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Explaining the EU Commission

saab900

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Joined
May 22, 2014
Messages
1,112
The vast bulk of the negative publicity that surrounds the EU seems to arise from the EU Commission. The criticisms of the Commission have a common theme: its isn't elected but its the only institution that can propose laws so its undemocratic.

This simplification is obviously compelling, and is enhanced by the fact that the Commission is based in a far away place (Brussels) and populated by lots of middle-aged men in suits.

Further, its always the Commission that is at the centre of bad news stories. Its the Commission who has to take us to court, its the Commission who has to issue fines, its the Commission who is banning turf cutting etc.

The difficultly with the Commission is that its role has is not one that exists in any comparable form within member states, so it always appears as excessive and sinister.

For people who understand the Commission, its role is difficult to communicate, so I'm going to try and simplify it here. If others can offer a simpler explanation please feel free to do so.


The European Commission
#################

The EU is a union of countries. It is like a club.

In any club, members will have different views on how the club is run. To address this, the members agree a charter, or a Treaty, that sets out why the club exists and what they want it to do.

In the day to day running of the club, members will disagree on how the aims of the club are to be achieved. What seems like a good idea to one member will not seem like a good idea to another.

To ensure the club doesn't disband, the members agree to appoint an external referee, whom none of them know, to propose ideas that are consistent with the aims of the club. To prevent discord, they agree that only the referee can propose ideas, but that ultimately a majority of the members of the club have to accept those ideas.

They also agree that the referee should not have any sort of association with any of the members, as if the referee were seen to be aligned to a particular member, the independence of the referee would be called into question.

To make sure members cannot ignore the will of the majority, but to prevent discord between members, they agree that if a majority of members accept an idea, but some members refuse to go along with it, the referee, and only the referee, can sanction those members.

Finally, they agree that if a majority of the members are not happy with the referee, they can fire him and appoint another referee.

##########

This is the role of the Commission: the referee

It seems perfectly logical to me.
 


Mad as Fish

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
24,449
So how does the lad on the street have any say in all of this?

He has no practical influence over it whatsoever, that's where the democratic deficit lies. Simply trying to pretend that we elect ministers to piss about with their little game of referees is totally farcical and is simply an attempt to put a definition upon the word democracy to which it will not stretch to fit.
 

benroe

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Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Messages
10,749
The vast bulk of the negative publicity that surrounds the EU seems to arise from the EU Commission. The criticisms of the Commission have a common theme: its isn't elected but its the only institution that can propose laws so its undemocratic.

This simplification is obviously compelling, and is enhanced by the fact that the Commission is based in a far away place (Brussels) and populated by lots of middle-aged men in suits.

Further, its always the Commission that is at the centre of bad news stories. Its the Commission who has to take us to court, its the Commission who has to issue fines, its the Commission who is banning turf cutting etc.

The difficultly with the Commission is that its role has is not one that exists in any comparable form within member states, so it always appears as excessive and sinister.

For people who understand the Commission, its role is difficult to communicate, so I'm going to try and simplify it here. If others can offer a simpler explanation please feel free to do so.


The European Commission
#################

The EU is a union of countries. It is like a club.

In any club, members will have different views on how the club is run. To address this, the members agree a charter, or a Treaty, that sets out why the club exists and what they want it to do.

In the day to day running of the club, members will disagree on how the aims of the club are to be achieved. What seems like a good idea to one member will not seem like a good idea to another.

To ensure the club doesn't disband, the members agree to appoint an external referee, whom none of them know, to propose ideas that are consistent with the aims of the club. To prevent discord, they agree that only the referee can propose ideas, but that ultimately a majority of the members of the club have to accept those ideas.

They also agree that the referee should not have any sort of association with any of the members, as if the referee were seen to be aligned to a particular member, the independence of the referee would be called into question.

To make sure members cannot ignore the will of the majority, but to prevent discord between members, they agree that if a majority of members accept an idea, but some members refuse to go along with it, the referee, and only the referee, can sanction those members.

