EUDemsPlatform 1 of 8


A¡¡¡ance for Democracy ¡n the European Un¡on




Since the inception of European unification shortly after WWII, political action has been taken
from the top without the peoples’ full awareness of the extent of power transfer that occurred
in the process.

In parallel, rather than allowing for a clear debate over the political structure of unification, a
new political lexicon has been developed that distorted the reality behind the unification

This state of affairs has prevented the peoples' debate from distinguishing between, on the
one hand, several interstate and federative alternatives of cooperation that are governed only
by treaties, and, on the other hand, a centralised unitary state with a governing central
authority over which the citizens have no control.

EUDemsPlatform 2 of 8
Thus, treaty after treaty, starting with the ‘economic’ federalisation of the internal market,
European unification is passing through a process of supranational federalisation in the
direction of a centralised unitary State.

In the foreground of this distorted debate on the future of the European Union, we have the
politics of the right and the left interacting at a European level and drowning the democratic
voices of the citizens’ parliaments and assemblies within the European Union – voices that
should truly reflect the localised realities of the peoples’ lives.

We want to stop this erosion of democracy in Europe. We want a new agenda to be set: the
Citizens’ Agenda. We want to establish a genuinely democratic form of cooperation within
Europe – a cooperation where it is the citizens' agendas that matter.

Towards these aims, we will work for the highest degree of Democracy at all levels, keeping
in mind that every decision should be taken as close as possible to the citizens it would affect.


In today's politicised European Union there is a tendency to centralise decision-making. This
is a harmful tendency, since it means that we as individuals are losing the capacity to control
our own lives.

With more governing powers moving towards the centre, the diverse communities in the
Union are gradually losing their say over matters that affect the citizens’ lives. The current
development of European unification has now become a serious threat not only to
democracy, but also to flexibility and social creativity as the system is evolving into a
bureaucratic colossus.

Corrupt and inefficient institutions can only lead to an erosion of democracy and a decline in
the political legitimacy of the EU. Corruption also has a tendency to cause bureaucracies to
centralise all political forms of life.

We believe that the peoples of the European Union must be safeguarded against this
undemocratic process. This is done primarily by not allowing the Union’s central authority the
power to govern the member states and regions, collectively or individually. For the member
countries are governed by their elected representatives, and the governments they form are
already bound by the EU treaties. There is, therefore, no need for supranational governance.

We believe that decisions are best taken close to the citizens. We enter the political struggle
for the ‘future of Europe’ with the intention of preventing the continuous displacement of
power from our parliamentary democracies to the central authority of the Union.

EUDemsPlatform 3 of 8


Our vision of European cooperation is based on the principles of real subsidiarity and flexible
integration within an interstate framework.

With real subsidiarity we understand that political decisions are always taken at the lowest
possible levels at which effective decision-making is possible. This might seem like an
obvious expression of common sense, and almost all political groups express their
commitment to this principle.

However, in reality it works differently. New areas of competence are continuously added to
the EU agenda, with the consequence that, without ever asking the peoples in the European
Union, more and more power is transferred to the central authority in Brussels.

Flexible integration means that countries with shared interests in a given area can agree to
organise themselves for this purpose. This means that for such specific forms of cooperation
to materialise, there is no need to push them through the framework of the whole of the EU.

The EU can act as an essential tool, a means towards cooperation between all member
states, but this should only be when a particular form of cooperation is relevant to all
members. There is no need to make the EU the home of all intra-European cooperation. If an
issue is already handled in a different forum, like the Council of Europe, or it only affects
some of the member countries, then it does not need to become a collective EU issue.


The so-called 'Principle of Subsidiarity' has never worked properly in the EU. The true
meaning of subsidiarity – decision-making at the lowest possible levels – is not even clearly
captured in the official EU definition.

The reality has in fact been the complete opposite of subsidiarity. Today it is to a high degree
the EU system, and in particular the EU Commission, that decides what can be left to the
individual countries to decide upon. From the perspectives of the Union’s central authorities,
‘the Union does it better than the member states all the time’.

The rejected EU Constitution, which gives yet another meaning to subsidiarity, had indeed
proposed that the member states’ parliaments needed only to be informed of the proposals of
the EU Commission to legislate where it felt it had the competence to do so. And although
member countries would have had six weeks to make objections, the Commission would not
even have been obliged to recognise these objections.

This is neither subsidiarity nor democracy!

