CMV: The “unelected elite” in Brussels may be better at formulating sustainable European policies then short-term obsessed national politicians

Sun May 27 2018 15:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

completed

Oxford

Professor of International Relations

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Proposal

“Brussels”, that is the EU-Commission, is often accused of lacking democratic legitimacy.
Yet national electoral politics is almost always obsessed with short-term fixes
Incomplete integration is not the problem, unsustainable integration is
A chastened EU embracing the politics of time could set out to be the guardian of the long term for the sake of our children and theirs
Sustainable integration in this sense includes but is broader than the sustainability agenda of the UN
The EU could develop participatory mechanisms of all sorts
More formally it could enforce long term impact assessment filters for every EU decision, legal or political, to be debated and contested, assessment having to do with development and wealth, the environment and human security, risks posed by machines or cyber, and so forth

Believe it or not there is a silver lining of the EU’s democratic deficit: electoral democracies are short-term obsessed. So, the EU could be rejigged to provide an antidote to normal political obsession with the present – under the motto: It is urgent to act long term! Incomplete integration is not the problem, unsustainable integration is. A chastened EU embracing the politics of time could set out to be the guardian of the long term for the sake of our children and theirs, and for the sake of our peace of mind. A democracy with foresight. Sustainable integration in this sense includes but is broader than the sustainability agenda of the UN.
What this could mean is up for grabs. What do you think? The EU could develop participatory mechanisms of all sorts. More formally it could enforce long term impact assessment filters for every EU decision, legal or political, to be debated and contested, assessment having to do with development and wealth, the environment and human security, risks posed by machines or cyber, and so forth. If direct and virtual democracy can become vectors of popular discontent, it follows that radical new forms of democracy should live on the web too. The EU Parliament, Council and the Commission could also set up a body that coordinates these efforts and include scientific input.

Background Information

  • The principle of impact assessment of legislation/policies is, in general terms, already a declared part of EU-policy-making

    • The need to inform the public and stakeholders about “the likely consequences of projects, plans, policies and regulations” has been widely acknowledged within the EU
       

  • Still, it has been deemed necessary by Eu officials as well as commentators that ​ more people and stakeholders need to be involved in law-making procedures and the testing of legislature for effectiveness and suitability. In order to do so, a number of practical bodies and regulatory bodies have been created by EU institutions, including:

    • The Commission's Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) programme

    • Regulatory Scrutiny Board

    • Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and “Doing Less More Efficiently"
       

  • ​Additionally, the ​"Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on Better Law-Making" has been adopted

Read more

 

Better regulation: why and how

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-making-process/planning-and-proposing-law/better-regulation-why-and-how_en

Better regulation: Guidelines and toolbox
https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-making-process/planning-and-proposing-law/better-regulation-why-and-how/better-regulation-guidelines-and-toolbox_en

 

Impact Assessment of European Commission Policies

http://www.oecd.org/greengrowth/40033017.pdf

Regulatory Scrutiny Board
https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/rsb-report-2017_en.pdf

Debate Summary

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