EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 2017 – 2019
1. A politically more inclusive European Parliament caring for the future of Europe
The European Parliament has to use its potential to be the European peak of political excellence, the incubator of new ideas and the cradle to discuss the future of Europe. The European Parliament may ensure democratic legitimacy and accountability by enhancing dialogue among political forces, avoiding interference in their decisions and working on conciliating positions on Europe’s most relevant political issues. The role of the Speaker of the European Parliament should provide efficiency in achieving the necessary consensus in the decision-making process led by political groups. The speaker’s role is to listen, represent and care that the rules are applied with fairness and equality for 751 directly elected members representing 500 million citizens.
2. A European Parliament in open and transparent dialogue listening its citizens
The European Parliament has to bridge between the citizens and the European institutions and this can be done with deeper listening.As co-legislator, is a unique “forum” representing all European citizens, where diverse political cultures meet and are brought to work together. When the European Parliament is co-legislating with the Council, the real political debate takes place in the European Parliament. Thus, it has yet to become an institution that will act closer to the citizens, consciously influencing with its debate the proposals of the European Commission and the decisions to be taken by the Council. The European Parliament should also defend its decision making status, carefully monitoring lobbying activities, so that they occur in a transparent manner and not against the rules. In the next years, in the spirit of “Camino”, the Speaker of the European Parliament should make a priority invisiting and addressing EU national and regional parliaments, fostering a sense co-responsibility and closeness to the citizens in all Member States.
3. A European Parliament working hand in hand with other institutions
Good cooperation between European institutions would reduce the existing political deficit in the European Union. It would deliver more results by better exploiting the provisions in the Lisbon Treaty. As decision makers and European citizens, we have to agree on the vision and strategy that can bring new life to the European project and on the common denominators that will prevent us from losing what has been achieved with great effort. In an expression of unity, as co-legislators, sharing this power with the Council, the European Parliament and the Council to meet once a year in full representation in a symbolic and regular face-to-face plenary meeting.It will have the “future of the EU” as one of the main agenda points. Moreover, the European Parliament also has to care, internally and externally, for coordinated action especially in the sphere of foreign affairs, neighbourhood policy, trade policy, environmental policy, international negotiations and economic and monetary governance. Less legislation and especially less technical legislation can reduce the burden of bureaucracy, but in the eyes of the citizens, the EU should not be failing in its competences and the big issues.
4. A European Parliament closer to National Parliaments
Though the inter-parliamentary cooperation has worked so far to address the right issues in a meaningful way, there is still room for improvement. The potential exists to establisha regular and permanentmeeting framework between the committees of the European Parliament and those ofnational parliaments working on similar issues, opposed to meeting frameworks which act on the “hot issues” only. Respect and clear distinction between national and EU competences should be defended. Genuine “MEPs to MPs” contacts, dialogue, debate and networking at committee levels onissues of common interest, on a permanent and regular basis could meaningfully improve the quality of the decisions that affect EU legislation. This will also help to reduce the many times existing democratic deficit and allow smoother transposition into national law, by early detection and handling of political sensitivities. Finally and most importantly, on the basis of the model laid down in the Lisbon Treaty, a joint “relationship philosophy” still needs to be developed.
5. A European Parliament fostering democracy, respect for human rights and freedom of speech in the world
European citizens consider peace as one of the five most important EU values. Peace is a value that is neither self-explanatory nor eternal. It is a value for which it is necessary to work continuously and be ready to come to its defence. Peace remains the first challenge in a globalized world and it should be the first EU export good.Peace comes as the result of true institutional democracy in a context of rule of law, individual freedom and respect for human rights and dignity, allowing a society to find a peaceful balance. The European Parliament should maintain and increase its parliamentary diplomacy work, fostering parliamentary dialogue and institutionally coordinated action, especially concerning representation, mediation and election observation endeavours to better accomplish such role. Intercultural and interreligious dialogue should remain part of the European Parliament´s endeavours in fostering peace and understanding.