed budget, the Office of Internal Affairs is required to present alternative budgets until one is passed by the Council.
VII. The Office of Internal Affairs is responsible for the promotion of economic co-operation among the member states, and for monitoring the strength of the economy of the member states and of the European Union as a whole.
VIII. The Office of Internal Affairs is responsible for overseeing the European Central Bank, the entity responsible for managing the European Union’s official currency, the Euro (€).
Section VIII – Office of Foreign Affairs
I. The Office of Foreign Affairs is headed by the European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs.
II. The Office of Foreign Affairs is responsible for relations between the European Union and other regions, including through the maintenance of alliances and embassies.
III. The Office of Foreign Affairs is responsible for encouraging nations outside the region to accede to the European Union.
Debate begins now and ends at 20:49 GMT on the 24th of February.
The amendment period will then begin and end at 20:49 GMT on the 26th of February.
Final voting will then begin and will then conclude at 20:49 GMT on the 29th of February.
I believe that this amendment will bring efficient and real reform to the current system, and it does so by also bringing an agreeable compromise.
This amendment includes the cabinet system proposed by the previous amendment we saw weeks ago, but it does NOT have a President, and it does NOT give the office executive orders either. It does, however, give the Premier the powers to veto legislation. The Premier will nominate the other Commissioners, but the Commissioners have to be approved by the council first. Most noticeably, however, the office of Defence and Peacekeeping will be absorbed into the Office of the Premier, and the Office of Economics will be absorbed into the Office of the Internal Affairs. The Premier will be elected directly by the people of the EU member states, whom shall have their Councillors vote according to their wishes.
Again, I feel as though the problem is not the system itself but participation. As we have seen with the reforms to the party system, reforms to achieve higher participation don't increase participation.
"However, if what the British councillor says is true, and we just let everything be as it is and rely on participation - which, by the way, we fail to create time after time - nothing will ever get done.
"This proposal is a huge improvement from the most recent amendment proposition. There is no European 'President' which can issue vague and rather limitless Executive Orders and no strange office titles which seem to include no further purpose than to just sound fancy. I also applaud Cllr. Firoux's abolition of the offices of Economics and Defence and Peacekeeping, which have served no further active purpose in recent Commissions; I think he strikes the nail on the head by proposing to get rid of these positions. Moreover, I think the limited office count will allow for stronger competition and therefore stronger accountability and scrutiny. Overall, I think we have an excellent proposition to work with.
"That said, Inimicus does take issue with the Premier being directly elected by popular vote. Member states have long-lasting established traditions of nominating and choosing their candidates; most nations already allow the populace to hold elections, but those that do not should be respected too. Yet, for all that, I shan't propose an amendment to the amendment, so to speak, which would completely reverse part of this proposal. I think Inimicus will be able to support this draft. That does leave me with one question, however: will the Premier be able to nominate just anyone for the commission posts? Say, for example, an Inimician was elected Premier, could they nominate anyone and anybody from a low-life village in the Rosarian countryside, or are there certain requirements to nominations?"
"Thank you for your support, Councillor Jaevons.
You bring up a pretty good question. In short, yes, the Premier Commissioner could choose someone random from the Rosarian countryside as a nominee for their Commission. Technically this is already how it works. We don't have any set of required qualifications for our Commissioners, save for that they can't be in office representing a certain government. However, under this amendment, the Council has to approve of the nominees put forward by the Premier before they become Commissioners. This is safeguarded in section IV clause II. So if the Council doesn't have faith in one of the Premier's nominees, then the Council could always reject them. The Council also maintains the right to impeach any Commissioner they see fit. If they prove to be a disappointment after we put faith in them, then the Council could always impeach them. However, thanks to the cabinet system, the Premier will be responsible for who he or she chooses as Commissioners. This means that if the Premier is making questionable choices for their Commission, then they will be the one who is held accountable, whether it's by the Council, or by voters. I assume most Premiers don't want to be impeached or want to win re-election. It's the name of the game: responsible government. If this does prove to be a problem though, we could always amend the Constitution to include certain amounts of qualifications needed for office. Although, from the history we currently have, it seems like the Commissioners who have been onion farmers have actually been better than some of the more seasoned political veterans we've put in power.