Finally, they agree that if a majority of the members are not happy with the referee, they can fire him and appoint another referee.

##########

This is the role of the Commission: the referee

It seems perfectly logical to me.
So how does the EU parliament sack the commission unless the commission proposes it?
 

ManUnited

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Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
5,221
So how does the lad on the street have any say in all of this?

He has no practical influence over it whatsoever, that's where the democratic deficit lies. Simply trying to pretend that we elect ministers to piss about with their little game of referees is totally farcical and is simply an attempt to put a definition upon the word democracy to which it will not stretch to fit.
Not really, a lot of states have a similar system, the USA isn't much different.
 

Cellachán Chaisil

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Joined
Mar 3, 2009
Messages
10,011
So how does the lad on the street have any say in all of this?

He has no practical influence over it whatsoever, that's where the democratic deficit lies. Simply trying to pretend that we elect ministers to piss about with their little game of referees is totally farcical and is simply an attempt to put a definition upon the word democracy to which it will not stretch to fit.
Well, simply. Your national parliament can veto or vote against their decisions, as can your MEP.

As well as this, your head of government appoints the commissioner.

Isn't it remarkably similar to the US executive system, which I've never heard Brexiters describe as anti-democratic.
 

benroe

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Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Messages
10,749
He or she votes for one of the European governments that collectively controls the Commission.

It's not rocket science.
No, nor is it democracy, its just a giant Quango.
 

Cellachán Chaisil

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Messages
10,011

Finbar10

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Joined
Dec 3, 2008
Messages
2,454
Well, simply. Your national parliament can veto or vote against their decisions, as can your MEP.

As well as this, your head of government appoints the commissioner.

Isn't it remarkably similar to the US executive system, which I've never heard Brexiters describe as anti-democratic.
If the US got rid of the Senate and its Presidency, replaced these with a council of state governors, stripped the Congress of most of its powers, and gave most law making powers to a commission of civil servants appointed by these governors, then I guess they'd be approaching the equivalent of EU structures. A secretary of state is part of the US executive (appointed by a directly elected president), incapable of making law (even executive orders have to be signed by the President IIRC). The EU structures aren't undemocratic as such (just even more indirect from ordinary voters than an ordinary federation like the US or Switzerland whose main federal bodies are usually all directly elected).
 

Fractional Reserve

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Joined
Apr 30, 2011
Messages
8,327
He or she votes for one of the European governments that collectively controls the Commission.

It's not rocket science.
It's a bunch of state ex politicians that get a cosy number and fat cheque .They are pick by their mates in the state government not the people then with a few nods and winks abroad they get the no sackable job .
 

ManUnited

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Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
5,221
It's a bunch of state ex politicians that get a cosy number and fat cheque .They are pick by their mates in the state government not the people then with a few nods and winks abroad they get the no sackable job .
Just like judges. Is that undemocratic or do you think we should elect politicians as judges as well?
 

Fractional Reserve

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Apr 30, 2011
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No reason why not, if you think it is a good idea to politicise those jobs. That doesn't mean the present system is undemocratic.
The way judges are pick in this country and most countries is political , they should be picked by their peers not politicians .
 

benroe

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Jan 29, 2011
Messages
10,749
No reason why not, if you think it is a good idea to politicise those jobs. That doesn't mean the present system is undemocratic.
Politicians select judges, how is that not political?

Why would any ordinary person vote for someone to be a judge based on their political leanings?
 

General Urko

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Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,862
All we need to know about The EU Commission is it's headed by Jean Claude Drunker and it contains one member who threatened EU Citizens with having their water supply (which is even more important than food or electricity!) reduced to a trickle, if they didn't play ball and pay for something they already pay through the nose for yet again and support an ****************************************** quango!
 

ManUnited

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Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
5,221
Politicians select judges, how is that not political?

Why would any ordinary person vote for someone to be a judge based on their political leanings?
How do ordinary people go electing politicians? They do a great job don't they? Do you think they would do a better job electing a judge? Fair enough.
 

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