The election results were depressing but it's not surprising that people voted in the european elections according to their national issues. After all, it was the national parties that were offering themselves for election, and they didn't offer any substantial policies for Europe, or even communicate what their role as MEPs is. To have meaningful European elections, I think these things are necessary:
- MEPs should campaign as members of European political parties, and those political parties should have Europe-wide manifestos. These political parties would then be able to tout their ability to counter the power of petty national politicans, to improve the lives of European citizens. National political parties could do the same. Checks and balances are good. Note: UK voters should be glad that the European electoral system allows 20% of them to vote for the UKIP, whereas the UK electoral system would not allow them a single seat in government.
- A directly-elected European president could clearly embody the policies and activities of the European Union.
- The laws against free trade in European communications/broadcasting must be lifted, so people can get non-National news sources. This would allow the creation of Europe-wide TV stations as well as access to the TV stations of other nations.
- The new constitution should be celebrated for simplifying European laws and institutions, and therefore dealing with the main anti-EU complaints. It's still not a very good document, but European politicians should offer to improve it incrementally.
- States should be allowed to leave. Most attempts to leave the EU would fail to get support in a referendum, and that would settle the issue for a while. States that do vote to leave should be allowed to suffer the consequences, and demonstrate the advantages of being in the EU.
- There should be an official two-speed EU, so that states can have the amount of federalism that they want, without forcing anyone else to go as slow or as fast. The others can catch up when they are ready after the way has been shown. We already have something like this with Euro currency area.
The Wahlomat says that I lean towards the Greens, though I happen to think that genetically modified foods are rather nifty.
None of the parties' positions inspired me. I think they should be offering to improve the lives of individual Europeans, by giving them more freedom, and they should celebrate how they have already done that. Most national governments don't have the support of half of their populations. Many countries such as Britain have terrible problems that affect everyday quality of life, but seem incapable of fixing them regardless of who is in power. But Europe has given people the freedom to go where the grass is greener, either physically, or just to do business. Europe should improve access even more, and ask for a mandate to do it:
- The tax system should be unified. Each country has insanely-complicated tax systems that even accountants don't understand. Doing business is therefore expensive and risky. Doing business across European borders becomes exponentially difficult. Even if we don't have exactly the same tax system everywhere, I see no reason why we can't have tax structure across Europe, just with separate percentages at the various levels, and a clear list of national exceptions if necessary. They could start with income tax, and fix the other taxes later.
- There must be one official language across Europe. I don't mean that everyone should be forced to speak English, but every government's beaurocratic documents should be in both the local language(s) and English. Beaurocrats should be required to speak English as well as one of the other national languages. Europe should encourage bilingualism in schools and media (see free trade in broadcasting above).
I was particularly disgusted by the populist policies of the CSU (Bavarian CDU) in Germany – firstly that Turkey must never be in the EU (with no real justification, leaving us to assume that they simply don't like their race and creed), and that the EU constitution must state that the EU is christian. They did not make clear what they would do with those of us who are not christian, but it's clear that they don't want a diverse Europe. I'm surprised that these racial and religous policies are not actually illegal. Members of the same party have recently been saying that ethnically-german women should have more german children, while simultaneously fighting immigration that would fix the demographics a lot more quickly. And the same people often fight against the right of German citizens to have their own mosques, though I fail to see how that's different to banning synagogues. Meanwhile, in the UK, 1 in 20 people voted for the British nazis.