I agree somewhat with the general sentiment my British colleague brings up. Sure, the efficiency of our Commission is certainly determined by active participation. However, when was the last time our Commission was fully active. The Roebuck Commission? That was already back in 2013. Since then, the we've had both ups and downs in participation, and we've been seeing constant results of Commissions with one or two active people, and then three people who don't end up doing anything. We've had more impeachments in the last two years than any all the years previous. We can certainly blame ourselves for inactivity, but we can't be confident in a system, which just weeks ago, was very nearly abolished entirely. I encourage people to look back at that vote when the Commission was almost abolished and keep it in their minds. The proposals made in this amendment are by no means radical or even new. Some of these ideas, such as redistributing the offices of Economics and Defense, were already mainstream beliefs back in 2012. This reform isn't even about trying to spur activity, it's about creating a more efficient government, one with more clear responsibilities, and one that is more accountable. First and foremost, I think a cabinet system will mean we'll have less Commissioners who slip in by coming fifth or fourth in the Commission elections, and it also means we get Commissioners who actually want to be in the office they want. It also means they can easily be removed from office if need be, so we no longer need to have tedious processes of waiting until terms are over until we boot inactive Commissioners. It also unifies the Commission offices under the Premier, seeing as they will be responsible for choosing their team. Sure, as it stands, the Premier gets to allocate who gets what office win they win the election, but that's it. There is no incentive for the Premier to have an actively unified Commission. Why should the Premier care if the Foreign or Internal Commissioner is inactive or being incompetent? They didn't choose them. They didn't necessarily want to work with them. We've had instances where rivals and people who couldn't work together ended up in Commissions together. How did that work out? It didn't. In fact, the Premier might have incentive to actually not care. As long as they're active, then they look good and their re-election prospects will be better. We need to make the reverse of this true."
Cllr. Stuart stood to speak.
“First of all, I’d like to request a three-day extension of debate, given the importance of this issue.”
“I applaud, to a certain extent, Cllr. Firoux’s proposal. Cutting the number of Commissioners from five to three is a measure for which the case has become overwhelming, and should go a long way towards eliminating inactivity among Commissioners. I also agree with the division of former responsibilities. Nonetheless, it will come as no surprise to this Chamber that I wholeheartedly oppose the idea of mandatory national elections. Much like the idea of mandatory direct election for Councillors, this undermines the Council and its members. Though Cllr. Firoux is right to note that impeachment still exists, it fundamentally transfers the primary responsibility for electing the Premier Commissioner away from the European Council. Instead of national representatives, we would become a sort of bizarro-world Electoral College where we all have the same number of votes – one – regardless of population. Indeed, because of that fact, I’d argue this doesn’t exactly bring popular democratic accountability to the Commission, which I assume is Cllr. Firoux’s misguided aim.”
“My second concern is about the way the other two Commissioners are chosen. I believe these positions can and should be elected directly – like the Premier Commissioner, I would prefer that that be done in the ‘normal’ fashion. Over the past few years, there has been a growing trend of candidates running for specific Commission positions, and that trend has given us some of the greatest Commissioners of that era. I believe that trend should be harnessed as the institution of the Commission enters a new era. It would also help keep Commission elections open, and stop too much power being concentrated in the hands of the Premier Commissioner. On that note, I’d also oppose veto power – there’s simply no need for it.”
“Now, I’m afraid I will submit an irritatingly large number of amendments to this amendment. I should start with the substantive ones and then move to the housekeeping. Much of which involves the poor, maligned ECoJ.”
Change Section I, Clause I to the following:
The European Commission is the executive authority of the European Union. The European Commission consists of three Commissioners, each elected by the European Council.
Change Section III to the following:
I. Any nation may only put forward a candidate for one of the three offices, but for that office, it may put forward as many candidates as it wishes.
