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Procedure : 2023/2017(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A9-0249/2023

Texts tabled :

A9-0249/2023

Debates :

PV 14/09/2023 - 3
CRE 14/09/2023 - 3

Votes :

PV 14/09/2023 - 7.10
CRE 14/09/2023 - 7.10
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2023)0330

Verbatim report of proceedings
XML 78k
Thursday, 14 September 2023 - Strasbourg Revised edition

3. Parliamentarism, European citizenship and democracy (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Πρόεδρος. – Το πρώτο σημείο στην ημερήσια διάταξη είναι η συζήτηση επί της έκθεσης του κ. Mituța και του κ. Nienass, εξ ονόματος της Επιτροπής Συνταγματικών Υποθέσεων, με θέμα:

Κοινοβουλευτισμός, ευρωπαϊκή ιθαγένεια και δημοκρατία (2023/2017(INI)) (A9-0249/2023)

 
  
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  Alin Mituța, rapporteur. – Mr President, dear colleagues, yesterday, during the State of the Union, we listened to President von der Leyen speak about transformation and reform. But the loudest part of yesterday’s speech was the one that we didn’t hear, the one about citizens and democracy. One could say it was more like a State of the European Union bubble. It was a discussion between us, more Brussels people and Strasbourg people.

In order to transform the State of the Union we need to bring closer to the Union the citizens. And this is precisely the core objective of this report: to find ways of upgrading our European democracy and bringing the EU closer to its people. Indeed, our European democracy has been described by scholars in many ways, but actually few are positive. When people talk about the EU and its processes, they often think about ‘deficit’, ‘bureaucracy’, ‘impersonal’, ‘elitist’ or ‘something far away’. We even invented nice words to cover, I would say, our weaknesses, such as ‘failing forward’ or ‘sui generis model’.

While I’m the first to defend the EU, I’m also the first to point out to its weaknesses, because, yes, the EU is not perfect. The EU’s institutional architecture is not fit for the 21st century, and we must admit that. We still think in terms of unanimity and we allow singular governments to take over the EU agenda for selfish national interests. The system in place is one in which one Member State can decide for 26. Unanimity does not strengthen our weakest members, but it weakens us all. Every day you come to work in this House and we vote on laws, but we cannot initiate them. This is not how a real democracy works. So what we say in this report is that we should make the necessary changes so that the EU becomes a fully fledged democracy on its own account: not a sui generis democracy, not something that falls forward just as a matter of gravity or inertia. To achieve this, we need to put Parliament at the centre of our democracy system. We need to become an authentic, bicameral parliamentary system in which the Council becomes a genuine upper chamber. And very importantly, we must put an end to the practice of the European Council tasking the Commission or even the Parliament to do this or that. The Commission and the Parliament are not the Secretariat of the European Council.

On top of that, we must bring freshness in our European democracy. And I would say we need freshness in democracy in general. Because we not we have not refreshed and upgraded our democracy model for more than 150 years. We are no longer in the 1800s.

Citizens are not engaged in our democratic life because they feel that their voice is not heard. It’s not me who says that, but it’s almost every Eurobarometer. This is why what we propose is to empower the citizens to actively contribute to the democratic life of the Union. And not only every five years when we have elections, but every year. And for that reason, we propose to create the European Agora, which would empower the citizens to be more active in our democratic life.

 
  
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  Niklas Nienass, rapporteur. – Mr President, Commissioner, dear Alin, my dearest co-rapporteur on this, European society is changing.

My grandma was born in a village. She received her education there. She bore her children there. Her whole life was in this village. She almost never left it. She died there in the end. And that’s a few decades ago.

My mom was the first one of the family to fly to Paris on a plane that you could still smoke on. And when she announced that she would go and live in another city almost 100 km away – 88, to be quite frank – the whole town said she’s crazy. I mean this is insane, so far away.

And now I have been to four countries in the past week, in a night train – non-smoking, by the way – but this is completely normal now. Nowadays, young people tend to live much faster lives in different ages, different whereabouts in Europe.

The Internet allows us to connect and exchange ideas but also a lot of fake news. And nobody is bound anymore to one location to live in for the rest of the life, especially young people. They grow up in one town, get their education in another, vocational training in the next, Erasmus in between, and then find their love of their life and move, I don’t know, to another country to live there.

Democracy did not adapt to these changes. We still have a democratic system in which if you’re interested in your local politics, you’re required to be there for five years, commit yourself to the service and do that. But that’s really hard to do, especially for young people if they don’t even know what party they are attending tonight. Right? So they don’t know where they will be in the next five years. So we need to find ways to adapt to it.

Also, our European parliaments – I’m not talking about this one, I’m talking about all the national ones – they have sometimes less European exchange than a Call of Duty lobby. And European law has been made commonly, but still people are not talking to each other when they’re legislators.

At the same time, we are having Erasmus European solidarity, all these ways, creative Europe, to bring Europeans together, to create European exchanges, understandings and so on. And at the same time, when citizens move to a different country, their new home treats them as foreigners and makes it really hard to be somewhere: they’re not allowed to vote, they don’t get the easy access to social rights, and it’s really, really hard.

We try to address all of this in this report. First of all, for the democratic question, we had the idea to increase democracy, to extend it, not to exchange representative democracy, because it’s shown its value in the past, but to improve it by bringing it into fast-paced times, by giving citizens the possibility to give their ideas to have this exchange. And we know that it works because we use this very similar motive during the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Money cannot be a reason for less democracy, I have to say. So this is not a good reason. I also have to say, especially to the Commission, the proposal to include citizens in certain ways, in very precise and detailed questions, I think is the wrong extent because it’s endangering democracy. In the end, it will feed into the fact that they can’t really do anything about it. They have to really get into the details of it and, in the end, maybe their results are not being treated respectfully. So we need to change that.

Second point, we have talked about the parliaments and how we can bring them into exchange, how we can make sure that this globalisation, the Europeanisation of our legislation, is getting together.

And third, we have clearly defined what the European citizenship means and that means also an easier life through a common European administration and also more voting rights for citizens throughout Europe.

This is a path forward – an idea to bring our democracy to the 21st century. And I thank very much our shadows that we worked so closely together with.

 
  
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  Elisa Ferreira, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, honourable Members, rapporteurs Mr Mituța and Mr Nienass, in fact I’m honoured to be here today and I’m going to speak on behalf of Vice-President Jourová, thanking you for the opportunity to attend and participate in this important debate.

In fact, reinforcing European democracy and improving the exercise of European Union citizenship rights is essential for the Commission. As mentioned in our Communication in follow up to the Conference on the Future of Europe, we must put citizens at the heart of the European democracy. The outcome of the conference has created momentum for new initiatives responding to citizens’ proposals. The Commission has acted on close to 95% of the conference measures that are within the competence of the Commission in accordance with the Treaties.

Firstly, following up on the European Democracy Action Plan and the specific strategies for a Union of equality, we are working to ensure equal opportunities for all European citizens. To achieve this, democratic and electoral rights of all European citizens must be respected and properly implemented, both offline and online.

In our initiatives to promote democracy, the citizen, the voter, is always put first. We want to further empower the people so that they can make their democratic choices with the best knowledge and free from manipulation and interference.

Let me give you some concrete examples. As you know, the Commission proposed to update the current European Union rules on the rights of European Union mobile citizens to vote and stand in European Parliament and municipal elections. Together with you, we will also launch a communication campaign to increase the number of mobile European Union citizens voting in the 2024 European Parliament elections.

Then there is our legislative proposal on transparency and targeting of political advertising that will make it easier for the people to know who pays and for what, and how we are being targeted online. We are also working closely with Member States on what we call a guide of good electoral practice, addressing participation of citizens with disabilities in the electoral process, and the compendium of e-voting practices to foster inclusion and democratic participation in elections, including through easily accessible and friendly to use complementary voting methods.

On 23 and 24 October 2023, we will organise a high-level event on elections to help empower citizens to participate as voters and candidates in the democratic process in the run up to the 2024 elections to the European Parliament.

We are preparing our recommendations on inclusive and resilient electoral processes that aim to promote high standards on European elections and other elections at national level and also a recommendation aiming at enhancing the engagement of citizens and civil society in public policy-making processes. Strengthening the link between people and the democratic institutions that serve them is also key for our European democracy, whether at election time and beyond.

A new generation of European citizens’ panels is now a regular feature of the Commission’s policy-making process, strengthening citizen engagement and innovating and revitalising our democratic spaces. The citizens’ recommendations are gathered in a citizen’s report, which complements the Commission’s impact assessment and public consultations. We are also developing a revamped ‘Have your say’ portal, a one-stop shop for online citizens’ engagement, as a gateway for the Commission’s public online consultations.

More broadly, the Commission is also committed to continuing to improve the exercise of European Union citizenship rights. This year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of EU citizenship, we will launch a large communication campaign, including an onboarding package to inform new or young EU citizens – in an attractive and easy to understand way – about their rights as European citizens and to illustrate its benefits and opportunities for democratic engagement.

We will also adopt a new citizenship report by the end of 2023, in line with Article 25 of the TFEU, to showcase progress achieved around European citizenship since the adoption of the 2020 citizenship report. Many of these actions are achieving tangible results to advance the rights attached to the status of European citizenship. For instance, we are in the process of adopting the reviewed guidance on free movement of EU citizens and their families, which will ensure a more effective and uniform application of the free movement legislation across the EU.

We are also preparing a revision of the Consular Protection Directive to strengthen the right of EU citizens to consular protection, especially in crisis situations. The Commission intends to come forward with these different initiatives on European citizenship by the end of this year. I look forward to hearing your remarks.

 
  
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  Othmar Karas, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Frau Kommissarin, Herr Präsident, meine lieben Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Ja, die liberale Demokratie ist unter Druck geraten, außerhalb und innerhalb der Europäischen Union, durch äußere Einwirkungen, aber auch durch interne Fehlentwicklungen. Das ist mit ein Grund, warum wir uns heute mit der notwendigen Stärkung der liberalen parlamentarischen Demokratie auseinandersetzen. Ja, Friede, Freiheit und Demokratie sind nicht selbstverständlich. Sie sind kein Naturgesetz. Die Errungenschaften einer Generation können von der nächsten verloren werden.

Daher rufe ich uns allen zu: Stehen wir auf, wachen wir auf. Treten wir den Fehlentwicklungen entgegen, statt feige zur Tagesordnung überzugehen. Es geht um uns. Es geht um die europäische liberale Demokratie. Wir brauchen ein gemeinsames Verständnis, was wir unter dieser verstehen. Und wir brauchen den politischen Willen, dieses Bekenntnis auch täglich in unserer Arbeit umzusetzen.

Wir stellen daher ganz bewusst das Wort liberale Demokratie in den Mittelpunkt, weil ihre Gegner genau jene unterlaufen wollen. Wir bekräftigen die Parlamente als Herzstück der liberalen Demokratie, als direkt gewählte Kammern der Bürgerinnen und Bürger. Wir unterstreichen das Grundprinzip Gewalten- und Aufgabenteilung, repräsentative Demokratie, Präsenzparlament, freies Mandat und Eigenverantwortung.

Wir wollen mehr Tempo bei der Umsetzung der Ergebnisse der Konferenz zur Zukunft Europas machen. Wir fordern das Ende des Einstimmigkeitsprinzips und damit der Erpressbarkeit und der Blockaden. Und wir leisten einen Beitrag zur Charta, zur Rolle der Parlamente in einer funktionierenden liberalen Demokratie, die wir noch vor den EU-Wahlen europaweit vorstellen werden.

Gehen wir es an. Es ist nie zu spät.

 
  
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  Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, w imieniu grupy S&D. – Panie Przewodniczący! Sprawozdanie, o którym mówimy, zawiera szereg bardzo wartościowych propozycji. Chcę zwrócić szczególną uwagę na propozycję inicjowania przez Parlament Europejski ogólnoeuropejskich konsultacji z wykorzystaniem internetu do głosowania. Tego typu działanie Parlamentu nie wymagałoby zmian traktatowych. Koszty konsultacji byłyby znikome, a korzyści bardzo duże. Po odpowiedniej promocji i zainteresowaniu mediów Parlament, zadając Europejczykom ważne pytania sprawiłby, że miliony naszych obywateli miałyby poczucie udziału w decydowaniu o wspólnych sprawach. Rola Parlamentu stałaby się lepiej widoczna i zrozumiała. Stopniowo kształtowałaby się ponadpaństwowa europejska opinia publiczna. Oparte o te konsultacje działania Parlamentu Europejskiego zyskałyby niezwykle silny mandat polityczny. Byłoby bardzo dobrze, gdyby Parlament skorzystał z tego instrumentu jeszcze przed przyszłorocznymi wyborami.

 
  
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  Maite Pagazaurtundúa, en nombre del Grupo Renew. – Señor presidente, muchas gracias al ponente por este informe. Se ha dicho ya: estamos en una democracia liberal y, por tanto, somos ciudadanos. En este caso somos parlamentarios y no somos vasallos. Y por eso —por eso— es tan importante poner el foco en las reglas de juego. Y nos viene bien recordar el fundamento de nuestro sistema democrático y parlamentario para mejorarlo.

Destaca el informe que en una democracia, «los parlamentos deben formar parte de todos los procesos de toma de decisiones», por lo que los procedimientos legislativos por la vía rápida de urgencia deberían ser una minoría. Lamentablemente, los Ejecutivos están descollando últimamente con ese tipo de fórmulas. Así está ocurriendo de forma muy extraordinaria en mi país.

Hacemos este informe en un momento en que, paradójicamente despuntan los populismos y no solo los de derechas. La democracia liberal está en riesgo en este momento en que estamos intentando dar muchísimos más derechos y dar calidad a la actividad de los ciudadanos en el sistema político liberal. Así lo hemos visto, por ejemplo, en Israel. Así lo vemos en Hungría.

Se invocan mayorías parlamentarias para saltarse la igualdad ante la ley y para erosionar la libertad de conciencia. Porque los populistas identitarios creen estar por encima de la ley y de los derechos de los demás. Por eso, la clave es saber si les vamos a dar la razón, si un gobierno puede hacer que los responsables de delitos graves tengan impunidad y si pueden convertir, por tanto, todo lo que estamos intentando hacer en papel mojado. Es muy importante que defendamos también lo obvio.

 
  
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  Damian Boeselager, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, colleagues, I want to thank the rapporteurs for a strong draft and I want to agree with Mr Karas, the thing that the populists fear the most is a functioning parliamentary democracy.

And what is a parliamentary democracy? It’s not so complicated. If we were just 100 people in a room, we could potentially still decide together. But since we are many more millions of people, we delegate our power to a couple of people to take decisions. To be able to take decisions, meaning I can bring in new ideas. That’s the right of initiative. I can decide on the government that is actually governing these decisions that proposes new ideas. And I can decide about how the money is allocated, the cash, and that’s budget authority. You bring these three points in your report, and I think they’re very, very crucial.

In addition, I really like that you also look into what happens in between elections and there are good ideas of citizen participation that we can learn from. And it should also be clear that if I move to another EU country, I have the right to also participate in the democracy that is there – national elections, regional elections, and of course, the European elections.

 
  
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  Dominik Tarczyński, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, dear leftists, I’m very happy to take part in this debate about democracy in Europe. So let me give you some example of very major democracy in Poland, over 1 000 years of tradition of Polish nation.

Polish nation rejected you, dear leftists, eight times. Eight times in a row you have lost elections in Poland. So get used to it, because you’re going to lose again. That’s number one.

Let me give you some data about Poland and Polish democracy. The lowest unemployment in European Union is: Poland. The highest GDP after COVID in European Union is: Poland. One of the lowest debts in European Union is: Poland.

So don’t give us this rubbish about the need of educated immigration, as we heard yesterday. We don’t need your doctors. We don’t need your engineers. Take them all and pay for them. We don’t need them. You know why? Because there are zero terrorist attacks in Poland. Why? Because there is no illegal migration in Poland.

So don’t give me this look. Don’t give me these arguments about the populism, because this is a fact. This is your data, from Eurostat! So we don’t need your engineers. We don’t need your doctors. Take them. Do not teach us. Do not teach us about democracy, because we know what the democracy is. So learn from Poland. Be like Poland.

 
  
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  Πρόεδρος. – Επόμενος ομιλητής για την Ομάδα ID, ο κ. Lebreton.

Όλοι ακούγονται, όλοι κρίνονται. Ευτυχώς λόγω της κοινοβουλευτικής δημοκρατίας οι συνεδριάσεις μας είναι δημόσιες και όλες οι απόψεις αξιολογούνται. Δεν χρειάζονται αντιδράσεις από τους συναδέλφους.

 
  
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  Gilles Lebreton, au nom du groupe ID. – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, ce rapport, copiloté par un centriste de Renew et par un Vert, est totalement inacceptable. Sous prétexte d’améliorer les modalités de la démocratie européenne, il propose en effet d’accélérer la transformation de l’Union européenne en un État fédéral supranational. Son objectif majeur est de rétrograder le Conseil, dernier rempart de la souveraineté des États membres, en le transformant en une deuxième Chambre, autrement dit en une sorte de Sénat européen.

Le Parlement européen serait le grand bénéficiaire de cette réforme. Le rapport ne s’en cache pas, puisqu’il lui attribue des pouvoirs équivalents à ceux d’une assemblée nationale, comme par exemple un droit d’enquête et un droit d’initiative législative. Mais là encore, je ne suis pas d’accord, car c’est oublier un peu vite qu’une assemblée nationale n’a de sens que s’il existe une nation. Or, la nation européenne n’existe pas. Je veux donc rappeler solennellement à ce Parlement qu’il n’est pas une assemblée nationale, mais un simple organe délibérant d’une organisation internationale.

 
  
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  Tatjana Ždanoka (NI). – Mr President, colleagues, Commissioner, I’ll speak about European citizenship, which, to my regret, is still a simple derivative from Member States citizenship.

I'll start with a citation: ‘We do consider that EU citizenship based on residence should be the ultimate goal to make the European Union a genuine political community. The crucial reality of the enlarged EU is that among those covered by the term ‘third country nationals’ are half a million people who are not nationals of any state, being former citizens of a state which doesn’t exist anymore, the USSR. These people make 20 % of the population of Latvia, my country, and 9 % of Estonia.’

This is a fragment of the speech I made when considering the report on European citizenship in January 2006. If you think the situation of mass statelessness in the two EU Member States has been resolved since then, you are wrong. Moreover, the essential part of those people who changed their ‘alien’ status to the status of ‘citizens of Russia’, as the legal successor of the USSR, will receive in the nearest future the orders to leave Latvia.

So the EU has not succeeded in solving the problem of European citizenship in general either, and Brexit did not reach us, regrettably.

 
  
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  Paulo Rangel (PPE). – Mr President, Commissioner, dear colleagues, there are some good ideas in this report. This is quite good when we look at the reinforcement and strengthening of Parliament, legislative initiative, when we see that the Council should go to a second chamber. This is totally good. I’d say they are very good developments. Also there are very good ideas for citizen participation.

But this is a dangerous report because it can easily be misunderstood. There is a major constitutional mistake that we are doing all the time, when we say in a recital that Parliament should scrutinise the European Council. This makes no sense. Council and the European Council are totally democratic. They represent the Member States. And then you have Parliament that represents the peoples of the Union. And this should be very clear for us. The European Council is not undemocratic, it’s democratic, and when we accept this, we can reinforce Parliament’s presence.

When we say that European citizenship could be defined by another instance than the Member States, this is not acceptable. European citizenship is linked with national citizenship.

When we speak about referendums, about permanent agoras, there is the risk that we evolve from a representative democracy to a direct democracy. My dear friends, I understand very well your good intention, your good faith, but make no mistake, history has always taught us the first step to dictatorship is direct democracy. And when we are enhancing all the tools for direct democracy, you are creating the path for a dictatorship.

 
  
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  Domènec Ruiz Devesa (S&D). – Señor presidente, señora comisaria, veo que también dentro del Grupo popular hay distintas sensibilidades sobre esta materia, porque hemos oído al señor Karas y luego al señor Rangel. Era un poco distinto. Pero gracias, en cualquier caso, por la oportunidad.

Aunque me va a quitar tiempo del poco tiempo que tengo voy a empezar respondiendo al señor Lebreton, al que agradezco que siga en la Cámara, porque algunos de sus compañeros hablan y se van corriendo. Yo le pediría que dejara de hablar todo el rato del federalismo como una mala palabra. Yo aprovecho para decirle que soy el presidente, orgulloso, por cierto, de la Unión de Federalistas Europeos. Y, mire, la ideología del federalismo no ha causado los desastres de su ideología, que es el nacionalismo. De hecho, si usted relee la Declaración Schuman, dice que la CECA es el primer paso para una federación europea, es de 1950. Esa idea, ese ideal federal, nos ha dado 70 años de paz. El suyo, el del nacionalismo, nos dio todas las guerras que causaron los mayores desastres en Europa. Por tanto, convendría que dejara de utilizar eso con ánimo despectivo.

Ya no me queda mucho tiempo para hablar del informe, señor presidente, pero me parecía importante señalar lo anterior. En cuanto al informe, lo apoyo totalmente. Democracia representativa no es incompatible con democracia deliberativa o participativa. De hecho, una refuerza a la otra.

Y creo también que tenemos una gran oportunidad, como ha dicho el señor Cimoszewicz —aprovecho para felicitar a todos los ponentes—, para que, con una aplicación, como EU-DEM o EurHope, de los Jóvenes Federalistas Europeos, pudiéramos tener el portal único que se propone para las peticiones y las iniciativas ciudadanas y para las consultas en línea.

 
  
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  Laurence Farreng (Renew). – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, chers collègues, ce rapport sur le parlementarisme et la citoyenneté européenne est crucial. À la veille des élections européennes, il rappelle que ce Parlement est le cœur de la démocratie européenne. Il rappelle que nous, députés européens, représentons les citoyens directement.

Mais les citoyens le savent-ils? Comment leur donnons-nous les moyens de résister à la désinformation nationaliste, aux discours qui attaquent l’Union européenne, pourtant si protectrice au travers de chaque crise? La solution est dans ce rapport: c’est l’éducation civique européenne. C’est une nécessité. Comment savoir qu’on est citoyen européen si on ne connaît pas le fonctionnement de l’Union européenne ni ses valeurs fondamentales?

L’Éducation civique européenne, les citoyens nous l’ont d’ailleurs demandée directement lors de la Conférence pour l’avenir de l’Europe. Mais pour que chacun puisse accéder à un minimum d’éducation civique européenne dans chaque État membre, cela appelle à plus de compétences partagées en matière d’éducation, et c’est là encore un objectif de ce rapport: aller plus loin avec une réforme institutionnelle incluant la réouverture des traités pour une Europe encore plus efficace pour nos concitoyens.

 
  
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  Ladislav Ilčić (ECR). – Poštovana predsjedavajuća, poštovani kolege, prosječan izlazak na europske izbore je dvostruko manji od izlaska na nacionalne izbore.

Dakle, građani dvostruko manje vjeruju u demokraciju na europskoj razini, odnosno europska tijela imaju dvostruko manji demokratski legitimitet. I sada vi nacionalne predstavnike u Vijeću nazivate problematičnim i želite njima oduzeti jedan značajan utjecaj koji imaju, a dakle ti predstavnici imaju veći demokratski legitimitet, i taj utjecaj dati europskim tijelima koja imaju manji demokratski legitimitet, i to još nazivate demokratskim napretkom. Pa tko je tu lud ? Ovo izvješće je ustvari udarac na demokraciju.

I pozivate se na Konferenciju o budućnosti Europe. Pa to je potpuno izmanipulirani proces i iznad svega na potpuno nereprezentativnom uzorku. I to sad namećete iznad nacionalnih predstavnika koji imaju, ponavljam, dvostruko veći demokratski legitimitet. Dakle, jedna riječ je samo za ovo izvješće, a to je sramota.

 
  
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  Ivan David (ID). – Pane předsedající, naprosto zásadně protestuji proti pokračující snaze o likvidaci vlivu členských států na jejich vnitřní záležitosti a narušení demokratických principů, jakými jsou všeobecné, rovné a přímé volby do zastupitelských orgánů. Jde o zahraniční vměšování do voleb. Je zcela nepřijatelné, aby právo volit a být volen bylo založeno na pouhém faktu nahlášení trvalého bydliště bez ohledu na občanství státu, kde probíhají volby.

Občanství, státní příslušnost, je naprosto zásadní podmínkou demokratického rozhodování. Je nepřijatelné, aby o budoucnosti obce nebo země rozhodovali občané cizích zemí, kteří nesplnili podmínky získání občanství. Kolemjdoucí nebo hosté včetně nezvaných nesmějí rozhodovat o naší budoucnosti. Návrh včetně prosazovaného většinového hlasování v Evropské radě je důkazem úmyslu likvidovat zbytky svrchovanosti členských států Evropské unie.

 
  
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  Francesca Donato (NI). – Signor Presidente, signora Commissaria, onorevoli colleghi, l'Unione europea si pone di fronte al mondo come modello e baluardo di democrazia, arrivando a formulare ingiunzioni e irrogare sanzioni a chi non rispetta i suoi standard democratici. Ma in realtà c'è ancora tanta strada da fare perché l'Unione europea traduca il nobile ideale dei suoi padri fondatori in un sistema autenticamente e solidamente democratico.

Questa relazione va nella giusta direzione, puntando agli obiettivi essenziali, cioè dare al Parlamento europeo l'iniziativa legislativa, maggiore trasparenza e responsabilità per la Commissione e il Consiglio e i referendum europei. Una riforma del trattato in tal senso potrebbe dare all'Unione europea quella legittimità e credibilità che oggi non ha rispetto a molti dei suoi cittadini.

Il Consiglio dovrà dimostrare quanto crede nell'Unione europea e nella democrazia in questo processo. Altrimenti finirà, come nella canzone di De André, a dare buoni consigli dopo aver dato il cattivo esempio.

 
  
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  Salvatore De Meo (PPE). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, parlamentarismo, cittadinanza e democrazia: tre elementi interconnessi e vitali per l'Unione europea e per tutti i suoi Stati membri.

Le decisioni che prendiamo ogni giorno nelle istituzioni hanno un impatto diretto sulla vita dei cittadini. Per questo è necessario chiarire e rivendicare il nostro ruolo e il ruolo di tutti i parlamenti nazionali aprendo una riflessione sul funzionamento della democrazia in Europa e nelle sue istituzioni.

