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17th Feb 2019

Parliament chief criticises 'Frankenstein Europe'

  • Martin Schulz is in favour of sovereignty transfers, but EU has to respect separation of powers (Photo: Koerber Stiftung)

The EU's current institutional set-up resembles a 'Frankenstein' monster because there is no democratic separation of powers, European Parliament chief Martin Schulz said Monday (4 March) during a debate in Hamburg on sovereignty transfers to Brussels.

"National sovereignty in Europe is based on a model of separation of powers: we have a government that can be voted down by a parliament and an independent judiciary overseeing that rules are respected," Schulz said.

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He added: "What we are doing now is that we are taking bits and pieces of this framework and transferring them to the EU level, but without also transferring the separation of powers. The result is what I call 'Frankenstein Europe'."

He said people cannot trust the EU when the division of labour and the legal basis is not clear.

Schulz, who is tipped as Social-Democratic candidate for the EU commission top job next year, said the commission is the most undemocratic of all three institutions, because parliamentary checks and balances are minimal.

"There are developments in the European Commission that only alienate people. There are two schools of thought in the EU commission - one that doesn't rest until it privatises even the last local cemetery, and the other is not satisfied until we have an EU regulation for burials," the German politician quipped.

He also criticised the fact that the commission, which acts like a government, is the only institution allowed to initiate legislation. "This is an undemocratic mix of legislative and executive powers. We need to reform the commission and parliamentarise Europe," Schulz said.

He said the EU should have competences in the area of trade, environment, monetary policy, financial regulation and migration. "For this we need a government at EU level legitimised by the European Parliament."

But other powers could be repatriated, he said, in reference to demands made by the British Prime Minister David Cameron to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership.

"I am in favour of repatriating powers that have not proven a value added on EU level," Schulz said.

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