A Democratic Europe

October 22, 2000

Tony Blair said a series of far-reaching democratic reforms had to be agreed because the "citizens of Europe must feel that they own Europe, not that Europe owns them" He could start that reform process by changing the system by which we elect Members of the European Parliament.


The present system using a "Party closed list" on a regional basis strikes at the heart of democratic accountability. Without constituency representation the electorate is too remote for those elected to be accountable.


The "party list" means that those at the top of the lists produced by the Labour and Conservative Parties are virtually incapable of being thrown out by the electorate.
Because there are no by-elections when membership of the European Parliament ceases by death or resignation the next person on the list, who failed to secure the vote from the electorate, automatically replaces them.


So come on Mr. Blair, practise what you preach and put our own house in order before telling others in Europe what should be done.

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