May 12th, 2014


Interesting Links for 12-05-2014

sleeping doggy

I am the problem with European elections

I know what my council elections are for. I am electing the people who decide who can built what where in my local town/village/city, who organise the rubbish being collected, who set my council tax.

I know what the General Election is for. I am electing the people who write the laws upon which the country is run.

I know what the Scottish elections are for. I am electing the people who write the laws which cover those areas devolved to Scotland.

The European elections? I know that they're important. I know that a lot of legislation is heavily influenced by the decisions made there. But unlike my local council (a single chamber who make decisions), Westminster (the Commons and Lords arguing amongst each other), or the Scottish Parliament (another single chamber), I have no idea how decisions are made there. The parliament clearly do _something_. But there's also the European Commission, which is made up of one member per country in the EU. How do they interact with them when it comes to forming laws? Who starts the laws off? Who can veto them? Does all of the different groups need to agree, or can some override others? And on top of that there's the Council of Europe, which _also_ has one member per state, but is somehow different from the Commission. How are they different? Why do we have both? No idea.

This is clearly my fault. I should educate myself. But if the European Parliament feels remote and mysterious to me, then goodness only knows how most people feel.

Do Americans feel this way? They have town councils, state legislatures, and then the Senate/Representatives/President. Is it clearer to them how their laws are made?

Clearly, this is something I should know more about. Anyone got any good pointers?

I just read this. It was fascinating. I don't feel any more illuminated about how a European Law comes into being though.

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