EUDemsPlatform 4 of 8

Today, more and more decisions are being taken by EU officials far away from the citizens.
The limited influence of a few politicians in the European Parliament is not enough to consider
this process as democratic.

The momentum of this centralising process seems to be unstoppable and self-propelling,
even after the rejection of the proposed EU Constitution by the people of France and the
Netherlands. Indeed, the Union today already possesses enough elements of power to
enable it to self-empower – most notably by means of the principle of primacy of EU law, as
well as the European courts of justice, which have transferred power to the Union even when
unanimous consent is required by member states.

In other words, the Union already has a political life of its own and the direction it will take
depends very little on what the citizens say. Subsidiarity has become a remnant of the past,
and it is not being given a chance for the future.

The Principle of Subsidiarity must be taken seriously.

Instead of today’s political ‘black hole’ we want to see a form of European cooperation that
only deals with the truly cross-border issues – problems that the member countries cannot
handle efficiently on their own. They should, however, not be problems that are of such global
character that they could be dealt with by global organisations, such as the UN.

We want to take the Principle of Subsidiarity literally. It should be up to the individual
countries to decide at which level decisions should be made. What can be solved at member
state or regional level should never be dictated by the Union’s central authorities through EU

This means that we want a European cooperation framework that limits itself to administering
and protecting the internal market – the four freedoms of movement – as well as the
environment and the inhabitants of the member states, but not to govern the member
countries and regions from the central authority of the Union.

We therefore accept agreed levels of harmonised legislation on cross-border issues, in
particular questions on trade and the environment. But we are clear that the responsibility for
legislation lies with the peoples’ parliaments and assemblies in member states, to the extent
of harmonisation agreed upon.


Diversity is in itself a source of wealth within the EU, yet without flexibility it cannot survive.
The one-size-fits-all principle is the nemesis of diversity and presents the onset of
homogenisation and uniformity.

EUDemsPlatform 5 of 8

In this context, we see the main objective of the EU as being to ensure an efficient internal
market where the “four freedoms” allow for ‘social unification’ to evolve organically, while at
the same time allowing for flexibility and differences to sustain life in each state and region. In
other words, the “four freedoms” are governed by the individual member states to the extents
agreed upon through treaties; the internal market should not be governed by the EU central

The EU should not try to force through policy areas that are not fit at the European level.
These areas principally include military cooperation outside the sphere of the UN or similar
organisations, the single currency, the criminal justice system, as well as the harmonisation of
educational policies.

If countries wish to cooperate in these areas they should be allowed to do so, but this would
by no means stipulate that others should be forced to participate. Moreover, the cooperating
countries cannot expect to utilise the EU’s name and institutions for such purposes without
the consent of all member states. The EU’s name and institutions pertain to all the member
states and any usurpation would result in nothing but “hijacking” the centre. A two-tier EU with
a central core that dominates the outer zone is not cooperation, but domination and coercion.

A flexible form of European cooperation, where it is possible for a country to participate in
selected areas of cooperation while not participating in others, would also help us to distance
ourselves from the formation of a unitary EU State, which is only a step further from a
supranational federation.

This type of flexible, interstate European Union would shift the focus to a more open and
democratic form of European cooperation among free states.


The harmonisation of several criminal justice systems in the EU is one thing; the creation of a
single EU criminal justice system is quite a different matter.

Harmonisation and standardisation, to the extents necessary, are essential in the pursuit of
cross-border crime. But we believe that policing and criminal justice affairs are best taken
care of by the local authorities, just as terrorist bombing investigations are best tackled by the
enforcement agencies that best know their own localities.

Europol should never be a federal police force, but strictly a coordinating centre. Likewise, a
European prosecution authority is not required once warrants of arrest are coordinated
among various enforcement agencies with standardised legal procedures and channels
established for cross-border crimes.

EUDemsPlatform 6 of 8
In the pursuit of security and cross-border crimes, such as terrorism and organised trans-
national crime, the EU central authority should act as a harmonising element and a liaison
agency that facilities cooperation between various police forces acting under similar laws and
harmonised legal and intelligence-sharing procedures relating to serious and cross-border

Given that European standards of civil liberties and human rights are protected under the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, the
enactment and enforcement of criminal legislation, together with civil codes, should remain
under the democratic control of the peoples’ parliaments and assemblies in each individual
member state and region.

