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General EU discussion thread

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,143 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    But it is not really the job of the voter to coordinate with other voters to ensure a dominant majority for a particular candidate. How is the individual voter supposed to know the bulk of other voters will vote? I don't see the failure of the electorate to do this a reason for scrapping the spitzenkandidat system.
    I'm not suggesting that the spitzenkandidat system should be scrapped. Or that the voters have a duty to somehow co-ordinate a majority for one of the spitzenkandidaten. Just that, if the voters don't give a majority to any of the spitzenkandidaten, it's hard to argue on democratic principles that on of the spitzenkandidaten somehow has a right to office anyway.

    FWIW, I don't think the spitzenkandidaten system is a particularly apt one for the EU. It's an attempt to replicate in the European Parliament a majoritatian system that prevails in some of the member states, notably the UK and Germany, under which the leader of the largest party is automatically the prime candidate for chief executive. It only make sense in a two-party system where the largest party can expect, if not more than 50% of the seats in parliament, certainly not much less than that. But in the multiparty systems which prevail in the majority of EU countries, the person who becomes chief executive is the person who is able to assemble a majority by building cross-party support and consensus in the parliament; by appealing to the elected representatives of the greatest number of people.

    He or she may not be the leader of the largest party; indeed, may not be a party leader at all. John A. Costello wasn't, for example. And while Charles Michel, the Prime Minister of Belgium since 2014, is a partly leader, his party (the Mouvement Réformateur) came not first, but fifth, in the 2014 elections, and the coalition government which he leads includes three parties which won more seats than the MR does. Not coincidentally, Michel is now seen as someone with the skillset appropriate to the President of the Commission.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭Bit cynical


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    I'm not suggesting that the spitzenkandidat system should be scrapped. Or that the voters have a duty to somehow co-ordinate a majority for one of the spitzenkandidaten. Just that, if the voters don't give a majority to any of the spitzenkandidaten, it's hard to argue on democratic principles that on of the spitzenkandidaten somehow has a right to office anyway.
    I'm afraid it does look like it has been effectively scrapped. Juncker is on record as saying he is the first and last spitzenkandidat.

    It's something that most of the parliament were in favour of but with little enthusiasm from the Council being opposed particularly strongly by Macron.

    The system, had it got going, would have depended on a tradition being established where spitzenkandidat of the largest party or coalition was appointed president by the Council on a routine basis. Although legally only a suggestion to the EU Council, over time it would have become the established norm. This is now not going to happen.

    I think it's fairly clear that we wont see presidential debates in the next EU election like we did in the last two.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭Bit cynical


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    FWIW, I don't think the spitzenkandidaten system is a particularly apt one for the EU. It's an attempt to replicate in the European Parliament a majoritatian system that prevails in some of the member states, notably the UK and Germany, under which the leader of the largest party is automatically the prime candidate for chief executive. It only make sense in a two-party system where the largest party can expect, if not more than 50% of the seats in parliament, certainly not much less than that. But in the multiparty systems which prevail in the majority of EU countries, the person who becomes chief executive is the person who is able to assemble a majority by building cross-party support and consensus in the parliament; by appealing to the elected representatives of the greatest number of people.
    No I think that may be a misunderstanding of the system. According to the EU:
    Before the European Election campaign starts, each party on the European level can publicly announce who their transnational spitzenkandidat will be, informally making them the face of their election bid. The spitzenkandidat who can secure a majority governing coalition in the European Parliament (353 MEPs) will become European Commission President if nominated by the European Council (Heads of national governments and states). URL="https://europeelects.eu/2019spitzenkandidaten/"]source[/URL
    So the system is intended to have a coalition building phase in the event that a particular party does not hold the overall majority. What happened is that shortly after the election result it became known that leaders in the EU council were bypassing the system thereby killing it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,143 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Mmm. But I think they were able to do that because the maths in the European Parliament were going to make it difficult or impossible to assemble a majority governing coalition for any spitzenkandidat.

    In the last parliament the EPP and the Socialists between them had a majority. Both favoured the spitzenkandidat system and, therefore, provided they were both willing to support the spitzenkandidat of whichever of them was the largest group, then that spitzenkandidat was assured of a majority, regardless of what the other groups decided or how they voted. But that isn't true in the present parliament.

    If parliament wanted to, it could still enforce the spitzenkandidat system by simply rejecting any nominee of the Council who wasn't one of the spitzenkandidaten. But that's only feasible if there's a majority in parliament willing to accept one of the spitzenkandidaten, and there isn't.

    I think the spitzenkandidaten system is dead, at least in the form that it operated in in 2014. That's because it's a system that can only function in certain political conditions, and in the real world those conditions don't always prevail.

    If parliament wants to revive a more functional version of the system, it would need to develop a culture whereby the various political groups negotiated after the election to assemble a majority for one of the spitzenkandidaten. But this only works in domestic politics because the negotiation is actually about assembling a majority for a government, a collective body in which the various parties can participate. This access to office gives parties a strong incentive to co-operate with one another and reach an agreed position, so that they can share in government. But the filling of a single office is necessarily a winner-takes-all exercise; there can be no sharing. Which is why I don't think this imported UK/German mechanism is really apt for the European Parliament.

    I did say in my earlier post that I wasn't suggesting that the spitzenkandidaten system be scrapped but, actually, I thinik I am saying that it's not fit for purpose in its present form, and can't survive.


  • Registered Users Posts: 22,741 ✭✭✭✭Kermit.de.frog


    I have one question for the EU fans here.

    What was it all for?

    Why did we have this big fight with Britain for our independence, our right to chart our own destiny and make our own rules as a sovereign independent country?

    We are handing it to Brussels. Why?

    It's a perfectly valid question which I expect no answer to because it's too uncomfortable.

    I thought we joined an economic community. It's gone way past that and it's being done through stealth and skullduggery.

    It will end in tears.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,143 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    I have one question for the EU fans here.

    What was it all for?

    Why did we have this big fight with Britain for our independence, our right to chart our own destiny and make our own rules as a sovereign independent country?

    We are handing it to Brussels. Why?

    It's a perfectly valid question which I expect no answer to because it's too uncomfortable.
    Surely you can see the difference between (a) not being a sovereign country at all, and (b) being a sovereign country which freely makes a decision to exercise its sovereignty in a pooled way with other sovereign countries, so as to maximise the power of that sovereignty?
    I thought we joined an economic community. It's gone way past that and it's being done through stealth and skullduggery.
    Even when we joined it, the Community had a stated aspiration to "ever closer union". We knew that at the time, and so did you if you had bothered to pay attention. And every major step towards closer union since then has been approved by the people by referendum, which is hardly "stealth and skullduggery".
    It will end in tears.
    Any political development can potentially end in tears. Exhibit A: Brexit.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,262 ✭✭✭fash


    I have one question for the EU fans here.

    What was it all for?

    Why did we have this big fight with Britain for our independence, our right to chart our own destiny and make our own rules as a sovereign independent country?

    We are handing it to Brussels. Why?

    It's a perfectly valid question which I expect no answer to because it's too uncomfortable.

    I thought we joined an economic community. It's gone way past that and it's being done through stealth and skullduggery.

    It will end in tears.

    Maybe when the EU commits genocide in Ireland, suppresses religion and goes around burning cities and generally torturing and murdering people and waging a way to stop people leaving, I'll agree with you.
    Perhaps you need to step back and take a little perspective.


  • Registered Users Posts: 22,741 ✭✭✭✭Kermit.de.frog


    Peregrinus wrote: »


    Even when we joined it, the Community had a stated aspiration to "ever closer union". We knew that at the time, and so did you if you had bothered to pay attention.

    Firstly I was not born.

    Secondly what a crock of bs. You think the common voter knew about "ever closer union"?

    Don't treat people like they are stupid. That is what the EU does.

    The UK will be our greatest ally when we leave. Irony indeed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,143 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    Firstly I was not born.
    So when you say "I thought we joined an economic community", when exactly did you first have this thought?
    Secondly what a crock of bs. You think the common voter knew about "ever closer union"?
    I was born at the time. Yes, this was discussed in the debates around joining the EU. It was one of the arguments advanced by opponents of EU membership.
    Don't treat people like they are stupid. That is what the EU does.
    I seems to me that is it is you who is treating them as stupid. Despite the EU's openly stated aspiration to "ever closer union", you assert that the Irish people were ignorant of it. You ascribe the outcome of a succession of referendums to "stealth and skullduggery", because the alternative explanation, that the the Irish people had made an informed choice differing from the one you wish they had made, doesn't seem to have occurred to you.
    The UK will be our greatest ally when we leave. Irony indeed.
    If the UK's offer of an alliance is conditional on our conducting our relations with European countries in a way that meets the approval of Brexiters, we'll turn it down, thanks. The EU doesn't want us to surrender our sovereign right to make these decisions in our own interests as we see fit but Brexiters, to nobody's great surprise, do. That's not a hugely attractive "alliance".

    As you say, it's ironic. Brexiters braying about sovereignty even as they advocate prostituting the sovereignty of the UK to the American hard-right, and call on other countries to subordinate their sovereignty to Brexiter demands.


  • Registered Users Posts: 22,741 ✭✭✭✭Kermit.de.frog


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    So when you say "I thought we joined an economic community", when exactly did you first have this thought?


    I was born at the time. Yes, this was discussed in the debates around joining the EU. It was one of the arguments advanced by opponents of EU membership.


    I seems to me that is it is you who is treating them as stupid. Despite the EU's openly stated aspiration to "ever closer union", you assert that the Irish people were ignorant of it. You ascribe the outcome of a succession of referendums to "stealth and skullduggery", because the alternative explanation, that the the Irish people had made an informed choice differing from the one you wish they had made, doesn't seem to have occurred to you.


    If the UK's offer of an alliance is conditional on our conducting our relations with European countries in a way that meets the approval of Brexiters, we'll turn it down, thanks. The EU doesn't want us to surrender our sovereign right to make these decisions in our own interests as we see fit but Brexiters, to nobody's great surprise, do. That's not a hugely attractive "alliance".

    As you say, it's ironic. Brexiters braying about sovereignty even as they advocate prostituting the sovereignty of the UK to the American hard-right, and call on other countries to subordinate their sovereignty to Brexiter demands.


    You advocate us prostituting what is left of our sovereignty (very little) to the EU. To Brussels.

    The powers most recently elected to their positions (by the EU in Brussels) do want to take what remains of our sovereignty and have openly stated so. They don't hide it.

    The blindness of our government position will be illuminated for ALL to see when we are economically crippled.

    It's incredible people don't understand the link between banking and politics. The ECB is accountable to Germany, no one else. If you believe they are accountable to any other collection of countries in the EU you are hopelessly DELUDED. Just the start.

    EU army is being formed - foreign affairs going to Brussels (that's right - our proud record will no longer be ours) - Brussels will take tax powers. That is it.

    We have nothing left.

    We have an EU anthem and EU President.


    I ask again, what was independence for to surrender it like this?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 25,143 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    You advocate us prostituting what is left of our sovereignty (very little) to the EU. To Brussels.
    I do not. There's a huge difference between national sovereignty being extinguished, as it was when were first a colony, and then a part, of the UK, and national sovereignty being pooled, as it is by EU member states. I've pointed this out before. You've ignored it.
    We have an EU anthem and EU President.
    Oh, for crying out loud. Pretty well all the trade blocks have anthems (and flags). The International Olympic Council has an anthem. UNICEF has an anthem. The Council of Europe has an anthem. The EUFA Champions League has an anthem. If you think an "anthem" is a unique badge of sovereignty, you're an idiot.

    As for your claim that we have an EU President, this is false. There is no EU President. How can you not know this?
    I ask again, what was independence for to surrender it like this?
    The whole point of indepence is that so you can make choices about what relationships to form with other independent sovereigns. The notion that by actually making any choices of that kind you thereby surrender your independence is too silly to bother refuting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 871 ✭✭✭reslfj


    Peregrinus wrote: »
    Secondly what a crock of bs. You think the common voter knew about "ever closer union"?
    I was born at the time. Yes, this was discussed in the debates around joining the EU. It was one of the arguments advanced by opponents of EU membership.

    This was in the public domain in later 1972.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,836 ✭✭✭PeadarCo


    Why did we have this big fight with Britain for our independence, our right to chart our own destiny and make our own rules as a sovereign independent country?

    Why would leaving the EU allow us to set our own rules?

    Remember Ireland imports a lot and the country has a very small population. There are cities with bigger populations.


  • Registered Users Posts: 22,741 ✭✭✭✭Kermit.de.frog


    PeadarCo wrote: »
    Why would leaving the EU allow us to set our own rules?

    Remember Ireland imports a lot and the country has a very small population. There are cities with bigger populations.


    So what?

    New Zealand and Singapore set their own rules.

    Why shouldn't we?

    We are not capable is it? This notion we have to be part of the EU is a load of nonsense.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,143 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus


    So what?

    New Zealand and Singapore set their own rules.
    New Zealand has entered into relationships with Australia which mirror many aspects of, and are consciously modelled on, the EU.
    Why shouldn't we?

    We are not capable is it? This notion we have to be part of the EU is a load of nonsense.
    It's not that we're not capable. It's that it is hugely to our advantage to do this collectively, through the EU. As the history of our progress since 1972 demonstrates as regards our economic interests, and as the present circumstances graphically illustrate as regards our political interests.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,836 ✭✭✭PeadarCo


    We are not capable is it? This notion we have to be part of the EU is a load of nonsense.

    Well we can set our own rules.

    However we are a very small market that's why I mentioned our population size in my last post. So companies may not make products to match our own rules or it just becomes incredibly expensive. All depending on much our specific rules for differ from the global or regional standard.

    So would end up in a situation where Ireland would have to follow EU/UK/US/China rules regardless and we would have no way of influencing them.

    In the EU Irish voters can influence the rules through MEPs or the government of the day.

    So ye we can leave the EU and set our "own rules" but it's a complete mirage and it would be the complete opposite. A lot of laws in Ireland would be dictated from abroad due to commercial realities. Its something Brexiters are finding our as businesses leave the UK.


  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 36,269 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    I have one question for the EU fans here.

    What was it all for?

    Why did we have this big fight with Britain for our independence, our right to chart our own destiny and make our own rules as a sovereign independent country?

    We are handing it to Brussels. Why?

    It's a perfectly valid question which I expect no answer to because it's too uncomfortable.

    I thought we joined an economic community. It's gone way past that and it's being done through stealth and skullduggery.

    It will end in tears.
    I think your view of history has been misunderstood and your resulting bias against the EU is coming through as paranoia.
    Before long you'll start sounding like Mark Francois!


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,520 ✭✭✭fly_agaric


    So what?

    New Zealand and Singapore set their own rules.

    Why shouldn't we?

    We are not capable is it? This notion we have to be part of the EU is a load of nonsense.

    Singapore seems to be a go-to Tory Brexiter exemplar alright but from little I know about it I don't think it has much relevance to us.
    New Zealand now, that is on the other side of the planet, and it is really very very far away from absolutely everywhere (unfortunately/edit - fortunately?! for them).
    If they could tow the islands to the Atlantic they would likely be in the EU themselves or at the least very closely tied to it the way Norway, Iceland, Switzerland etc are!


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,993 ✭✭✭✭MadYaker


    I have one question for the EU fans here.

    What was it all for?

    Why did we have this big fight with Britain for our independence, our right to chart our own destiny and make our own rules as a sovereign independent country?

    We are handing it to Brussels. Why?

    It's a perfectly valid question which I expect no answer to because it's too uncomfortable.

    I thought we joined an economic community. It's gone way past that and it's being done through stealth and skullduggery.

    It will end in tears.

    I think before we can answer this your going to have to explain to us what your question means, maybe some examples of us surrendering our sovereignty? At least as you see it.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 11,125 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hermy


    We are handing it to Brussels.

    You've mentioned Brussels several times.
    What exactly do you mean by Brussels?

    Genealogy Forum Mod



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