The Structure of a Federal European Parliament

Resolution submitted by: Political Commission 1: Institutional Affairs and Governance

 


JEF Europe,

• Viewing with deep concern the ongoing scepticism and reluctance with which citizens and governments across the European Member States regard the EU’s political integration process;

• Considering the importance of a parliament’s role in upholding the will of the people and representing their constituents on the political level by ensuring accountable and transparent governance;


• Bearing in mind the complexity of the legislative process in the EU and of the distance that some EU citizens feel toward their direct representatives;


• Highlighting the obscurity in decision making processes and operation of the European Council, the Council of the European Union and the Eurogroup;


• Stressing the need for a reform of the EU’s political institutions, in particular the EU’s legislative bodies, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, that oftentimes are unable to act in moments of disagreement between national governments;


• Reiterating its conviction that a federalist perspective, in line with JEF Europe’s principles as laid down in its political platform, can reinvigorate the public debate on European political integration;


• Having regard to the legislative initiative report “Reform of the Electoral Law of the European Union”, drafted by Danuta Huebner and Jo Leinen, which is still undergoing debate in the Council;


• Commending the work done by Elmar Brok and Mercedes Bresso on their report: “Improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty,” which outlines options to move political integration further while avoiding the process of treaty revision;


• Welcoming the report: “Possible evolutions and adjustments of the current institutional set up of the European Union,” drafted by Guy Verhofstadt that calls for a European convention to be initiated in 2017, the year of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome;


• Deplores the current institutional set up of the European Union which needs to be reformed in order to effectively overcome the challenges it is confronted with nowadays;


• Further stresses that for the European Union to be closer to its citizens, a reform of its institutions through a constitutional assembly that is inclusive toward the views of European citizens is of utmost importance;


• Underlines the need to re-launch the European Union’s political integration process with concrete proposals;


JEF Europe therefore,

• Proposes, building upon the provisions of JEF Europe’s political platform, the following structure and mandate for a Federal European Parliament:

a. The Federal European Parliament (FEP) shall be composed of two chambers, the first one being the Chamber of European Citizens and the second one the European Senate. The current Council of the European Union should be transformed into the European Senate and the current European Parliament into the Chamber of European Citizens. Both chambers shall have one permanent location determined by the respective institutions themselves.


b. The first chamber’s representatives shall be elected through a mixed proportional list system of one EU-wide list that is drawn up by the European political parties and one list for each national constituency drawn up by national parties. Citizens shall have two votes, one for the EU-wide list and one for the national list. The EU-wide list shall be constituted of 73 MEPs, replacing the current British MEPs, and leaving the distribution of MEPs from the EU27 unchanged, if applicable. 


c. Well in advance of the elections for the Chamber of European Citizens each list has to state clearly which EU political faction candidates will adhere to in order for the citizens to be able to make an informed voting decision. The membership in a faction should provide stability to the work of the Chamber. 


d. The second chamber’s senators, shall have the right to vote on behalf of the Member States in the Senate. The changing configuration of the Council of Ministers shall be replaced by the work in senate committees that shall correspond to the committees in the Chamber of European Citizens. 


e. Both chambers, as well as the European executive, shall retain the right to initiate legislation.


f. The Chamber of European Citizens has the task to elect the head of the European Executive. At the beginning of the electoral cycle for the Chamber each European political party may nominate one candidate for this post who will become the head of the EU-wide party list. Other candidates than the heads of the EU-wide list shall not be accepted by the Chamber for the post of heading the European Executive. The Chamber shall elect the head of the European Executive after the elections to the European Chamber of Citizens.


g. The head of the European Executives shall be responsible before the Chamber. They can initiate a vote of confidence in the Chamber of European Citizens in order to reaffirm their position. If they lose the confidence vote, the Chamber of European Citizens shall at the same time vote in favour of a new candidate to become the head of the European Executive.


h. The Senate and the Chamber together shall approve the Cabinet of Ministers proposed by the head of the European Executive.


i. Both chambers of the FEP shall co-operate closely with national and sub-national parliaments in the European Union’s Member States. Nonetheless, on European competencies the FEP has ultimate authority while the subsidiarity review mechanism shall remain in place, i.e. the power of a number of national parliaments to force both chambers of the FEP to reconsider the piece of legislation with regard to the principle of subsidiarity.


j. Both chambers shall strive to uphold standards of transparency and stakeholder involvement in order to create an open and easily accessible legislative process for all citizens.


• Requests that the European Parliament and the rapporteur Guy Verhofstadt include JEF Europe’s proposals and positions in its report “Possible evolutions and adjustments of the current institutional set up of the European Union”;


• Calls on the President of the European Council to define a road map in order to call for a constitutional assembly and thereby initiate a public discussion on further political integration in favour of designing a political Federation with a truly federal European Parliament.