II. The nomination period shall last seven days, to be followed by a seven day period in which debates shall be held, to be followed in turn by seven days of voting.
III. Councillors rank in order of preference as many candidates as they wish, voting separately for each office.
IV. Each member of the Commission shall be elected using the Alternative Vote system.
V. Ties shall be broken by determining the proportion of each candidate’s votes that are first preferences, with the candidate with the highest proportion winning the tie. If that does not resolve the tie, the process shall be repeated for the next-highest preference. If the tie is still not resolved, then it shall be resolved by a coin toss.
VI. The new Commission shall be sworn in and replace the outgoing Commission the next day.
Change Section IV to the following:
I. The European Commission may fill any vacancies in the Commission. Such a motion requires a by-election, that is, a nomination and election of candidates as outlined in Article III, Section III.
II. Should the Office of the Premier Commissioner become vacant, it shall be filled in an acting capacity by the Commissioner for Internal Affairs, or should that Office also be vacant, the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, pending a by-election. If the entire Commission becomes vacant, a new Commission will be elected.
III. Any decision made by the European Commission requires a two-thirds majority among the Commissioners.
Change Section VI, Clause II to the following:
II. The Office of the Premier Commissioner is first among equals of the Offices of the European Commission, and the Premier Commissioner shall preside over all meetings of the European Commission.
Remove Section VI, Clause V entirely; and re-number Clauses VI, VII, and VIII to Clauses V, VI, and VII respectively.
Add the following Clause III to Section V:
III. Each Commissioner is entitled to appoint up to two Secretaries to assist them in carrying out specific duties within their Office. Such appointments must be ratified by a majority vote of the European Council, following a four-day hearing and a three-day voting period. Hearings may be extended at the discretion of the Speaker of the European Council. Secretaries may be dismissed by their Commissioner or impeached by the European Council, and their term ends at the end of their Commissioner's term, or if their Commissioner should vacate their Office.
Change Section II, Clause I to the following:
I. The European Commission is charged with the duty of managing the Offices of the Premier Commissioner, Internal Affairs, and Foreign Affairs, as well as their subsequent duties.
Add the following change to Article IV, Section III, Clause II:
II. The European Court of Justice shall be elected by the European Council over a fourteen-day period. Nominations shall take place over the first seven days, and voting shall take place over the next seven days. In voting, Councillors rank in order of preference as many candidates as they wish. The five members of the European Court of Justice shall be elected under the Single Transferable Vote system, using the Hagenbach-Bischoff Quota; and from those five Justices, the Chief Justice shall be determined using the Alternative Vote system. Ties shall be determined in the same way as in elections to the European Commission. The new European Court of Justice shall be sworn in and replace the outgoing Court the next day.
“This is a constitutional amendment of significant importance, I don’t believe the Speaker will mind extending the debate. Although Councillor Stuart, you have been developing a penchant for arriving late”, Councillor Firoux said passive aggressively, teasing Councillor Stuart. Firoux had rather pathetically begged for a second date with Councillor Stuart, following the chocolate pudding disaster that had ruined his first one, and despite that Councillor Stuart agreed to come, she only arrived at his Europolis apartment 2 hours late. Nonetheless, Firoux was very glad that Councillor Stuart at least gave him a second chance.
“I knew we would come to a disagreement over whether the Premier should be chosen by national elections rather by the Council, and I’m sure the Council is very bored with my at-length explanations regarding this, so while I will reiterate my beliefs in a moment, I want to actually address your second point first.
Your amendments would essentially split the Commission into three different, completely separate offices. This will make the Commission far less effective, and utterly incohesive. By electing each office completely separately, the offices will not be accountable to one another and will disturb the balances between them. For one, the Premier will then essentially become nothing but a glorified Defence and Peacekeeping Commissioner, with no power or responsibilities over the Internal or Economics Offices, except for the sole fact that the Premier would be the one responsible for organising the meetings of the offices, and is, in words only, ‘first among equals’. Your amendments would really make the Internal Affairs Commissioner, by far, the most important and powerful role. The Premier would essentially play secretary to the Internal Affairs Commissioner, meanwhile the Foreign Affairs Commissioner would be completely far-off in the corner doing their own thing. Since each office will be filled separately, the Commissioners will have little incentive to work together with a unified agenda, and each will campaign with their own vision in mind, which may very well be counterproductive to the other offices. Just because we elect them together doesn’t mean they’ll want to play team together. We can look at almost every Commission ever elected as an example of this. We need a Commission that is co-operative and accountable to one another, with a clear leader in charge.
