R1-M3: Youth Europe Liberty Life VS EU Democrats

Future of Europe

Welcome to Round 1 of the Future of Europe E-Debate Competition!

The topic for the 1st debate is:

The President of the European Council should be elected by EU citizens.

In this debate Youth Europe Liberty Life (Affirmative) will face EU Democrats (negative).

The 1st debater of the affirmative team has 24 hours to post the 1st speech of the debate. Even if the speech is posted before the 24 hours expire, the 1st negative speakers’ 24 hours of preparation time will begin when the initial time expires.

Before posting please consult Guildelines and the Online Debate Guide.

Good luck to all teams!


I thank both teams for this debate.

For this match, the winning team was that of proposition, Youth Europe Liberty Life.

The reason for this is quite simple, the affirmative team gave better reasons than the opposition team, both in quantity and in the depth of the analysis.

The first prop speech outlines the principles of the EU and participatory democracy and how it’s a core value for the union. Furthermore explained is the sentiment of EU citizens who feel like their voice isn’t heard or that their vote doesn’t count. Creating a process to elect the president of the EU council could alleviate these feelings of democratic deficit, at least in principle. I would have like to hear more about the impact of the measure and how it directly resolves the problems that are identified. If people “feel like their voice doesn’t count or isn’t heard”, then what is the mechanism that leads to that feeling changing?

The opposition posits that the EU isn’t ready for federalization and then equates this with not being ready to vote directly on such an important role, though I feel, as proposition points out, that this correlation is tenuous. There is legitimacy to the idea that voter turnout will be low, but why this is important, or what impact this might have is not explained, thus no clear harm for this change arise and neither are the arguments of proposition challenged.

The 2nd proposition speech points out the weaknesses and leaps of logic in the 1st opp speech and brings some further compelling points about the advantages of this motion. The importance of the role is further emphasized, though once again, it’s unclear if this perspective will be shared among EU citizens, or even reach them. But if people understand this importance, then they will probably feel like their choice, their vote carries more weight and in turn leads to more involvement in the process, a simple yet sound argument. In turn, elections would give this position a bit more legitimacy and give the citizens a mechanism to hold the President of the European Council accountable. Overall, proposition succeeded in showing broadly why this measure will be effective in potentially raising people’s engagement and satisfaction with the EU political process.

The final opposition speech does bring up some valid points, like the discrepancy of population numbers between countries and how that can affect representation, and in turn lead to more feelings of disdain towards the EU. Or the fact that in the current system, heads-of-state are a legitimate actor to represent their peoples when electing an EU council president. But unfortunately, none of these ideas have enough impact to topple the proposition arguments, that are also left mostly untouched by the end. If these ideas were presented earlier in the debate and we’re further expanded upon, then opposition would’ve had a greater chance of defeating the affirmative team.

In conclusion, the winning team is Youth Europe Liberty Life.

Speaker points:

1st Affirmative: 20 (Content: 9; Style: 6; Strategy: 5)
2nd Affirmative: 21 (Content: 9; Style: 6; Strategy: 6)

1st Negative: 11 (Content: 4; Style: 4; Strategy: 3)
2nd Negative: 12 (Content: 5; Style: 4; Strategy: 3)

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    Youth Europe Liberty Life

    Title: Embracing the democratic values

    We would like to thank the opposition team for their effort into posing their arguments. We do not agree with the term “rulers”, used to describe the elected representatives of the people. Firstly, we will highlight several gaps of the negative speakers’ argumentation, which lead to unconvincing and incomplete position. Secondly, we will support our motion towards a participatory democracy and the necessity of its implementation.

    The main problem with our opposition’s case is their underlying assumption that federalization of the EU is a result of the adoption of a more participatory democracy. There is no question that this assumption was a vital part of our opposition’s case. A model of “United States of Europe” has nothing to do with the process of the election of the president of an EU body. Especially the European Council’s (we shall not adopt the abbreviation EC, since EC normally states European Commission).

    Following the line of arguments of the opposition team we cite “European Council has some influence over the European Commission”. Despite the fact that it is an information not analyzed by any means, it works in favor of our motion. European Council “chooses” the President of the European Commission. European Commission is the sole EU institution tabling laws, drafting the annual budget. For these reasons it is considered the strongest EU body. Plus the EU Council sets the parameters of EU development. In this whole process the President of the EU Council has a saying. According to a. 15§6 TEU he is responsible for the external representation of the EU on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy. We urge the opposition team to think if she prefers to be able to decide who will shape her future or not. Because Jean-Claude Juncker says: We do like dreamers, and my dream is that within the foreseeable future we will be able to ensure that we have a bicameral system in Europe – the Council of member states and the European Parliament. And that the Commission president, along with the Council president, will be elected by direct vote (February 14, 2018).

    The second argument of the opposition team is based on Euroscepticism and in case of a direct election of the President of the EU Council, the minority would be the one to decide the outcome. The opposition team, clearly, misinterprets the essence of Democracy. In the majority of the European states, governments are elected by less than 50% of the state’s population. Democratic elections’ outcome is outlined by the most “favorable” choice. We believe, indeed, the low participation of the citizens is concerning as stated in our first speech. Referring to Parlementer’s 2017 question “what are the primary reasons not to vote”, the most favorable answers were “I believe my vote won’t change anything” and “I distrust the political system”. The model we propose with our motion of the direct election will result in a clear political choice for the electorate. These political choices will be free of self-made calculations, turning this vote into a policy choice tool. The EU would become easier for citizens to comprehend and identify with.

    With the direct election of the President, the individual person in charge of the presidential post will become essentially responsible to the people. Direct election means substantial responsibility and this goes hand in hand with powers. In a democratic institution such as the EU, the powers with accountability are more tolerable than unresponsive powers. If the President was directly elected by the people, it would be evident to every EU citizen that it was an unbiased election, eliminating the chance of back door politicking. Direct election offers the widest possible legitimacy. It would bring a sense of belonging to the EU citizens. EU Council has a President who most EU citizens don’t know WHO he is, HOW he was elected or WHERE he stands on issues. For example, in a report video by Euronews entitled “European Sleepovers: Nicosia”, in the question “Who is the President of the European Commission”, the answer was “Donald Tusk”.

    In conclusion, we strongly promulgate that democracy absorbs in its application the special features of the ever-changing and evolving historical-political field. The failure to review the democratic principle when the historical political and cultural data underlying it have been altered is one of the main causes of its judgment or misinterpretation. In a political world in which the stability of democracy evolves, it does not mean that it has a stable content, but that its alignment with the evolving historical reality is stable and endless, constantly monitoring the development of its area of ​​application.

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      EU Democrats

      We would like to congratulate the opposite team for their work of building arguments and wish them luck in the future debates.

      In our defense we would like to say that, European Union is build on democratic principles and the states which are in European Union cooperate through a series of political measures meant to help each state to develop themselves. We can say that in the near future we will refer to European Union as a federation like the United States of America but this is just a possible theory. Now, we refer to EU as an global actor, a collaboration between a number of 28 states of Europe or an Interstate Union. As we know, European Council is composed by heads of the states or heads of the government form each European state. The president of European Council is chosen by the members with qualified majority. If all the states in the European Union are democratic this means that, head of the states and heads of government (depends on each case) are chosen correctly democratic and their meaning is to represent the citizens of their states when they choose a new President for the European Council.
      On the other hand, if we talk about Euroscepticism, we think it is impossible not the reach that level if the President of European Council will be chosen by the EU citizens. Firstly, the state members of the European Union have very different population numbers. Look for example at Malta and Germany. The small states will not be represented very well, because they don't have this chance based on their number of citizens able vote. The small states will manifest an Euroscepticism and they will not trust European Union anymore because they will feel that the political scene is controlled by the big states with more population than them.
      Secondly, we don't want to turn the presidency of the European Council in a competition between the states. If the EU citizens have to vote, they will feel the need to be in a race with other state members. In this is the case of the big states, because in this "race" we cannot speak about the small states as we say earlier. If the citizens of the EU are not feeling comfortable to vote and well-represented that can cause very unfortunate and unwanted things.
      In conclusion, we maintain our arguments and we believe that European Union and especially, the presidency of the European Council work in a fair democratic way as they are now, and it's no need of improvement or changes which can possibly cause a variety of possible difficulties and problems

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    Youth Europe Liberty Life

    We would like to sincerely greet the opposition team and the judge to this debate. To begin with, let us clarify the terms of the motion that we defend. The word “should” is interpreted as a moral and practical imperative. The term “elected” means the chance for citizens with an election right to choose the person they think more appropriate in a context of a participatory democracy. This is the topic emanated by the title and it will be the one we will defend with our arguments.

