Parliamentary Democracy Unsuitable for Europe

The following was posted to my blog Ironies in the early days of my blogging against the EU, after my postings were no longer being accepted on the EU Futurum Forum on the Future of Europe, and the Financial Times FT Forum pages had become a home for less than serious debate over Europe. I reproduce it here,  after a reader visited my site from an EUtopia NoseMonkey blog which suggested he might have been an (the) original EU blogger. Very sadly the posting is even more relevant today than when first published, so it is reproduced on Orphans of Liberty during the normally, really quiet August holiday season, which is very busy, however, on Ironies Too, thanks to the ever-growing EU crisis, which causes less posts here from me than has become usual!.

Parliamentary Democracy Unsuitable for Europe

The article in the 25th February 2003 edition of the Financial Times to which the link above refers, concludes as follows:-


A popular compromise is for the Commission president to be elected by the European parliament. But this would be a first step towards a parliamentary form of government and, once in place, it would preclude evolution towards a presidential system.
In the short term it would be better to have the Commission president elected by an electoral college. Member states would then be free to choose how to appoint members to the college, whether by direct election or appointment by their parliaments. Over time, this arrangement could evolve into a fully fledged presidential system, as it did in the US in the first half of the 19th century.

The writers are professors of economics at Bocconi University in Milan and at the Graduate Institute for International Studies in Geneva and are research fellows of the Centre for Economic Policy Research


The early portion of the column casually discounts parliamentary democracy as being inappropriate for the EU.
Europe’s intellectuals continue their determined assault on the Continent’s democratic traditions and the drive towards tyranny continues apace.
Remember this quote from Professor Bertrand Badie’s paper entitled "The Nation State One Player Among Many"

"The advent of citizenship has conferred on the national political community the status of a community with voting rights. In the context of the 19th century, and in the major part of the 20th, this was necessary for forging and perfecting democracy. There is no choice today but to admit that national political communities have fewer and fewer voting rights because the major decisions are no longer taken by the national political communities. Some of them are taken by the European Union, or even at world level……..The national level will remain the citizen’s level, but his freedom of debate will become totally illusory."

Note, we are not just to lose our right to vote, but also the freedom to debate.

When will some of these political theorists explain why democracy, parliamentary or otherwise, is unsuitable for Europe? My very ability to type this page, which instantaneously becomes available to be read by every internet connected citizen across the globe, let alone just within the existing or proposed EU, makes that position a nonsense. From here, within minutes I can register a vote on countless different websites expressing my opinion on pretty much every subject under the sun. The technology exists all we lack is the will!

posted by Martin at 2/27/2003 05:07:00 PM

5 comments for “Parliamentary Democracy Unsuitable for Europe

  1. August 12, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I’ll have to come back to this Sunday.

  2. ivan
    August 12, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    A republic is the worst form of political control ever devised. It is based on the cult of one – one person with complete control and the ability to mess up big time, just look at the example of the US. Then to make matters worse every time the one changes so does the emphasis and direction of all politics.

    • August 13, 2011 at 6:06 am

      I’m not sure the US really counts as a republic anymore, or at least not the kind that they were probably intending it to be a couple of hundred years ago. It’s more a democracy with a president and some features that are more common in republics than democracies than a republic, but mostly a democracy. Look at the way they’ve been banging on the last few years about bringing democracy to other nations. I think that’s what they see themselves as and believe is the model for other nations, and I feel the flaws in it are the flaws of democracy rather than republicanism.

      By the way, I’m not saying that a republic is necessarily better or that returning to it would fix everything that’s wrong in the US – far from it. Cuba is a republic after all, so just being a republic is no guarantee of freedom. However, it’s at least possible to create a liberal/libertarian republic, while a liberal/libertarian democracy is doomed to become illiberal before long.

  3. August 12, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    I agree with Ivan. There are numerous things I dislike about our feudal/monarchy system but its one big redeeming feature is that it acts (or should)as a shackle to unfettered political power.

    • August 13, 2011 at 5:47 am

      Apart from the fact it’s so badly failed to do so, I might have agreed.

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