How the European Commission is elected

Jon Danzig |

The EU is a democracy, in many ways more democratic and accountable than our system of democracy in the UK.

The Commission President must be elected by an absolute majority of ALL MEPs – that’s at least 51% of them.

Every Commissioner and the entire Commission must be democratically approved or rejected by the European Parliament in a strict vetting process.

What’s more, the Parliament has the democratic power to dismiss the entire Commission at any time.

The Commission is the servant of the EU, NOT its master.

The Commission has no power to pass any laws. Only the Parliament can do that, in concert with the Council of Ministers, which comprise the ministers of democratically elected governments of EU member states.

Compare EU democracy with UK democracy where:

▪ We have a legislative system whereby most laws are made by Statutory Instruments, drafted by the Civil Service, which cannot be amended by Parliament and most of which become law automatically, without a Parliamentary vote.

▪ We have governments that can bypass Parliament with the use – and abuse – of arcane and ancient Royal Prerogatives and Henry VIII clauses.

▪ We have an old-fashioned voting system of first-past-the-post resulting in governments that most people didn’t vote for. (In European Parliament elections, voting is by proportional representation).

▪ We had a Prime Minister who could (until it was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court) close down Parliament for an extended period at his will and without Parliamentary approval.

▪ We had a Prime Minister who attempted to initiate Brexit without Parliamentary authority and spent considerable sums of public money in litigation defending her “right” to do so.

▪ We have a government that has given lucrative contracts to their friends, bypassing usual procurement procedures and public accountability.

▪ We had a referendum in which two out of the four members of the United Kingdom – Scotland and Northern Ireland – voted against Brexit, but we still went ahead with it anyway.

▪ We have an unelected head of state (although he has no real power to intervene on important issues).

None of these undemocratic situations would be acceptable in the EU.

But how many people in Britain truly know that the EU is a democracy?

For years, Brexit politicians and papers have been telling us that the EU is undemocratic, even a “dictatorship” run by unelected bureaucrats.

It’s a big, blatant lie. The antidote to lies is the truth. Pass it on!

  • One-minute video: ‘How the EU Commisison is elected’

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