Letter: Undemocratic? Not the EU!

PUBLISHED: 00:00 01 April 2018

Anti-Brexit campaigners protesting in Edinburgh. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Anti-Brexit campaigners protesting in Edinburgh. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The EU has more democratic checks than any other international structure we belong to.

EU legislation requires approval both of those directly elected MEPs and of the Council, composed of national ministers accountable to national parliaments.

The EU’s central administration, the Commission is headed by a team of Commissioners, each one nominated by the Prime Minister (or President) of their country. However, before taking office, they are each subject to a public hearing by the relevant committee of the European Parliament, at which they are cross-examined for three hours. Every time, some fail to pass this hurdle. Imagine if newly appointed ministers in our government were subject to a similar confirmation hearing: it would be revealing!

The President of the Commission is elected by the European Parliament on a proposal of the European Council. The proposal must reflect the outcome of the European parliamentary elections, and is made straight after them. This resembles the way in which, in our country, the Queen appoints a Prime Minister in function of the election results – but with the safeguard that there is actually an explicit vote.

Once in office, normally for the full five years between European parliament elections, the Commission remains accountable. Although not a very powerful body it can be dismissed by the Parliament in a vote of no-confidence at any moment. Commissioners regularly come before Parliament for questioning and debating, as they do before the ministers in the Council.

And as to the Court of Justice of the EU, it does not adopt laws, but settles disputes referred to it on the meaning of the laws already adopted. In the words of its former British President, it does not take political decisions, but sometimes has to remind politicians of the decisions they have taken”.

Richard Corbett MEP,

Labour Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire & Humber

• Send your letters for publication to letters@theneweuropean.co.uk

Malcolm Turner: Just how democratic is the EU?

Subscribe to The New European from just £1 for six editions

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Find out more

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are keeping up the pressure on politicians as Brexit rumbles on. Here is a list of the events organised across the UK in the coming weeks.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy