Jean Monnet Center at NYU School of Law


Weakened Democratisation and Renewed Nationalisation

In comparison with the present Union, Fischer's ideas about the European Federation imply both a weakening of the process of democratisation and a return to the strong representation of national governments. The present, directly elected European Parliament would be replaced by a chamber consisting of delegates of the national parliaments. Those familiar with the work load of the European representatives know that this type of solution would simply be impracticable: the considerable legislative work at the European level would place an additional burden upon the already overburdened national parliament members. Above all, however, through this indirect representation, European policy would suffer a considerable loss of legitimacy. Besides securing peace, one of the main motives of the expansion of the Union has always been, and will always be, to further the democratisation of Europe. It would thus be disquieting if this were relinquished at the highest European legislative level.

Fischer's model intensifies the role of nation-states: it especially gives their governments excessive weight in the decision-making system. In Fischer's model the "European Goverment" would consist of ministers from the member states or, as previously, of European Commissioners, who are appointed by the member states; the second chamber would either represent the member states with elected senators, as in the US senate, or with goverment representatives, as in the German Bundesrat; the first chamber would consist of members of the national parliaments, and in most European parliamentary systems the majority of members belong to the governing party in any case. Given the degree to which EU politics and EU law now affects the citizenry, an intergovernmental model of this sort no longer seems to be appropriate.



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