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Being candidate in more than one country? Maybe. Being candidate in more than one country? Maybe.
by Newropeans-Magazine
2008-05-14 07:57:49
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The European Parliament, several months ago, adopted an encouraging report on a Commission proposal, which I consider a good first step for a «Europeanization» of the European elections. Let's go a step backwards, before explaining the proposal: what a situation do we have today? Where does the problem lie?

The European Parliament, several months ago, adopted an encouraging report on a Commission proposal, which I consider a good first step for a «Europeanization» of the European elections.

Let's go a step backwards, before explaining the proposal: what a situation do we have today? Where does the problem lie?

European elections are still organized nationally, with national parties/lists, national rules, national programmes (these elections are often improperly considered a kind of national mid-terms, or the occasion or a « revenge » after having lost on the legislative/administrative level...). So, nobody talks about Europe, nobody makes any serious proposal on that, nobody votes thinking European.

The media, obviously, take the big part in this game.

Actually, when you vote, you elect your national representatives in the Strasbourg Parliament, even if they have to step into a European political group (EPP, EPS, ELDR...).

The Parliament doesn't have a real legislative power (this is only partly corrected in the Lisbon Treaty): so, even if an MEP had any European idea, even if he/she found an agreement in the (really composite and fragmented) parliamentary group, even if a Parliament majority was found... It would be useless. Anyway, being elected as representatives of national parties, the MEPs don't have a real european mandate. They're simply not asked to think European, but to represent their country's interest (even if the Parliament's rules say it differently).

What Newropeans proposes is to have European parties, real European elections (with half of the Parliament elected from trans-European lists), and also European referenda on any Treaty reform or enlargement (and the absence of a referendum is the main reason to be against the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty).

So, Newropeans says a clear « no » to today's system, which is still based on the old inter-governmental model.

That's why Newropeans will take part in the 2009 EU elections. But how to do it, with today's rules, which allow anyone to be candidate in different electoral districts inside the country, but forbid to be simultaneously candidate in different countries?

Newropeans has recently built up national structures, even if the inside political debate (on the programme, reforms, proposals) remains strictly European, and will present separate lists of candidates in each member country, but everywhere with the same symbol and programme.

A good compromise, isn't it?

But now, something more could be made possible: the EU Parliament's report suggests, in fact, to «abolish the current prohibition on standing for election in more than one Member State ». Problem: it adds « provided that the country of residence permits multiple candidatures. ».

Which member State will allow it?

In fact, the EU rule - still to be approved, as the Commission had heavy doubts on it - has to be transposed into a national law.

In Italy, for example, here are some talks about modifying the current electoral system, imposing a (probably 4%) barrier for entering the EU Parliament. But nobody talks about multiple candidacies, and probably nobody wants them.

But why would it be good, if done? Take in count that many Europeans live in a Member State different from the country of origin. People with European experience and vision: they could be good candidates in both countries (origin+residence), and transform a national list (and a national debate) in something more European. Citizens could find more European names in their national lists. Today it happens, sometimes: you can choose if to be candidate in the country of origin, or the one you reside in. But in the 2004 elections, only 57 persons (of nearly 9.000 candidates) presented themselves in the country of residence, instead than the country of origin.

Obvious: it's really rare, to be elected if you present as a foreigner in a national list. That's why the double candidacy could help increasing the number of « European » candidates, giving them some more chances.

It's far from enough, but it's something: still not a step, but the shadow of a foot in air. You can say that something moves, at least: even if the giant's balance remains quite fragile.

Diego Malcangi
Milano - Italia
    
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Emanuel Paparella2008-05-14 18:17:24
Indeed, Signor Malcangi, when running for a political position in a different country is no longer a problem, then and only then the EU will have achieved a modicum of federalist political union and will be considered the United States of Europe. Till then, the union will unfortunately remain a pseudo-union, based on ephimeral common soccer games and a common bank. That, I dare say, is no sound basis for a genuine union.


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