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M OTION FOR A R ESOLUTION BY T HE C OMMITTEE ON C ONSTITUTIONAL A FFAIRS I With the final race towards the 2014 European elections in full swing and voter turnout reaching historical lows, a debate on the decline in European democratic legitimacy has been omnipresent. How can the EU, together with its Member States, respond to the issue of an everdecreasing electorate and its institutional democratic deficit? Submitted by:

Olalla Benito (Hastings School, Madrid), Eulàlia Casas Turu (La Vall, Bellaterra), Adrià Castillo (I.E.S. Santiago Sobrequés, Girona), Ana Gabarda (IES La Serranía), Elvira Fonz Gutiérrez (Santa Rosa School, Huesca), Miguel Fuentes Montiu (Caxton College, Valencia), María Granero (Cambridge House), Hatice Izel Ayartepe (TR), Teresa Jordà Baleri (Saint George’s School, Girona), Genís Marfà (Collegi Montserrat), Zoe Vetsch (Mas Camarena, Valencia), Rebecca Smith (FR, Chairperson)

The European Youth Parliament, A. Defining democratic legitimacy of the European Union (EU) based on the following features: i)

participation of the EU citizens in European Parliament (EP) elections,

ii)

transparency of institutions and politicians,

iii)

correct functioning of the institutions,

B. Further defining the institutional democratic deficit in the EU as the absence of some legitimacy features in the institutions of the EU, for example low voter turnout, C. Concerned with the number of special legislative procedures in which the EP has comparatively less power than the other legislative bodies of the EU, D. Believing that the European Citizen’s Initiative1 requirements are too difficult to fulfil, E. Alarmed by governments of Member States attaching more importance to national interests than European ones, F.

Aware of the differences regarding voting procedures in the European elections across Member States,

G. Alarmed by the substantially decreased trust in the EU in recent years2, H. Realising that the EU’s institutional organisation is rarely understood by the general population, due to its complexity, I.

1. 1

Noting with regret a lack of European identity due to: i)

a lack of media coverage on pan-European issues, including but not limited to EP elections,

ii)

the people’s lack of awareness of the EU’s impact on their daily lives;

Calls for an Intergovernmental Conference to instigate a treaty change aiming to:

According to the Lisbon Treaty the EU should further enforce the use of direct democracy within its citizens. The European Citizens initiative allows one million EU citizens to call upon the European Commission to make a legislative proposal. 2 Comparison of results of the Eurobarometer from 2007 and 2012.


 

2.

a)

expand the scope of the ordinary legislative procedure to matters which are currently governed by special legislative procedures3,

b)

increase the number of policy areas that are subject to harmonisation;

Further calls for the change of the criteria required to pass a European’s Citizens Initiative by: a)

decreasing the amount of signatures needed from one million to seven hundred and fifty thousand,

b)

reducing the minimum number of countries from which the signatories have to be to three;

3.

Requests a review of the rules of procedure of the European Parliament to accommodate a faster legislative process;

4.

Recommends the Member States to standardise procedures of EP elections, for example the minimum age of candidates and the methods of election;

5.

Urges that recommendations made by OLAF4 pertaining to the eradication of corruption and fraud involving the EU budget be made binding;

6.

Encourages Member States to include topics on the functioning and institutional structure of the EU in their respective school curricula;

7.

Supports an increase of the budget for the EU’s means of mass communication, such as the online media campaign for the EP elections or Euronews;

8.

Further supports the Erasmus+ Program by increasing funding for projects related to political youth engagement and political education.

3

In the ordinary legislative procedure, the European Parliament is put on equal footing with the Council. In special legislative procedures, the European Parliament only has an advisory role. 4 OLAF is the European Anti-Fraud Office, which is part of the European Commission. As an administrative and investigative service, all it does is make recommendations on what action should be taken by the EU or national authorities following its investigations.


Resolution by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs I