European Federalist Party

30 April 2013

————————————————————————————————

EUROPEAN FEDERALIST PARTY – ANALYSIS:

How many MPs does the Eurozone need?

————————————————————————————————-

(by Marco Marazzi)

One week ago, as other fellow Italians, I was glued to the TV watching the live feed from our Parliament where elections for our president were being held.

One of the most shocking aspects of the process was the huge number of voting MPs and regional council representatives who had to be called, one by one, in alphabetical order, to cast their ballot. How many of them? Over 1,000, apparently. It was an endless process: there were six elections in total over 5 days, so the voting MPs had to be called 6,000 times and their ballots counted 6,000 times.

Now, may I ask why would you need over 1,000 elected representatives to choose the president of a 60 million people country? I am not sure, but I know that having so many egos lined up for a vote can only complicate things, as it did.

Italy has 945 MPs and on average no less than 50 ministers and deputy ministers. Do we really need all these people to take decisions for a country with 6 times less citizens than America? And I am not counting the thousands of other city councilors, provincial and regional council members, etc.

But let’s not stop at Italy. On this one, other EU countries do not fare much better. Luxembourg (500,000 people) has 60 MPs, Belgium 221, Spain 616, Germany 622 (plus 69 in the Bundesrat), the Czech Republic 281, Finland (with just 5 million people) 200, etc.

Hold on a second. How many people live in the Eurozone? About 330 million. And how many MPs are there in total. I did my math and reached the astonishing number of 5556!!! So, everytime a key decision needs to be taken, one which may be relevant for the entire Eurozone, you would have to seek the opinion of 5556 people, if you want to ensure that parliaments play their representative role.

5556 people for 330 million citizens. In the US, with 315 million people, there are just 535 members of Congress. Of course, in the US, states also have their small parliaments (although many of them work part time), but so does Europe: we should not forget the hundreds of assemblies and mini-parliaments you can also find in Europe, at regional and generally sub-state level.

Running Europe is really that hard? Do we really need ten times the number of MPs than in the US? And I am talking about the Eurozone. If we take into account other EU countries plus MEPs, perhaps we exceed 10,000 MPs!!!

But let’s not stop there: on average, every Eurozone member has about 40 ministers and vice-ministers (some have more some have less, I am just using a rough average). So, we come close to 700 members of the executive branch around the Eurozone alone! In the US, there are no more than 100 if you consider equivalent positions.

But that’s not all: looking at the results of recent elections around Europe, I noted that typically no less than 8 parties are represented in parliament. This applies not only to countries like Italy or France, but even smaller ones like the Netherlands. So, 8 parties for each member of the Eurozone comes to 136!! And these parties are not connected one another, they hardly talk to each other, they do not coordinate their programs; virtually NEVER do so when it comes to national and even European elections! They are, after all, parties established along national lines, focusing on national or even regional issues only.

So, each time the Eurozone needs to take critical decisions, one would have to consult over five thousand MPs, 700 members of the executive branch, and take into account the views of 136 different political parties!!!

This is madness. How can we run the Eurozone like that?

Going back to the US example, imagine if – while waiting for local elections in, say, Oregon – decisions which are relevant for the entire country have to be put on hold. Or if Vermont had 8 political parties completely unrelated to those of its neighbor Massachussets, unable to communicate or coordinate any policy. Nothing could have ever been achieved.

Well, this is the current sorry state of the Eurozone.

The solution is so obvious that perhaps we do not even need to spell it out. This is not a left wing or right wing solution. These categories make no sense in this context. This is simply a matter of good institutional architecture and efficiency.

We have to abandon the current model based on a loose “confederation” of states, where each one can block the others and therefore only needs focusing on its own national interests, and we need to move towards a federation. We will make huge gains in speed and efficiency of decisions at times where any delay can cause havoc, and at the same time ensure a more solid democratic endorsement of these decisions, since the federal parliament will be a real parliament and the government a real elected government.

And without truly European political parties, we won’t be able to achieve this objective.

We simply cannot go on like this.

—————————————————————

Media information: The two co-presidents of the European Federalist Party can be contacted at:
Pietro De Matteis: pietro.dematteis at federalistparty.eu

Yves Gernigon: yves.gernigon at lesfederalistes.eu

—————————————————————

The European Federalist Party (EFP) is the pan-European party for a more democratic, united and solidary Europe: a Europe of the people and for the people. The EFP was founded in 2011 in Paris by citizens from all over Europe and has since developed into a cross-border movement with thousands of members and supporters and chapters in 9 EU states. The EFP was instrumental in the introduction of several key laws and reforms in the EU, including improvements to the Lisbon treaty, the European Citizens’ Initiative and the EU roaming regulation.

More information:

Website: www.federalistparty.eu

Twitter: https://twitter.com/eufederalists

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EuropeanFederalistParty

Author :
Print

Comments

  1. Hello, thanks for this perfect resumé, just one glitch in it – can you fix the name of my country from Check (paying method) to Czech (nation)? Thank you 😀

    1. Thank you! The typo has been corrected.

      Thank you for your feedback!

  2. How many MPs does the Eurozone need Marco Marazzi

    Marco,

    Five paragraphs into your blog and I could have stopped reading and finished it myself fairly accurately.

    Despite being rather obvious, your argument and summary is full of holes.
    I do sympathise with you about the basket case that is Italian politics and has been since the end of WWII. I am not sure what the answer to that is but I would very strongly suggest that is for Italians to decide.

    You keep referring to the USA which is of course a nation. By no stretch of the imagination could the EU or the Euro Zone we described as a country or nation, thereby the comparison falls at the first hurdle. However let’s try and put some logic and understanding into the argument.

    I will start by saying that I respect your politics and what you and others would like for the EU. I would hope that you would reciprocate and accept that many, many within the EU have no wish to go down the road that would turn us into a US of E or similar.

    If trying to get a decision in the EU (lets not complicate it with the Euro Zone) was anything like what you suggest then I agree nothing would ever happen. However can I suggest that parliamentary democracy in the member states comes into play with the Government of the day having a majority The Prime Minister/President gets to deal with things in the Council of Europe (27 now 28 where the veto often is not allowed).

    I am afraid your numbers don’t stack up, with the odd exception nation states will have an MP representing somewhere between 20 and 70 thousand citizens which does not sound excessive.
    In the UK we have local authorities with elected councillors and the devolved governments who deal with their own competencies. I think in Brussels you would call it subsidiarity.

    Marco, in a democracy if you are unable to find a political party to suit your beliefs, there should be nothing wrong, with others, starting one. I don’t think that the EU is really big on democracy and I know Brussels would like to ban national parties and have Pan European parties. I don’t know about Italy but in the UK we have great difficulty getting people interested in voting with understandable and known politics. What the turnout would be for obscure parties along EU lines leaves me in despair just thinking about it.

    To get your way you would need to get National Sovereign Parliaments to agree. I really think you stand no chance at all. Remember that unlike the USA we do not have the ability to communicate in a single language which is an enormous handicap and with 500 million possible heading towards 600 million plus it would be just too unwieldy.

    In Summary 7500 MPs in national parliaments is nothing even adding on 650 to 700 MEPs. It’s not the number but the way they operate that is important. With so many languages it is very important that the citizens feels represented. For me a parliament voted on by national citizens with a maximum population of 70/100 million is much more acceptable.

    Regards
    George Mc

  3. Interesting post, but isn’t it too much to strive for an institutional structure like that of the US?
    The EU will never achieve such a homogeneous ‘demos’ due to the different languages and cultures.

    Shouldn’t the model rather be Switzerland? That effectively tackles the culture and language issues, since the 13th century.

Comments are closed.