This Constitutional Treaty was meant to bring the Union closer to the citizens. There is room for debate on whether the result reflected this idea, but it is clear that this goal - making an existing political system, the EU, more responsive, more responsible, and more respectful to us, citizens of the European Union - has been there for good reason.
The title and privilege "Citizen of the European Union" is written on our passports and ID cards, and it is valid since 1992. This citizenship is not just a superficial idea, it is a right that allows us free movement all over the 27 member states. So while we move from one state to another, we always remain in the Union, and we always remain its citizens.
These citizen rights also include that we have the right to be represented on the European level, as we are represented on the national, regional, and local level. However, these days we see that the member states are planning their Coup des Etats, trying to take away rights and weakening supranational figures that are meant to represent our common interest:
- Several states - the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic - are allowed to disrespect the Fundamental Rights of the citizens as guaranteed by the Lisbon Treaty.
- Member states - led by the Swedish Council presidency - push through undemocratic and rights infringing measures against all EU citizens.
- Member states purposefully chose two weak leaders, van Rompuy and Ashton, for the two top posts in "their" part of the polity.
- Member states further limit the powers of these two leaders, using loopholes in the Lisbon Treaty: van Rompuy by measures described by the EUobserver today, and Ashton by measures described by L'Europe de la Défense and me (taken up by Italian euroblogger Matizandrea in Italian).
The EP also has to strengthen its communication people and MEPs have to strengthen their communication effort, it has to put more energy in explaining to the public in simply ways what it is doing and why they are doing it.
The European Parliament has to put more weight on the common interest of the 500 million EU citizens instead of accepting policy outcomes that just reflect the particular interest of the leaders of one or two countries against the general interest of the Union.
The EP has to show that it can withstand this Coup des Etats and the false claims in the name of consensus diplomacy from national politicians, national diplomats, and national bureaucrats - claims that are nothing but the defence of a status quo of privileges and powers of the past leading to policy output of the past!
PS.: The big question - and I agree with Charlemagne - is whether "B Team mediocrities who could not make it in national politics" will be able to even get close to these demands.