It’s Time to Ask the People What They Think
07/09/2012 Deja un comentario
(…..) German democracy is suffering under Europe, while Europe is suffering under the national interests of the member states and lack of a sensible political structure. That is current state of democracy and Europe, foundations of postwar Germany. What direction should we take now? Does democracy take priority over Europe? Does Europe take priority over democracy? There is a way to avoid this conflict. Germans can reconcile their democracy with the European integration. To do that, they would need to be asked. Fundamentally, it is a good thing we have a representative democracy, people go to the polls and politicians make decisions between elections. They have the expertise and time to consider how society should best be organized. But sometimes we have to decide on really the big issues and then it is time to ask the people. The current crisis involves a really big question: Is the population prepared to transfer sovereignty to Europe so effective euro policies are possible? This doesn’t mean that we have to rewrite German constitution. It doesn’t mean we have to create a United States of Europe. For time being, it’s enough just to clarify the issue. From a legal perspective, it’s not very easy, but it’s possible. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Debate that would be held in the run-up to such a referendum would already be valuable in itself. Although the focus is fiscal policy, Germany would have to engage in a broader debate over what kind of Europe it wants and what its own role should be. The politicians would first have to make up their minds and then, assuming they make right decision, campaign for greater integration. But this time they would use modern arguments in favor of Europe, such as large shared culture, a greater say in global politics and favorable conditions for German exports. If politicians manage to convince the majority of the population, German government would have a mandate to campaign in Europe for greater integration in terms of the fiscal policy, in exchange for the relinquishing sovereignty. It would have a strong legitimization, a strong mandate for pro-integration policies. That would be the better scenario. The worse scenario, of course, would also be possible but it wouldn’t spell the end of Europe. EU has already survived a French referendum that rejected proposed European constitution. The German government could continue to work to help debt-stricken countries. This would be done in accordance with German budgetary law, which would not be weakened. No matter what happens, democracy is the winner in such a referendum. The cause of European integration could win, but it could also suffer a setback. But this way proper checks and balances are in place. After all, when push comes to shove, democracy ultimately has to come first.