The dual health and economic emergency generated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the first EU response have created unprecedented possibilities for reinvigorating European democracy. On the one hand, there is the opportunity to address the EU’s longstanding problem of ‘democratic deficit’, which is no longer compatible with the quantum leap in the EU integration process that the emergency has made clear is urgently needed. On the other hand, the response is the premise for the EU to become a laboratory addressing the diffused crisis of representative liberal democracy that is also affecting Member States. This paper advances a proposal to reform the system used to elect the European Parliament, so that all European voters can join an EU-wide constituency, rewarding the parties and candidates whose votes are more evenly distributed across Member States. Temporary adjustments to facilitate the transition to the new system are also discussed.
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Conversations for the Future of Europe
In order to guide the steps of the European Union and in order to mobilize its citizens so as to make such steps possible, it is not enough to analyse the past and to criticize the present. It is crucial to concoct concrete proposals for a better future and to subject them to a no-nonsense, multidisciplinary discussion. The conversations for the future of Europe aim to contribute to such a discussion.
A concern for concreteness and political feasibility should be present throughout, the aim being, as in Robert Schuman’s 1950 declaration, "des reìalisations concrètes" rather than vague dreams. However, this should not prevent us from bearing in mind Max Weber’s warning at the end of Politik als Beruf : Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth that man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out for the impossible. A concern for feasibility is compatible with boldness. Indeed, it may require it.