For this reason alone, I simply cannot support your amendments.
Now, as for the whole national elections discussion I’m not sure if we’ll ever come to an agreement, seeing as it is a discussion that is equally as philosophical as it is political. However, I still feel that it is an important point to stress. You describe the proposed election process as a ‘bizarro-world Electoral College’, but that’s already what we have. Each state gets one Councillor with one vote. That’s how it has always worked and this proposed amendment doesn’t change that. It just means that Councillors have to base their votes off the popular decision made by the people they’re supposed to be representing.
The Commission, according to our Constitution, should be promoting democracy, and it cannot do so without a popular and democratic mandate. In my belief, giving the Council this decision is not enough. The Council is itself not elected, and I’m sure the average European doesn’t have the slightest clue as to who their Councillor even is. So if we have total nobody Council choosing who their Commissioner should be, then we can expect even less people will know who their Commissioners are. This is why we see Commissioners often get disrespected, ignored and pushed out of conflict resolution discussions. People don’t know who they are, they didn’t choose them, and they quite frankly, don’t care about them. Just look at some of our previous Commission debates, and take note specifically of the questions coming out of the Duxburian Union. If the Commission is going to be taken seriously in Europe, then it has to have popular legitimacy first. Councillors can vote however they wish; they can trade votes for deals, or they can simply vote for whoever their best friend is. We’ve all seen it happen. Of course, under this proposal, the Council still gets to hold the Commission accountable, but it just means that the electorate will at least get a chance to decide who leads them.”
Who will be paying for all of these elections, including their oversight. The British people will not tolerate paying for more elections to bodies in Europolis that are ineffective.
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The three day extension the debate is granted, starting from now. Debate shall now end at 18:39 GMT, on 29/02/16.
Speaker John Walters
Who will be paying for all of these elections, including their oversight. The British people will not tolerate paying for more elections to bodies in Europolis that are ineffective.
As the British Councillor will undoubtedly know, given the work on the European budget, we are currently still running a massive surplus. If there is anything I should not worry about, it's the cost of elections, which I'm sure the EU can fund.
A surplus that is to have been returned this fiscal year back to our nations.
Indeed. However, I see no reason to expect why the surplus will in any way drastically decrease or cease to exist. If there is anything we need not worry about concerning this amendment, I think it would be the financing, and frankly, it is evidence of a lack of proper argument when one keeps banging on about it - nothing personal.
On behalf of the Microstate of Inquista, I vote FOR amendments VII and VIII, but AGAINST all other proposed amendments.
I amend my vote upon further consideration.
Icholasen last edited by
I vote AGAINST all of the proposed amendments.
Aalen last edited by
I vote AGAINST all proposed amendments.
I, Gisela Stuart, on behalf of the Apostolic Kingdom of Angleter, vote FOR all proposed amendments.
I'd also like to know what Cllrs. Firoux, Carlton-Romanov, and Khan have against grammar and consistency (Amendment VII) and making ECoJ elections the slightest bit workable (Amendment VIII).
On behalf of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos of Inimicus, I, Ralph Jaevons, vote FOR Cllr Stuart's Amendment VI, Amendment VII, and Amendment VIII.
I vote AGAINST all other amendments.
I, Iain Duncan Smith, on behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland vote FOR the amendments proposed by Cllr. Stuart.
Amendments VII and VIII have passed, while the others have been defeated.
On behalf of the Microstate of Inquista, I vote FOR this constitutional amendment.
Fremet last edited by
On behalf of the Federation of Fremet, I hereby vote FOR this amendment.