A more democratic & effective EU: Stronger European Parliament
Despite being the most democratic EU institution, the European Parliament (EP) cannot propose any new legislation and has little say in such areas as taxation, healthcare, education, foreign policy and defence. While electing the European Commission’ President, the EP can only decide on a candidate first nominated by the member states.
In addition, many decisions that are outside of the EP’s area of responsibility must be adopted by the national governments in the Council by unanimity, effectively giving a veto power to each member state. In practice this means that important EU decisions related to e.g. the Union’s long-term budget, respect for the fundamental EU values or human rights sanctions tend to be ‘blocked’ by individual governments acting in their narrowly-defined interests. This often paralyses the EU, making it unable to address major contemporary issues swiftly and serve all its citizens well.
The EP should become the primary legislative chamber of the EU representing European citizens, enjoying full lawmaking and budgetary powers in all areas along with the right to propose new legislation and fully elect the European Commission’s head. The Council of the EU should be replaced by a second EU legislative chamber (a European Senate) representing the member states. In order to pass, any law would need a simple majority in both chambers, except important constitutional matters requiring qualified majority.