Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

‘A minimal proposal’

By Peter Cruickshank, Edinburgh, Scotland

Peter Cruickshank (zvg)

Peter Cruickshank


There is plenty of “democracy” in the EU’s institutions, if you look: from direct elections to the EP, to national government representation in the Council of Ministers, and the option of direct participation by citizens in agenda setting via the ECI.

The problem is that the institutions are not visibly delivering democratic accountability (or effective governance).

How could citizen participation solve the problem?

To start with, I think it has to be acknowledged that direct democracy at the EU level is not an option – only a small minority of citizens will ever engage with single issues and the process is too open to manipulation.

On the other hand, for various reasons, the Commission has failed to make the ECI an effective process.

My proposals would be then: first simplify the ECI process and requirements by for example removing the checks on ECIs which are“manifestly against the values of the Union”, and allow ECIs to propose changes to Treaties.

Second, create a single, secure, auditable EU-wide system open to all who wish to run an ECI which captures and encrypts minimal data on the signatories.

Finally: let the parliament be responsible for the ECI process, not the Commission. Successful ECI proposals would be debated on the floor of the Parliament, and if accepted, require an administrative response from the Commission, or be adapted into a proposed EU law.

This perhaps would go some way to creating a pan-EU polity and to strengthen the most democratic institution of the EU.


All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.