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“THE FUTURE OF EUROPE” POLICY PAPER BY THE THINK TANK 2013 OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT


The 7th Think Tank of the European Youth Parliament.

The European Youth Parliament - Schwarzkopf Foundation Sophienstrasse 28-29 – 10178 Berlin – Germany


POLICY PAPER - THINK TANK OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT

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“THE FUTURE OF EUROPE” BY THE THINK TANK OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT 2013 16 – 19 MAY 2013, BERLIN FOR THE ATTENTION OF MS VIVIANE REDING, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

SUPPORTED BY


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POLICY PAPER - THINK TANK OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT

“What would be a suitable alternative vision for the cooperation of European states and peoples?”

7TH THINK TANK OF EYP The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is one of the largest European platforms for raising awareness of European issues, intercultural dialogue and the promotion of active democratic citizenship among high school students in the 16-20 age group. It explicitly addresses not only Member States of the European Union but also accession candidates, associated and neighbouring countries. In November 2004, the EYP became a project of the Schwarzkopf Foundation – “Junges Europa” based in Berlin, Germany. EYP forms an educational project entirely tailored to the needs of young European citizens. Its network, currently spread over 41 countries, is almost wholly dependent upon the work of active young volunteers. With its international, regional and national sessions it reaches out to more than 20,000 young people all over Europe every year. In 2006, the EYP decided to create its own Think Tank series to offer the opportunity for active engagement to its alumni who are often outstanding students or successful young professionals in politics, business or academia. This year a group of 21 alumni from 12 different countries came together to draft their policy recommendation for a new institutional setup for Europe.

THINK TANK - AIMS AND OBJECTIVES a)

Strengthen the dialogue between young people and European decision-makers;

b)

Enable alumni of the European Youth Parliament to come together and to share and discuss their ideas on current issues of European politics;

c)

Give concrete policy recommendations to top political decision-makers.

This Think Tank of the European Youth Parliament is supported by


POLICY PAPER - THINK TANK OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT

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THE FUTURE OF EUROPE Recognising that the European Union is currently facing challenges that might make a change of the institutional framework necessary, the following topic was chosen for the work of the Think Tank: “The Future of Europe”: Re-thinking the entire institutional setting of “Europe”, what would be a suitable alternative vision for the cooperation of European states and peoples? What should be the political institutions of a future Europe and how should they look like?

THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE THINK TANK Márton Baranyi (HU), Annalisa Buscaini (IT), Christian Drews (DE), Kerstin Eckart (DE), Arnolds Eizenšmits (LV), Anastasiia Ianovytska (UA), Frosina Ilievska (MK), Karolina Kolenska (DE), Anar Kucera (CZ), Jorg Körner (DE), Angelika Maier (DE), Grzegorz Mroczkowski (PL), Jan Nedvídek (CZ), Alexios Nompilakis (GR), Mathilde Pascal (FR), Milda Šabunaite (LT), Monika Seidel (DE), Oleg Shymanskyi (UA), Natalia Vagena (GR), Ulrich Völker (DE) Chairperson of the Think Tank: Krista Simberg (FI)

WORKING METHOD AND CONSULTED EXPERT The opening lecture of the Think Tank was given by Dr. Christian Rauh of the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin on “Challenges of politicization - Future EU institutions in the light of a growing public conflict potential”. The lecture, followed by a discussion, highlighted a perspective that is often overseen, while also giving the participants some additional input on their work. In order to address the very broad topic for the Think Tank, the participants first defined their working procedure and topic. While the main parts of the discussion took place in one group, the participants were at several times split into several working groups. Every group focused on a specific sub-topic that they developed, after which the whole group drafted the policy paper that is presented below.


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POLICY PAPER - THINK TANK OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT

“The Think Tank decided to turn its vision into a tangible institutional framework. ”

REFLECTIONS The Think Tank decided that an appropriate starting point for the discussions would be the current situation in Europe including the institutional set up as it is at present. As for the interpretation of “Europe” itself, the Think Tank decided to consider the number of Member States as irrelevant for the sake of discussion. The Think Tank compiled a non-exhaustive list of values and priorities for the European project, which was kept in mind during its discussions. This includes the following, in no particular order: respect for human rights, democracy, liberty, solidarity of states, rule of law, equal treatment before the law, prosperity, sustainability, international presence, peace, accountability and transparency of institutions, diversity of cultures, cultural heritage, and security. Acknowledging the diverse opinions of the Think Tank participants with regard to the future of Europe and the mode of cooperation of the European states and peoples, the Think Tank decided to turn its vision into a tangible institutional framework. The practical arrangements of transition from the current system to the proposed one were not discussed.

