A BIG step towards a federal Europe? (ft. UEF)

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A new way to elect the EU president? No more VETO voting? The European Parliament has set the stage for a potential seismic …
The EU is undemocratic. The EU is too slow.  The EU is too bureaucratic. These are some of the most common accusations  people have against the EU! And they are   not all wrong. Firstly, the EU’s election  process for its 'presidents’ isn’t clear,  

And yes, there are multiple roles with  that title. This has caused confusion,   leading to the saying, “Who do I  call, if I want to call Europe?   Emphasising the uncertainty about  who truly leads the organisation. Furthermore, EU decision-making can indeed  be slow. For example, since September 2020,  

Member states have been trying to agree on  a Migration and Asylum policy. And despite   the efforts, it has not yet passed, with  all 27 countries having different views. Additionally, the bureaucracy in the EU  is infamous for its extensive regulations,   which some argue stifle  innovation and flexibility. But is this all about to change?

Two years ago, during the Conference  on the Future of Europe, EU citizens   demanded comprehensive EU reform.  Today, a pivotal reform proposal   is finally set to be debated in the European  parliament on the 20th to 23rd of November. Here at EU Made Simple, we’re  buzzing with excitement. We’ve  

Always been vocal about the nitty-gritty  challenges the European Union faces,   from how we elect our president, to the  constant hurdle of country vetoes. And   guess what? This fresh proposal could be  the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for. This video will unravel the three big highlights  

Of this groundbreaking proposal and  give you an idea of the road ahead. The first big shift in this proposal?  Reshaping the EU institutions by giving   the Parliament and the Council of  the EU equal power in decision-making Let me explain: The EU currently has 3 major  institutions in the law-making process.

Firstly, the European Commission, think of  it as the EU’s idea factory, where fresh   EU law proposals are born, with a president,  currently Ursula von der Leyen, at the helm. Secondly, there’s the European Parliament, which  is essentially our voice in the EU. We elect its  

Members, and they’re responsible for discussing,  tweaking, and voting on those law ideas. Thirdly, we have the Council of the EU. Picture  it as an elite club where each EU country is   represented by a minister. They too have a  say, diving into debates and casting their  

Votes on the proposals. For any new law to  make the cut, both the Parliament and the   Council need to be on board. On key decisions,  however, the Council plays the main role,   while the Parliament is only asked to give an  opinion or approve what was already decided.

Obviously this is a super quick  overview with a lot of simplification,   so if you would like more detail, check out  my playlist on “The European Union Explained”.  So, what are the proposed changes? Let’s start with the EU Commission. Today, the EU Commission has 27  commissioners, one for each country,  

Including 1 president, called the President  of the European Commission. In the proposal,   the EU Commission will get a sleeker  look, with a new name “Executive”,   only 15 commissioners and name change for the  president to “President of the Union.” The  

President gets to handpick their team, as long  as it is geographical and demographic balanced. Next there is the EU Parliament. Today, the EU Parliament has limited power:  it can’t propose new laws and has a minimal   role in choosing the Commission President. However, the proposal empowers the European  

Parliament, granting it the authority to  finally propose new laws in tandem with   the commission. Furthermore, the European  parliament would also get more say in the   election of the Commission President, as they will  be granted the ability to nominate the candidate. This would mark a pivotal shift. Currently,  the European Commission president is selected  

Behind closed doors by the 27 EU leaders. Critics  have questioned how democratic this process is,   and allowing more involvement of the  parliament will make this process more   transparent. The EU leaders will  not be left out completely though,   as they still need to approve the  nomination by a qualified majority.

With the new proposal the parliament  would also be granted the power to   remove individual commissioners or the entire  commission through a simple majority. Today,   it is only possible to dismiss the entire  commission all at once with a two thirds majority. 

Finally the Parliament will gain the same  power of the Council as they will co-decide   on all key EU policies. The EU will then have  a bicameral system – where the Parliament will   be the chamber of the citizens, and the  Council will be the chamber of States.

Next there is the Council of the EU Today, the Council of the EU has significant  power, particularly in fields like defence,   foreign policy, and fiscal matters,  thanks to each country’s veto power.  One of the standout features in the proposal,  and honestly one of my personal favourites,  

Is the idea to scrap vetoes entirely. Instead,  Qualified Majority Voting, also called QMV,   would be used. With QMV, decisions require  the agreement of 55% of member states,   representing at least 65% of the EU’s  population, instead of unanimous approval.