Dobbiamo incoraggiare la conoscenza dell'Unione europea e il senso di appartenenza ad essa, accrescendo il valore della cittadinanza europea, in modo che i cittadini conoscano chiaramente i loro diritti e doveri, promuovendo al contempo l'educazione civica europea. Questo non solo rafforzerà il senso di appartenenza all'Unione, ma anche la loro partecipazione alla vita democratica, anche in previsione delle prossime elezioni.

Alla luce della proposta di revisione dei trattati della commissione AFCO, chiedo al Consiglio e alla Commissione di aprire un dibattito serio sul futuro dell'Unione europea, in modo da dar seguito alla proposta dei cittadini e del Parlamento. Il futuro dell'Unione dipende dalla nostra capacità di promuovere questi tre valori e solo rendendo l'Europa più efficiente, riusciremo a garantire vera fiducia nelle istituzioni e, soprattutto, a far sentire i cittadini parte attiva di questo progetto, che è l'unica strada per affrontare le sfide presenti e future.

 
  
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  Mercedes Bresso (S&D). – Signor Presidente, signora Commissaria, onorevoli colleghi, la democrazia e la cittadinanza europea sono beni preziosi che non dobbiamo mai dare per scontati. Mai come in questo momento di guerra nel cuore dell'Europa ne abbiamo sentito la forza. Ci siamo arrivati attraverso passaggi lenti, spesso faticosi, ma il nostro cammino non è certo finito qui.

Abbiamo bisogno di migliorare e rafforzare la nostra democrazia, le sue pratiche, le sue istituzioni, a partire evidentemente dal Parlamento, a cui andrebbe riconosciuto il diritto di iniziativa legislativa. Dobbiamo strutturare anche esperienze di partecipazione dei cittadini europei, con meccanismi, magari anche permanenti, per il loro coinvolgimento.

La Conferenza sul futuro dell'Europa è stata un momento importante di partecipazione alle proposte e alle misure concrete che ne sono emerse abbiamo il dovere di dare un seguito, e per rafforzare la democrazia europea non possiamo pensare certo che tutto resti invariato. Come diceva il collega prima, abbiamo bisogno di una convenzione che lavori alla riforma dei trattati per un'Europa più democratica e più forte ma anche che apra di più ai cittadini europei.

Permettetemi una osservazione al collega Ilčić: non è vero che le istituzioni europee sono le ultime nella fiducia dei cittadini. Si vota di meno perché gli Stati non fanno promozione; però la fiducia nelle istituzioni europee è maggiore che nei parlamenti nazionali e nei governi, quindi vada a vedere meglio i sondaggi e i dati.

 
  
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  Ramona Strugariu (Renew). – Mr President, is Mr Tarczyński still in the room? I wanted to ask him if he still needs his salary paid by the money of the European citizens that he just insulted, or perhaps he’s ready to drop it.

Domnule președinte, le mulțumesc colegilor mei pentru acest raport fiindcă au pus pe masă o viziune pentru Europa și viitorul democrației pe care puțini avem curajul să o proiectăm, dar realitatea e una singură: populismul crește în Europa și, pentru că suntem departe de oameni, guverne, instituții, nu mai ajungem la ei. Nu sunt destul de implicați în decizii. Nu promovăm o cultură a transparenței și a dialogului. Dacă le explicăm, nu se mai nasc frici exploatate de extremism. Dacă suntem transparenți și corecți, nu mai există îndoieli și percepția că toți suntem corupți și la fel.

Populismul crește și în România din același motiv, iar răspunsul e unul singur: trebuie să ascultăm oamenii, să le livrăm ce le-am promis. Trebuie să știe ce facem și de ce – cu banii lor, cu energia lor bună, cu speranțele lor – și să nu le mai înșelăm așteptările. Dacă vrem democrație, uniune și valori, trebuie să ascultăm vocile celor care iubesc democrația și o apără. Tot lor trebuie să le dăm socoteală. E atât de simplu!

 
  
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  Beata Kempa (ECR). – Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Komisarz! Mieszkańcy Europy borykają się dzisiaj z olbrzymią inflacją, z uzależnieniem od rosyjskiego gazu, spowolnieniem gospodarczym, rosnącymi cenami kosztownej unijnej polityki klimatycznej. Tymczasem my zajmujemy się projektem europejskiego obywatelstwa.

Chcę powiedzieć, że nie ma czegoś takiego. Każdy z nas jest obywatelem swojego kraju. Te kraje tworzą Unię Europejską, bo tak wynika z traktatów. Nie można być obywatelem Unii Europejskiej, bo Unia Europejska nie jest państwem. Tym bardziej nie jest superpaństwem. Ten projekt jest szczególnie wrażliwy dla Polski. My przeżyliśmy taki projekt wtedy, kiedy byliśmy pod dyktatem Związku Socjalistycznych Republik Radzieckich. I to się bardzo źle skończyło.

Dzisiaj siła Unii powinna wynikać przede wszystkim ze współpracy państw narodowych. Dzisiaj te państwa – takie, które chcą współpracować – w zasadzie stawia się pod pręgierzem, i chcemy tego uniknąć. Parlament i Komisja, stosując różnego rodzaju – w moim kraju uważa się, że to są wręcz szantaże – tak naprawdę zamiast zajmować się realnymi problemami, walczą z suwerennym państwami, takimi jak Polska.

Ratunkiem dla Europy nie jest federalizm, a powrót do Europy narodów, do Europy silnych państw, a nie do kontynentu zdominowanego przez kraje starej Unii. Te zmiany, które są postulowane w Radzie, to nic innego jak powrót do idei, które nie chcielibyśmy, żeby w Polsce wróciły.

(Mówczyni zgodziła się odpowiedzieć na pytanie zadane przez podniesienie niebieskiej kartki)

 
  
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  Dacian Cioloş (Renew), întrebare adresată conform procedurii „cartonașului albastru”. – Domnule președinte, aș vrea să o întreb pe doamna Kempa cum vede dânsa statul-națiune polonez în Uniunea Europeană: cu sau fără libera circulație a cetățenilor? Cu sau fără libera circulație a mărfurilor și capitalurilor? Cu Schengen sau fără Schengen și cu, din nou, controale la frontieră? Cu dreptul tinerilor de a studia în alte țări din Uniunea Europeană sau fără acest drept? Cum? Cum vreți să împăcați și completa autodeterminare, dar și colaborarea cu celelalte țări, care oferă atâtea oportunități Poloniei, care a devenit un mare exportator de legume și de fructe, de exemplu, în Uniunea Europeană, de când e în Uniunea Europeană și nu mai e sută la sută stat-națiune?

