President of European Parliament proposes changes to accelerate slow decision-making in EU
Jerzy Buzek says Commission members should be chosen from among MEPs
The President of the European Parliament, former Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek is proposing radical changes to decision-making in the European Union.
During a visit to Finland, Buzek told Helsingin Sanomat on Tuesday that the European Commission should be chosen from among elected Members of the European Parliament.
Buzek feels that the EU is currently in a crisis of decision-making, and that a key problem is that the leaders of various countries are not promoting the interest of Europe as a whole, because as national players they lack the mandate to do so.
Consequently, Buzek feels that power should be shifted away from national governments, and more to the core of the EU.
“That is why the European Commission should be the government of our EU”, Buzek says.
He adds that members of the Commission should be chosen from among the members of the European Parliament. He says that this would mean that the commissioners would have the support of voters, and that the EU would become more democratic as a result.
Buzek also says that the President of the Commission should be chosen in a “free open election” of the 500 million EU citizens, which would give the Commission President a strong mandate from EU citizens.
He says that consideration could also be given to merging the posts of EU President and Commission President.
Buzek feels that slowness is the biggest problem in the EU decision-making system.
When citizens immediately get nearly the same information as the politicians, their reactions come in a matter of hours or days.
In such a situation, EU decision-making, which lasts months at the very least, cannot keep up to the pace.
Buzek feels that the EU can get a better grip on market forces by concentrating its decision-making.
This would mean common economic management and deeper political integration – the “road of greater independence”, Buzek says.
But does Buzek believe that the prime ministers of the various countries could voluntarily relinquish their power to the European Parliament and the Commission?
To answer the question, Buzek goes back to his own personal history.
When he served as Prime Minister of Poland, Buzek had to shut down 22 coal mines. This instantly led to 120,000 more unemployed, but the coal mining business became profitable.
“I lost the next election, but two years later I was elected to the European Parliament with the largest number of votes ever in Poland.”
“Politicians need to make tough decisions that are unpopular, and then wait”, Buzek says.
If politicians do not make the decisions the market will, he points out. He sees the fall of the Greek, Italian, and Spanish governments as evidence of this.
On Tuesday Jerzy Busek met with Eero Heinäluoma, the Speaker of the Finnish Parliament.
Heinäluoma said that Buzek’s proposals should be given open-minded consideration.
“It is apparent that new thinking is needed.”
President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek (EP website)