INTEGRATION Within the Think Tank, the general opinions on the desirable level of integration of the European Union differed substantially. This was reflected in the debate on potential models of differentiated integration. While some members argued the Union can only stay intact if a common level of integration for all members is maintained, others proposed accommodating the potential for different levels of integration is of crucial importance for the continuation of the EU project. There was a range of opinions whether the model for the EU should go beyond an intergovernmental co-operation between states, and if so, how far the powers of the supranational level should reach. Consensus among the group was that the internal market was an area which should be kept fully integrated, whereas the ideas discussed for integrating other policy areas included models of full and equal integration, multi-speed integration and differentiations of the so-called à la carte model. An additional proposal was arranging any integration going beyond the internal market in bi- or multilateral agreements between states.

APPROACH As the disagreement was substantial on several points of the approach, given the time constraint no compromise on a common model could be reached by the Think Tank. Being aware of those differences the Think Tank focused its work on a model for an institutional framework applicable to different levels of integration. Furthermore, for the aforementioned reasons, no specific policy areas that would fall into this framework are outlined.


POLICY PAPER - THINK TANK OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT

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LEGISLATIVE BODY In order to empower the voice of the citizens while taking into account the perspectives and needs of the Member States, the legislative body, namely the European Parliament, will be composed of two chambers. The direct representation of European citizens will be guaranteed in the first chamber and the representation of Member States will be ensured in the second chamber. The first chamber is to be elected democratically by the European citizens in a free, general, equal, secret and direct ballot. The distribution of the European population should be reflected more proportionally. The second chamber is to be composed of representatives of the Member States who are nominated by the national governments and approved by the national parliaments. The second chamber replaces the Council of Ministers in its legislative capacity. All Member States have an equal number of representatives.

A PARLIAMENT WITH TWO CHAMBERS In the legislative process the principle of equal co-decision between both chambers is followed. Generally, simple majority is used in both chambers to decide upon legislative proposals. Both chambers have the right to initiate legislative proposals. The Think Tank is aware that the influence of the Member States with larger populations would now be decreased in the second chamber in comparison to the old Council of Ministers, as there will be no qualified majority voting in this chamber. The reasoning behind this is to ensure the principle of sovereign equality in the second chamber, where the Member States are directly represented. At the same time the actual proportion of the population will be considered more accurately in the first chamber, the organ directly representing the people. To ensure better transparency in the legislative process, plenary sessions in both chambers are public. The European Parliament will have a single seat and working place of both chambers in one city.

“The second chamber replaces the Council of Ministers in its legislative capacity. All Member States have an equal number of representatives�


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POLICY PAPER - THINK TANK OF THE EUROPEAN YOUTH PARLIAMENT

EXECUTIVE BODY According to the new institutional setting envisioned by the participants of the Think Tank, the European Commission becomes the only executive body within the structure of the European Union. It retains the right of initiating legislation and becomes the main agenda-setter of the European Union, replacing the European Council in this function. The Commission is led by the head of the Commission proposed by the first chamber and approved by the second chamber. Both decisions are made by a two-third majority in both chambers. The head of the Commission chooses the members of their college according to the number of policy areas as deemed appropriate. Commissioners are chosen according to a rotational system to ensure regular representation of all Member States in the executive body. No Member State can be represented by more than one Commissioner at the same time. The college has to be approved by a two-third majority vote in the two chambers of the European Parliament. It can be dissolved through a constructive vote of no-confidence, meaning that the first chamber has to suggest a new head in the process. Such a motion can be initiated by either chamber and has to receive a two-third majority in both chambers.

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION The head can dismiss and replace single members of their college if the two chambers agree according to the procedure mentioned above. The dismissed Commissioner must be replaced by someone of the same nationality with regard to the rotational system. The Commissioners consult their counterparts in national ministries on the implementation of the EU legislation if needed. These meetings are chaired by the Commissioner responsible for the field and have no legislative competence.


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“The European Council will lose the agenda-setting power”

OTHER BODIES EUROPEAN COUNCIL - an intergovernmental forum Keeping in mind the goal of the clear division of powers, the European Council will lose the agenda-setting power when it comes to the exclusive competences of the Union. As the forum of the Heads of States or Governments, it applies a multilateral approach and takes decisions in areas of national competence, such as Enlargement, and when revising or concluding Treaties.

CITIZENS’ INVOLVEMENT The Think Tank considered continuous involvement of citizens in European affairs important and therefore agreed that the European Citizens’ Initiative, as introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, should also be incorporated into the new institutional framework. In order to strengthen the tool, the Think Tank proposes to introduce an additional mechanism for European Citizens’ Initiatives that have collected a number of statements of support that is significantly larger than one million: these initiatives would oblige the Commission to submit a legislative proposal on the issue to the Parliament. Institutional Chart: European Commission Head

Agenda-setter* Executive body Initiates legislation

College of Commissioners

Approves

Consults

co-decide

Representatives more proportional according to the population size

II. chamber Representatives of states

* Sole legislator

Single workplace Initiates legislation

Elects

Elects

EU-citizens

*

# according to policy areas Max. 1 per country Rotation System

European Parliament

I. chamber

European Council

National Parliaments

National Governments

Intergovernmental forum Treaty changes Enlargement



EYP Think Tank 2013 - Policy Paper