 
  
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  Beata Kempa (ECR), odpowiedź na pytanie zadane przez podniesienie niebieskiej kartki. – Jak najbardziej zgadzam się z Panem. Jestem i byłam zawsze za członkostwem w Unii Europejskiej, bo brałam udział również w referendum przedakcesyjnym w Polsce i byłam zagorzałą zwolenniczką wejścia do Unii Europejskiej, ale jestem przeciwna dyktatowi i temu, co dzisiaj dzieje się z w stosunku do mojego kraju. My przestrzegamy wszelkich reguł, ale jesteśmy przeciwko nielegalnej imigracji. Będziemy bronić granic Unii Europejskiej przed hybrydowym atakiem Rosji i Białorusi, który ma w tej chwili miejsce na granicy nie tylko Polski, ale również Unii Europejskiej.

Trzeba nam wiedzieć, że tego typu projekty, które dzisiaj forsujecie, są forsowane w czasie, kiedy jesteśmy w okresie brutalnej wojny Rosji przeciwko Ukrainie. Nie można być naiwnym, przede wszystkim Unia Europejska nie może być naiwna i przestrzegać tych traktatów, które są, i wtedy wyjdziemy z tego kryzysu.

 
  
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  Πρόεδρος. – Πριν δώσω τον λόγο στην επόμενη ομιλήτρια, στην κ. Ponsatí, θα ήθελα να σας πω ότι στη διάρκεια των προηγούμενων ομιλητών δέχτηκα δύο αιτήματα για γαλάζια κάρτα από δύο συναδέλφους, τον κ. Boeselager και τον κ. Ilčić, οι οποίοι όμως είχαν μιλήσει προηγούμενα.

Επειδή έχουμε μια καθυστέρηση στην υλοποίηση του χρονοδιαγράμματος, επέλεξα να δίνω τον λόγο για γαλάζια κάρτα σε συναδέλφους που δεν είχαν την ευκαιρία να μιλήσουν και να καταθέσουν την άποψή τους. Παρακαλώ αυτό, και εσείς κύριε Boeselager και εσείς κύριε Ilčić, να το σεβαστείτε και να διευκολύνουμε τη συζήτηση.

Έτσι κι αλλιώς όλες οι απόψεις ακούγονται και υπάρχει ένα μεγάλο ενδιαφέρον απ’ όλους μας στην εξέλιξη αυτού του διαλόγου.

Κυρία Ponsatí, έχετε τον λόγο.

 
  
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  Clara Ponsatí Obiols (NI). – Mr President, representation is the core virtue of parliamentary democracy. But how can anyone take this Parliament’s duty to represent all European citizens seriously when so many European languages, so many millions of citizens, have their language still banned?

Well, now it seems that for contingent political necessities in Spain, the EU institutions will at last start discussing making Catalan, the language of 10 million and my constituency, perhaps an official language. However, immediately we hear voices that say, ‘Oh no, it’s too expensive’. Apparently a taxpayer in Barcelona must subsidise the translation of my speech into French or Swedish, but taxpayers in Paris or Stockholm should not pay to translate to Catalan.

Are there taxpayers with different rights in different places? Well, that is certainly not the argument, because the reason that has kept my language banned is not money, as every MEP who will be taking a chauffeur to go to a restaurant today knows. The reason that our languages are banned is to deny our voice and our rights.

(The speaker concluded in a non-official language)

 
  
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  Sven Simon (PPE). – Herr Präsident, meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren! Hier ist viel Kluges gesagt worden.

Ich will mal zwei Zitate herausgreifen. Das eine stammt von Herrn Kollegen Othmar Karas, der, wie ich finde, etwas sehr Kluges gesagt hat. Er hat gesagt: „Die Errungenschaften einer Generation können in der nächsten verloren gehen“, und das müssen wir immer im Kopf behalten. Ich werde immer eintreten für die liberale Demokratie. Und ich bin auch der Meinung, dass – in der Bewältigung der Pandemie – die liberale Demokratie unter Beweis gestellt hat, dass sie das überlegenere System ist gegenüber den autoritären Regimen, wie zum Beispiel in China, wo man die Leute viele, viele Monate mehr weggesperrt hat.

Dazu gehört allerdings auch, dass ich zutiefst davon überzeugt bin, dass die repräsentative, die parlamentarische Demokratie die Staatsform ist, mit der wir die besten Erfahrungen gemacht haben. Und deshalb müssen wir an verschiedenen Punkten vorsichtig sein. Das betrifft erstens die Bürgerbeteiligung. Natürlich kann man Bürger beteiligen und schlauer werden. Aber im Grunde rennen wir die ganze Zeit im Wahlkreis herum und beteiligen Bürger, deshalb Vorsicht. Zweitens: Bei der Krisenbewältigung haben wir es in Europa zu stark zugelassen, dass Entscheidungen getroffen wurden ohne Parlamentsbeteiligung.

Bei der Änderung der Geschäftsordnung gestern ist das freie Mandat und die parlamentarische Demokratie mit Füßen getreten worden. Sie wird geschwächt mit dem Quatsch, der da beschlossen worden ist. Und was wir auch nicht einfach so zulassen dürfen, ist, dass eine Kollegin sechs Monate weggesperrt wird, ohne dass die Immunität aufgehoben worden ist.

 
  
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  Victor Negrescu (S&D). – Domnule președinte, dragi colegi, avem nevoie să democratizăm accesul la informația cu caracter european. Trebuie să creștem nivelul de informare despre Uniunea Europeană, să le explicăm cetățenilor europeni care sunt drepturile și obligațiile lor, să îmbunătățim accesul la mecanismele democratice europene în așa fel încât să apropiem instituțiile europene de cetățeni. Europa trebuie să fie accesibilă peste tot, atât în capitalele europene, cât și în comunități mai mici, de exemplu, în satele din Munții Apuseni. Trebuie să fie accesibilă pentru cei cu venituri mari, dar și pentru cei cu posibilități financiare reduse.

Uniunea Europeană suntem noi și trebuie să redevină a noastră. Este singura cale pentru a evita ca antieuropenii și prorușii să câștige teren la viitoarele alegeri pentru Parlamentul European. În acest sens, împreună cu colegii mei din PES Activists România, am început o amplă campanie de informare despre modul în care funcționează Uniunea Europeană. Totodată, susțin în continuare necesitatea introducerii unor cursuri despre Uniunea Europeană în toate școlile din statele membre. Trebuie să arătăm importanța Parlamentului European și miza semnificativă a alegerilor din iunie 2024 pentru viitorul nostru comun și al cetățenilor pe care îi reprezentăm.

