Thursday 7 May 2009

Guest post on "Th!nk About It" (3): A visible opposition in the European Parliament

This week I am guest blogging on TH!NK ABOUT IT. I will publish the articles here, too, but I would like to kindly ask you to comment on TH!NK09. This is my third article, which you also can find here.

One might be as europhile as I am (and just a little remark: I still would not call myself "EUrophile" with a capital U, but rather "EUroptimistic" or simply "europhile"), but I can understand to a certain extend many of those who have doubts about the European project called "European Union".

And so, given that this week we are witnessing the last session of this European Parliament in this period, let me express high appreciation for Daniel Hannan who, in his probably last speech in front of this parliament, has again shown that you can be eurosceptic, critical, and even tastefully polemic, but that this can be done in the most intelligent, articulate, and honest way.

His call for a "visible opposition against the EU" in the next European Parliament is thus not to be understood in a negative manner, but in the best tradition of a democratic institutions in which the pro and the contra are the main elements of free and democratic discourse of ideas and ideals.

And he is absolutely correct pointing out that it is better to allow and to support open and democratic opposition - even against the project as such - within the institution than waiting for radicals and xenophobic opponents outside the parliament to be the sole voices of discontent heard all over Europe.

So here's Daniel's speech, as always short and concise, and with remarkably warm words for outgoing EP president Hans-Gert Pöttering:

Thank you, Daniel, for your work and your directness - and I suppose you will be around...!


Jon Worth said...

I don't agree with you here... yes, opposition is needed, but along what lines? I'm tired of the pro / contra about the EU being some more EU / less EU distinction.

What we need is more ideology to make distinctions - a more socialist EU, a more liberal EU, a more free market EU - and to debate on those lines. That would make the EP much more valid and interesting.

Julien Frisch said...

The question is not, "Do we need pro/contra debates about the EU?" because these debates exist, whether we need them or not.

And since the European Parliament is the only elected European body with a public exposure, it's still worth seeing such debates there, in particular because this also causes discussions about what the EU should do and what it should, which might then be at the heart of a socialist-liberal-conservative debate.

And I agree with you that the latter should be the goal to make this Union more political and democratic.