For it is when the people lose their democratic control over their criminal and civil codes, that
they also lose the safeguards to their civil liberties and social well being. Supranational police
and prosecution forces are a serious threat to the civil liberties of the citizens of member
states and regions.

We will not participate in the construction of a "Fortress Europe" with a supranationally
controlled border under a supranational criminal justice system. These monolithic actions do
nothing for the people to live in peace, liberty and prosperity, especially when the perceived
benefits of such supranational actions are acquirable through a cooperation framework of free
states sharing a single market.


We reject the creation of a European army. This in an example of an issue to which the
principle of flexible integration can be applied.

It is not proper to force a military cooperation framework across the whole of the EU,
especially since countries have joined for totally different reasons. This leads to conflicts
between the member states, since EU legitimacy and support is bound to decline in those
countries where the people are opposed to certain military expeditions.

As well as possibly protecting the citizens of member states, a European military force with
one common foreign voice could also wage wars and bring devastation on the peoples’ lives.

A voluntary alliance of member states that wish to cooperate in building up a defence system
is a different matter. If some EU countries want to cooperate militarily, such as NATO, they
should do so from outside the institutions of the EU. This would allow the possibility for each
member state to pursue its own role in order to strive for peace with neighbouring and far-
away countries for the benefit of the whole Union. It would allow for neutral countries to
contribute towards EU-World relations. This is only possible as long as the EU does not
become a military power, which is a power based on the existence of wars.

EUDemsPlatform 7 of 8


The EU belongs to the citizens not to the functionaries in the EU institutions. In order to
ensure that the democratic will of the citizens is safeguarded, the workings of the central
authorities need to be under continuous scrutiny.

We will work for an improved right-of-access principle to be applied to all EU institutions,
thereby creating the transparency that is clearly needed in order to sustain democratic control
over the system.

Less financial support and better control
The massive number of fraud cases across the Union indicates a serious flaw in the system.
The numerous systems of subsidies encourage fraud and embezzlement. By limiting the
areas under EU control, there would not only be more subsidiarity, but also fever
opportunities for fraud.



In the immediate political context, we support the following seven proposals in the European
Parliament for a better European cooperation framework:

1. Cooperation agreement instead of constitution

The constitution is dead. Instead of a complicated constitution or the Nice Treaty with specific primacy
over the member states’ constitutions, we want a cooperation agreement (of around 50 articles on no
more than 20 pages). Countries that do not wish to join the cooperation agreement can choose a free
trade agreement instead.

The European Council should establish a working group with equal numbers of supporters and
opponents of the Constitution in order to propose a set of rules that are flexible enough to unite
Europe and not divide it, as has happened with the Constitution.

2. Openness and transparency as the main rule

Openness and full access to documents should be the main rule. Any exceptions should be approved
with 75 % support. The Ombudsman, the Court of Auditors and the EU Parliament should be able to
control all expenditures.

EUDemsPlatform 8 of 8
3. Commissioners should be elected and could be fired

The commissioners should be elected by – and accountable to – the citizens in every country. Every
country should elect its own commissioner and hold him/her responsible for the voting in the
Commission. The administration of the European portfolio should be controlled by the EU Parliament,
the Council of Ministers, the Ombudsman, the Court of Auditors and the EU Court.

4. Seventy five percent majority in the Council with the right to veto

Laws are to be adopted with unanimity or a 75 % majority among the member states (representing 50
% of the population) and ordinary majority in the EU Parliament. There should be the opportunity for
veto, when a national Parliament votes against a proposal for EU law and requests the prime minister
to bring up the case at the next summit.

5. Subsidiarity principle controlled from the bottom upwards

The subsidiarity principle is to be controlled by the national parliaments. The existing 100,000 pages of
legislation are to be revised critically, and the main parts should be eliminated or sent back to the
jurisdiction of the member states.

6. Greater flexibility and minimum conditions

Laws should be approved as a common set of minimum standards giving the member states more
flexibility and possibility to have a higher level of protection of security, health, environment, working
conditions, social conditions and consumer protection.

7. Enhanced cooperation instead of compulsory union

Foreign and security policy, the euro cooperation and the rules of law should not be an obligatory part
of the cooperation but can be transferred to an enhanced cooperation if desired by the individual
countries. Defence should be completely separated from the Union. Any enhanced cooperation should
not usurp the name or the institutions of the European Union unless all 25 member states consent to
such action.


Adopted in Brussels on 8 November 2005