In my opinion, this would be a huge win for  Europe. With leaders like Orban and potentially   Fico from Slovakia, the veto currently lets a  single country hold the whole of the EU hostage. I touched on 3 institutions earlier, but there’s  a 4th impacted by this proposal. Actually,  

The EU boasts 7 institutions, but for this video,   we’ll focus on these 4. Kudos to anyone who can  list all 7 in the comments, without cheating! So, the 4th key player is the European  Council, made up of EU country leaders,   alongside a president, steering the EU’s  overarching strategies. The proposal plans  

To lessen its decision power, putting the  new „President of the Union” in charge,   the same president as the European  Commission we discussed earlier,   meaning there would be 1 president in  leading the commission and European Council. Interestingly, the proposal also outlines  plans for EU-wide referendums on big issues,  

Allowing citizens to have more say. How these  votes would work though is still up in the air. That wraps up the first major reform  focus. Here at „EU Made Simple”,   we’re big fans of this direction, especially the  emphasis on electing the president and ditching  

The VETOs. It tackles two core EU challenges: the  democratic gap and the pace of decision-making. The proposed reform’s second focus  is widening the Union’s competencies,   in other words: widening the EU’s areas of action. But what does that mean?

Competencies outline who does what between the EU  and its Member States and are grouped into various   types. Firstly, Exclusive Competences: Only the  EU can make laws in these areas. For example,   they decide on customs duties or monetary policy  for countries using the Euro. Secondly, Shared  

Competences: Both the EU and its member countries  can make decisions. Think of this as teamwork in   areas like the environment and energy. Supporting  Competences: Here, the EU can assist member   countries but can’t overrule them. This happens  in sectors like culture or education. There’s also  

A special category called „special competences”  which covers unique cases, such as foreign policy,   but the main three types give a good overview  of how decision-making is distributed. Today, the EU and member states jointly address  environmental and biodiversity issues. The new  

Proposal seeks to give the EU sole authority in  these areas, allowing for bold goals to combat   global warming and protect biodiversity. In  areas like public health, civil protection,   industry, and education, the proposal envisions an  elevated role for the EU, transitioning these from  

Supporting to shared competencies. Furthermore,  the proposal seeks to expand the Union’s joint   responsibilities in areas like energy, foreign  affairs, defence, external border management,   and cross-border infrastructure. Yet, it  lacks detailed specifics on these matters. That wraps up the second major proposed reform  highlight. With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine  

And the Israel-Hamas war in the Middle-East,  we at the EU Made Simple feel it is important   for the EU to work together on defence, which is  something we will be covering in a future video,   so please subscribe if you are interested. The  third focus of the proposed reform is to boost  

The EU’s authority in ensuring member states  follow EU laws, especially its core values. Presently, there’s a mechanism in place, known  as Article 7, often referred to as the „nuclear   option”. This provision, when triggered, has the  power to strip a member state of certain rights,  

Including their voting right, if they are  found in breach of essential EU principles. Yet, its potency has been undermined  by informal political arrangements,   like the mutual understanding between Hungary  and Poland where they promise not to use it   against each other. To address this, the  proposal intends to move the responsibility  

Of triggering this article from the European  Council, where it can be VETO’s by a single   Member State, to the more impartial Court  of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). So obviously, these are a lot of changes. So what  can we expect next? Will this pass? Well, the  

Sponsor of today’s video: the Union of European  Federalists, or UEF, have given us a roadmap: “This proposal has had the support of 5 political  groups of the European parliament. And it is   indeed a proposal for a more federal treaty for  Europe. Now we have the next important challenge.  

Because on 22nd of November we will have the  plenary vote of this report. Once it   is approved by the EP there will be another very  important big step. Which is to have a majority in   the European Council to convene a convention  in order to debate this proposal by the EP”

To summarise, the European Parliament will  cast their votes on this transformative   proposal by the 23rd of November. If it  gets the green light there, it moves onto   the European Council where it needs to rally  a simple majority to keep the momentum going.

But it doesn’t stop there. If we clear that  hurdle, the stage is set for a convention   to dive deep into the treaties of the European  Union. The final challenge? Achieving unanimity   among member states to bring this vision  to life. It’s a thrilling journey ahead!

This is what we think. We  will not hide our opinion,   that we think that these changes are a good  move for the EU, as it gives us: More democracy,   Faster decision making and a better platform  to tackle the world’s biggest problems.

However, it is a long road ahead. We  feel that it is possible, likely even,   that the European Parliament and European Council  will muster a majority to start an EU convention   where the treaties can be discussed. But this is  where the problems will start. Only 18 months ago,  

10 EU countries opposed EU treaty change.  And guess what? At the end of the convention,   all 27 EU Member states need to unanimously  agree… And this will be incredibly difficult. A heartfelt shoutout to our sponsor: UEF.  Established in 1946, the Union of European  

Federalists has been a steadfast advocate for  a European Federation. UEF is a cross-border,   non-governmental political collective of  dedicated individuals, both women and men,   fervently working towards the  vision of a European Federation. Please let us know what your favourite reform  is in the comments! And please subscribe and  

Like the video if you enjoy the content.  And if you want to support us further,   please sign up to Patreon. Until next time!

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