“We want to put the new Members of European Parliament under democratic scrutiny and make them commit in writing that they support a more democratic EU. Before the EU elections we will hear many phrases by politicians that we need a Europe closer to the citizens. Yet these promises only count if they are followed up by actual deeds. Our EU candidate check will let voters know where their candidates stand on EU democracy issues ahead of the EU elections and make sure that politicians will keep their promises once elected”, states Armin Steuernagel, who leads the campaign team “Democratic Europe Now”.
The EU Candidate Check operates with the online portal check www.democraticeuropenow.eu, where EU candidates can sign the pledge. Campaigners of “Democratic Europe Now” sent out a call to all 5000 candidates of the EU’s 28 Member States. Volunteers are now following-up on the mailout with phone calls in order to ensure that each EU candidate responds. Democracy International will present the results of the EU candidate check ahead of the EU elections, which will be held from 22 to 25 May 2014 in the EU.
Within its first days, the EU Candidate Check already yielded a major result: Each top EU candidate of Austria’s five big political parties signed the pledge and hence committed to standing up for citizens and democracy in the EU, including the demand for a new, democratic EU Convention and the call for a European referendum on the outcomes of the Convention. Also, EU candidates signing the pledge promise to oppose the inclusion of Investor-State Dispute Settlements, a contentious issue of the negotiated free-trade-agreements TTIP and CETA, which would limit the legislating rights of parliaments.
“The EU Candidate Check is a core element of our campaign for a more democratic EU. It makes the future deputies of the European Parliament aware of the need for a new, democratic EU Convention and our demand of a European referendum on its results. Given the fact that the European Parliament formally has the right to submit a proposal to the Council for a Convention, the Candidate Check is a crucial exercise”, explains Armin Steuernagel.
Democracy International campaigns for a new, democratic EU Convention under the banner “Democratic Europe Now”. Article 48 of the EU Treaty provides to arrange an EU Convention before amendments are made to the treaties of the EU. Democracy International demands that the new, democratic EU Convention has the greatest possible democratic legitimacy and that adequate time must be given for serious and thorough deliberation. Also, the Convention must operate with full transparency, have all its meetings open to the public, and include in its deliberations proposals from civil society. EU citizens are to ratify the results in a referendum, held in all European Member States on the same day.
- Website of EU Candidate Check at www.check.democraticeuropenow.eu
- Website of Campaign "Democratic Europe Now" at www.democraticeuropenow.eu