 
  
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  Michiel Hoogeveen (ECR). – Voorzitter, het trackrecord van de EU op het gebied van democratie is moeizaam te noemen. Een bekend voorbeeld is dat de uitkomsten van de referenda over de Europese grondwet werden genegeerd. Maar ook de Conferentie over de toekomst van Europa kwam tekort. Argeloze burgers werden door vooringenomen experts gestuurd naar een vooraf bepaalde uitkomst. En nu misbruiken mijn collega’s die uitkomst om te pleiten tégen het vetorecht voor lidstaten, vóór verdragswijzigingen, alsook stemrecht voor migranten – een thema waar onze collega Guy Verhofstadt ongetwijfeld nog goede herinneringen aan heeft.

Dit verslag herhaalt het bekende Sinterklaaslijstje van de drammende Eurofederalisten. Maar laat ik u uit uw droom helpen. Er is geen Europese demos. De bevolking wil geen verdragswijziging, want de meeste burgers willen niet meer macht naar Brussel, juist minder. Laat de EU zich richten op waar het wél meerwaarde biedt: vrijhandel. En stop toch eens met die sprookjes over een Verenigde Staten van Europa.

 
  
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  Ivan Vilibor Sinčić (NI). – Poštovani predsjedavajući, kolegice i kolege glasat ću protiv izvješća o parlamentarizmu, a sad ću vam reći i zašto ću glasati tako.

Ovo što ovdje piše je bahato i protiv interesa Hrvatske. U dijelu G stoji sljedeće: budući da je postojanost jednoglasnog odlučivanja u Vijeću postala de facto prepreka napretka europskog programa jer omogućuje jednoj vladi države članice da blokira donošenje odluka u Europskoj uniji. Pa, naravno, to je uopće i ideja prava veta, da se blokira štetna odluka. Hrvatska čini svega 0,8% stanovništva i 0,4% ekonomije Europske unije. Ako se pravo veta ukine zemlje poput Hrvatske postaju ništa drugo nego nebitne provincije koje će morati pokleknuti pod nadnacionalnim briselskim diktatom. Veto je jedina prava moć za zaustaviti nešto što je štetno za Hrvatsku. Ne pamtim da smo ovo prava ikada koristili jer imamo korumpiranu vladu ali ne smijemo ga se odreći.

Čak i u bivšoj državi, u Skupštini Jugoslavije, prema Ustavu iz ’74. republike i pokrajine imale su pravo veta na zakone a Brisel želi sada ovakvo pravo ukinuti. Ovakve ideje samo još pojačavaju veliki europski deficit demokracije. Pravo da onemogućimo odluku naše je pravo, naše je pravo i neće poduprijeti nikakvo relativiziranje ili ukidanje ili dokumente koji to podupiru.

Ako ipak dođe do tog ukidanja, Hrvatska više nema što raditi u ovoj organizaciji.

 
  
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  Mislav Kolakušić (NI). – Poštovani predsjedavajući, današnja Europska unija nije niti sjena onoga što je bila kada je osnivana.

Njezina temeljna ideja je bila da se države Europe ujedine, da imaju zajedničko tržište, da imaju zajedničke granice, da imaju zajedničke, slobodne i otvorene puteve. Što je danas Europa? Europa je danas, u kojoj se glumi neka demokracija, a svaki pokušaj demokracije u nacionalnim državama proziva se nacionalizmom.

Pa države i postoje zbog nacionalizma. Jedan kolega je rekao da je nacionalizam proizveo sve zlo. Drugi svjetski rat. Pa to je potpuna povijesna laž. Dovelo je do Drugog svjetskog rata, nacionalsocijalizam, a ne nacionalizam. Ta činjenica da je upravo socijalizam doveo do pogubljenja mnogih se želi prikriti lažnim činjenicama. Nacionalne države su izvor opstanka građana Europske unije i svake države pojedinačno.

Ne federaciji.

 
  
 

Παρεμβάσεις με τη διαδικασία catch the eye

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). – Mr President, this a very important discussion because we need to focus on where we are in terms of democracy, and particularly the European Union, which is too often attacked for its negatives and not praised often enough for its positives.

One thing I think we should really be focusing on more in the future is cooperation between national parliaments and the European Union, especially the European Parliament, because there’s too much of a divide even now.

We should also be trying to improve relations and cooperation with local politicians – county councillors, as we call them in Ireland – representing municipalities through the Committee of the Regions. There is no point in having in these parties if we do not work more closely with them.

Finally, in terms of creating European democracy and citizenship and awareness, I think we should be doing far more in facilitating young people to come to Europe by expanding Erasmus and ‘Meet your MEP’.

 
  
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  Maria Grapini (S&D). – Domnule președinte, doamnă comisar, stimați colegi, este clar, Uniunea Europeană are nevoie de reformare. Are nevoie de reformare pentru ca încrederea cetățenilor să fie la nivelul de care avem nevoie. Discursul doamnei președinte Ursula de ieri nu a ajuns la inima cetățenilor. A fost un laudatio personal. Nu a vorbit despre cetățeni. Nu a vorbit cum să facem să ajungă fapte și nu vorbe. Oamenii așteaptă concret să li se îmbunătățească viața și nu poți să ai dublu limbaj. Doamna președintă Ursula a lăudat România pentru buna practică la frontiere și, în același timp, România de 16 ani este ținută în afara spațiului Schengen. Nu se poate să spunem una și să facem alta.

Mai este o problemă: cred că faptul că un singur om poate bloca voturile a 26 nu înseamnă democrație. Lăsăm să zburde Austria, ipocrit, în spațiul Uniunii Europene, blocând piața internă, fragmentând piața internă și nu i se întâmplă nimic, deși Comisia are la îndemână, evident, tratatul și, atunci când un regulament este încălcat, trebuie să acționeze împotriva statului membru. De aceea, este nevoie ca Parlamentul European să poată să aibă inițiative. Este singurul Parlament din lume care nu are acest drept.

 
  
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  Barry Andrews (Renew). – Mr President, I want to take issue with the assertion of MEP Rangel that there is a link between direct democracy and dictatorship.

Ireland is the country with which I’m most familiar, and Ireland has more characteristics of direct democracy than any other EU Member State, I would say. First of all, we have real direct elections with no list system, and therefore no barrier between the voters and the elected representatives. Secondly, we have a tradition of citizens’ assemblies like the Agora proposal, which allows very difficult public policy issues to be solved through direct democracy. And thirdly, we’re the only EU Member State that is required to have referendums on Treaty change.

I would therefore say that it’s no coincidence that Ireland has the highest approval rating for EU membership and, I would argue also, the highest literacy about the EU and what it can do.

So we need to listen to each other, learn lessons from each other, and recognise that the health of European liberal democracy depends on the health of liberal democracy in the Member States.

 
  
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  Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D). – Señor presidente, comisaria Ferreira, ciudadanía y democracia. Escuchamos hablar de ello en un debate con la presidenta Von der Leyen, lamentablemente minado por intervenciones en español que, despreciando la agenda europea, solo tenían como obsesión denostar al Gobierno de España y a la Presidencia española.