    We shall analyze the direction of EU towards participatory democracy mentioned in theory by high profile academics and philosophers, since the Lisbon Treaty. Also we shall also argue in favor of this type of election, in terms of transparency of the EU body.

    Our first argument points out the direction of EU towards a model of participatory democracy. The Treaty of Lisbon defines the democratic foundations of the EU based on
    1. the principle of democratic equality, namely that the European institutions must treat all citizens equally,
    2. the principle of the representative democracy, by strengthening the European Parliament and increasing the participation of national parliaments,
    3. the principle of participatory democracy, underlining the importance of consultation, dialogue with citizens, dialogue with civil society, while the citizens' initiative process is introduced.

    This is the first time that the idea of participatory democracy is introduced into an EU treaty. Article 8 of the Treaty on democratic equality states: In all its activities, the Union respects the principle of equality of its citizens, who enjoy equal attention from its institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. Article 8b introduces the EU to the process of participatory democracy and states: The institutions shall ... give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to publicize and publicly exchange their opinions in all areas Union action. The objective of the Lisbon Treaty was, inter alia, to make the Union more accessible to the citizen. It therefore redefines the position of the citizen in European affairs and tries to regain the lost interest in the EU and its policies. In the context of promoting a European democracy, it gives European citizens the opportunity to show their interest in the functioning and development of the Union. What was the trigger for this huge turn of events? At the Standard Eurobarometer of 2015 (No 83) EU citizens got asked: Does your voice counts in EU? More than 50% answered negatively. This is backed up by the Eurobarometer of 2011 (No 379) and many more behind them. A well known example of the participatory democracy is the European Citizens’ Initiative, a mechanism through which citizens have the opportunity to participate at the legislative process.

    Our second argument points out the necessity to implement this spirit of participatory democracy to the election of the President of the European Council. The Lisbon Treaty has made the European Council a full EU institution and has as its main responsibility to provide the necessary impetus for the development of the EU and to define its general political orientations and priorities. Thomas Zoefel, a Swiss writer and professor, believes that the democratic deficit is due, among other things, to the lack of legitimacy and the lack of transparency. Transparency plays a key role in encouraging EU citizens to participate more actively in democratic life, thus increasing the democratic legitimacy of the EU. It is therefore of the utmost importance for the credibility of the EU that the decision-making process be as transparent as possible, the difficulties in ensuring democratic control of this process and its distance from the citizens of Europe. The 5 principles of the White Paper on transparency, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence, combined with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, have a lasting and steady value in directing the EU towards integration.

    In conclusion, we would like to emphasize our commitment to the idea of expanding popular sovereignty: Direct dialogue between voters and one of the EU bodies will be achieved through this type of election. People's Sovereignty is a fundamental principle of the democracy and is closely related to the social contract presented by philosophers such as Zanzak Rousseau.

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      EU Democrats

      As an introduction we would also like to greet the oppositions and wish them luck in this great opportunity offered by the judges for us to develop such an important skill. Also we agree with the definition that our competitors offered in their introduction.

      In order to analyze this statement we should take into consideration the fact that before the Treaty of Lisbon there was a proposition that was entitled as “European Constitution” which was turned down two in France and Netherlands after the referendum in which the population of these two of the founder states was consulted. This fact showed us that European citizens are not ready for a federalization of Europe under one constitution and one president and see the Europe as in interstate alliance in which the head of the states reunites in the European Council(E.C.) and for that we believe that this rulers which are elected in the national elections should decide who is going to lead the meetings and give the directions of the E.C. which will represent the politic tendency of the majority of the states. Also we should not forget the fact that European Council has some influence over the European Commission.

      Furthermore nowadays Euroscepticism is flourishing in each country of the Europe. So citizens of the European Union states developed a tendency not to participate in the European elections as a report on the European Parliament elections shows us just an average of 42.61% of citizens voted in 2014. This is a small percentage of the European citizens who have the right to vote and it will be unfair to vote a president of the E.C. only by these part of the population of the E.U as the other part of them will not feel represented by him and the democratic deficit will be bigger than it is right now.

      As a conclusion, we would like to emphasize the fact that European Citizens are not ready for a federalization of Europe and the democratic deficit will grow if the President of The European Council will be elected by them. We strongly consider that the President of The European Council should still be elected by the head of the states.