Pero lo cierto es que ninguno de los grandes objetivos de profundización democrática, incluido el reconocimiento de la diversidad incluso lingüística, será practicable si no despejamos las dificultades del método de decisión y la regla de la unanimidad, con la consiguiente reforma de los Tratados. Y desde luego es el caso de la ampliación a una Unión Europea de hasta treinta y tres miembros de la que habló también la presidenta Von der Leyen.

Pero, además, le escuchamos decir que el Nuevo Pacto sobre Migración y Asilo es una combinación de soberanía, solidaridad y seguridad. Lo cierto es que la soberanía y la seguridad son las aspiraciones y las reivindicaciones de los Estados miembros, mientras que la solidaridad y la cohesión —no solamente entre Estados miembros, sino también solidaridad con los ciudadanos de terceros países que intentan llegar a la Unión Europea huyendo de la desesperación—, esas son el verdadero reto y esa es la cuenta pendiente no solo del Nuevo Pacto sobre Migración y Asilo, sino de la profundización democrática en la Unión Europea.

 
  
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  Dacian Cioloş (Renew). – Domnule președinte, Conferința pentru viitorul Europei a avut rolul de a ne deschide față de cetățeni, de care ne amintim o dată la cinci ani, când avem alegeri. Au venit mai multe idei de acolo, de la cetățeni. Acum, trebuie să le și punem în practică, pentru că e important să fluidizăm relația dintre cetățeni și decidenți în democrație. Altfel, riscăm ca democrația europeană să se erodeze în timp și să pierdem această legătură.

Dincolo de rapoarte și de documente, doamnă comisar, e important să luăm decizii, pentru că cetățenii așteaptă în primul rând decizii care să aibă un impact pozitiv asupra vieții lor și asta trebuie să facem împreună, inclusiv cu Consiliul. Nu mai putem admite ca un stat membru să blocheze 26 de state membre atunci când e vorba de o decizie legitimă, legală, morală și de bun simț și ceea ce facem până la sfârșitul acestui mandat trebuie să ne dea această posibilitate. Altfel, o să vorbim de extreme după alegerile din 2024 și proiectul european va fi un proiect în proprietatea extremelor.

 
  
 

(Τέλος παρεμβάσεων με τη διαδικασία catch the eye”)

 
  
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  Elisa Ferreira, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, honourable Members, rapporteurs, in fact, the importance of this debate is worth noting. So thank you very much for having this debate, and on the proposals, that are in fact very inspiring, represented by the report.

In fact, Europe’s strength lies in its unity, and this unity is based on our shared democratic values. European citizenship is one of the most significant achievements of the European project and is unique in the world.

As underlined in the European Democracy Action Plan, we should continue to work on promoting free and fair elections and strong democratic participation, supporting free and independent media, and countering disinformation. We should also continue to improve the exercise of European citizenship rights and civic engagement.

As indicated earlier, the Commission is currently working on many different actions supporting democracy and citizenship in Europe, which should bring tangible improvements. With your support, we will continue to look for ways to further improve these rights. We look forward to continuing to work with you on this multiplicity of files and dimensions of the discussion. Thank you very much – also in the name, of course, of Vice-President Jourová.

 
  
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  Niklas Nienass, rapporteur. – Mr President, thank you very much, everybody, for participating in this debate. It is a parliament. ‘Parliament’ derives from the word parlare and means talking. I wish that we would also include ‘listening’ to it, because a lot of Members who have spoken are not here anymore to listen, actually, to responses. However, I’ll still try to sum it up a little bit.

The liberal democracy – I think this is the part where we all agree – is in danger from outside and from the inside. It’s changing and we need to improve democracy in order to make sure that it’s still working. When people call for representative democracy to have showed the best experience in the past, that might be true, but we still need to understand that things need to change in order to conserve what we want to keep precious.

One of the main things I think the press and media and everybody is saying is that people are losing trust in democracy and losing trust in politicians, and so on. This is right, but the question is: how do we bring trust back?

You don’t bring trust back by just saying, ‘Give it to me’, but you have to trust others in order to be trusted. Trusting citizens means giving them the possibility to decide, giving them tangible things to do with their own power, with their own voice. We can do that. Commissioner, you know about my ideas about using the cohesion funding for exactly that: to give citizens the power to decide where to use funding in order to empower them and to gain trust in democracy. But we should also do it when it comes to legislation. That’s why we are seeing the benefit of including partial measures of direct democracy into our representative democracy.

Let me make sure that we’re not talking about referenda after referenda for everything. I think this is not wise, but to get the people in Agoras in a meaningful discussion – we have shown it in Ireland, we have shown it during the Conference on the Future of Europe that this works. It’s really good to build up trust, to make citizens feel noticed and make sure that they get involved in the political process.

One last problem I want to mention here – and this goes to the Presidency, sorry, but I have to say, if we’re discussing democracy and we’re not allowing for blue cards in a various manner, then there’s something very badly wrong with a parliament that does not listen. So please, the Presidency of this House should make sure that blue cards are always available and that time has been taken seriously in account that blue cards can also be used.

 
  
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  Alin Mituța, rapporteur. – Mr President, there have been many good ideas, but I want to mention only a couple of the ideas that were mentioned here. So the first one is that somehow citizens’ participation causes the fact that representative democracy weakens. It’s not real. This is not what we intend to transmit through this report, but the opposite.

It is not by chance that representative democracy and the trust in political institutions is the highest in Member States where these kind of citizens’ participation mechanisms exist already. And my colleague Barry Andrews already mentioned that in Ireland the trust in public institutions is greater because we have this this mechanism of public participation.

So our idea about creating this European Agora would follow up to the Conference on the Future of Europe, because, yes, we have to give an answer to the citizens. The citizens clearly said that they want to get involved more in the decisions of the Union. I think we need the citizens to get more involved in the decisions of the Union because we saw that they bring added value. They brought a lot of good ideas in the conference, such as competences on health, competences on education and so on.

So these are ideas that are very good for our European democracy, and I think we should be at least as courageous here in this House as the citizens were in the Conference on the Future of Europe. Thank you very much, and I wish to thank also my co-rapporteur, Niklas, and of course, the shadow rapporteurs and the Commission.

 
  
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  Πρόεδρος. – Αυτή η πολύ ενδιαφέρουσα συζήτηση έληξε. Διήρκεσε 25 λεπτά περισσότερο από τον προγραμματισμένο χρόνο, αλλά νομίζω ότι η σημασία της δικαιολογεί αυτήν την επέκταση του χρόνου.

Η ψηφοφορία θα διεξαχθεί σήμερα.

 
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