R1-M4: TeamBG2 VS Team EngagEU 1

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 TeamBG2 (Affirmative) will face Team EngagEU 1 (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 opposition, Team EngagEU 1.

The general reasoning for this is quite simple, team opposition laid out several well-considered, clearly explained argument, with several disadvantages and substantial impact, while I struggled to follow the proposition team’s logic and argumentation, as it relates to the motion at hand.

The first proposition speech is very rich in rhetoric and some interesting facts and ideas, but as opposition points out, these do not clearly relate to the motion in a meaningful way and it’s hard to gleem specific reasons for why the motion is beneficial. Same can be said for most of the 2nd proposition speech, that mostly tried to diminish the threat of populism, but in the last third some legitimate ideas start to form about the ‘symbol of unification’ or ‘representation of the european citizens’. Unfortunately these ideas arrive too late within the match and are not developed thoroughly enough. Furthermore, it seems like the 2nd speech is incomplete.

The opposition team lines out 3 to 4 clear arguments, as well as good counters for the proposition team, within reason. Arguments such as the ‘process of election and the inherent legitimacy of the position’, engagement among the populace and voter turnout (though the impact of this could have been expanded upon, as well as the idea of ‘weakened mandates’) and the threat of populism. The impact of populism is further expanded upon in the 2nd speech, as is the importance of the position within the council, and more nuances about how this role can be seen as legitimate by council members and further technical complications that may arise if the ‘wrong’ person is chosen for the job (though, again, this veers more towards speculation, than argumentation).

In light of all these solid and well-presented arguments and counter-arguments brought to the debate by the opposition team, as well as an unclear case presented by proposition, it is my opinion that Team EngagEU 1 is the winner of this debate.

Speaker points:

1st Affirmative: 7 (Content: 2; Style: 3; Strategy: 2)
2nd Affirmative: 8 (Content: 3; Style: 2; Strategy: 3)

1st Negative: 23 (Content: 9; Style: 7; Strategy: 7)
2nd Negative: 23 (Content: 9; Style: 7; Strategy: 7)

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    Team EngagEU 1

    In our closing speech, we will first lay out why the arguments made by the affirmative side are to be rejected and further extend our argument of the lack of engagement for the European Union and why severely weakening the mandate of the President of the European Council is not desirable.

    Regardless of the importance or even necessity of future political integration of the European Union, the negative team is not able to see how this ties to the motion. Even if the President of the European Council were to be elected by the people, it is not clear how that would create a strong civil society on a European level. While a strong European civil society would indeed be desirable, how an election for the President of the European Council would solely achieve that is still unclear. We do not believe that one can achieve a European civil society from a top-down approach. Instead, this must be actively wanted by the majority of the European Union. This brings us to our next point: Having elections for the President of the European Council will not set “the fire of which civil society can emerge”! As we have laid out, low voter turnout already threatens the democratic legitimacy of the Parliament.

    The negative team furthermore finds it astonishing that the affirmative team thinks that the risk of populist movements is currently “not too strong”! Recent events in the United Kingdom continuously prove that a wave of populism is wavering in Europe and affecting the European Union itself. The election of Donald Trump was not due to the migration waves from 2014/2015 and Russian interference in national and supranational elections will not suddenly end! There is no sign that populist movements are on their way down. Just the opposite, these movements continue to be in governments, such as in Hungary and this European parliamentary elections, populist parties are predicted to win majorities in several countries. Assuming that populism will waiver as a problem is at best naive and perhaps even negligent.

    Finally, we reject the notion that the President of the European Council is a mere symbol. While he certainly is a representative figure, but he is not a unifying figure, nor can he become one. He has too many competences, such as defining the priorities and the general political direction of the European Union, for him to be only a symbol. In the following extension, we will make our point clearer.

    As we have mentioned before, the duties of the President of the European Council are situated more in daily politics than in representational duties. While he formally represents the European Union externally, he is not alone in doing so, as the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also have this duty. When it comes to sole responsibilities, we can only reiterate the fact that the President of the European Council is to facilitate consensus within the European Council and primarily works with it. Therefore he should be elected by it. How unfair would it be if the President of the European Parliament were to be elected by someone else than the European Parliament? Surely his mandate and legitimacy would justly be put into question. This applies to the President of the European Council. If he were to be elected by the European People, he would not represent the European Council and his mandate can be questioned. If he were to be elected by the people of the European Union, he would have to be in a body that directly represents the European people, such as the European Parliament or the European Commission.
    Furthermore, European-wide elections to the President of the European Council would only introduce partiality and political maneuvering in an organ that should be impartial. Even if someone who is not an outspoken enemy of the European Union were to become President of the Council, he would automatically find himself in a conflict of interest. How could he balance the tasks of representing the will of the people and the interests of the member states? The only thing that a direct election of the President of the European Council would achieve is that the organ’s integrity and ability to work efficiently would be greatly impeded. This can not be in the interest of anyone who believes in the future of the European Union.

    To summarize, the affirmative team has not convincingly argued that the President of the European Council should be elected by the people. In return, we have argued that the danger of populism to the European Union is not waiving, that recent voter turnout would weaken the democratic mandate of any elected candidate and that the function of the President of the European Council is contrary to a direct voting system. The motion is therefore to be rejected.

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    Political integration of EU is main question of further development of European civilization in the context of new global treads. It is the main question, becouse of new realities the control of which is out of reach of national states. So we have to creates new political structure which can unite the national states. And this is important point- we are in historical specific situation in which the actual political, cultural and social structures are still in their national limits ( we realize the process of globalization , whose tendencies make historicаly possible the project of EU ) . To strengthens the processes of globalization in national states become our main point in manner to construct the fundamental conditions of EU structuring . This is the main point because without the base infrastructure of civil society there is no legitimate political institutions . The civil society ( in the tradition of ''burgerliche Geselschaft'', mean the ensemble of culture, economics and social ties ) is the foundation of political building of EU. We are in paradox- Europe have to integrate and build stronger institutions , but for doing it first need civil society on Pan European level. But that kind of society can only be made of political efforts of stronger institutions ( for example the history of constructing the nations in XIX century . Of course, realize that history don't happen twice witch exclusion of it's sense of humor, which is proven to be tragic. European civil society will be specific, cosmopolitan and universal ) . So we have to find way to build that civil society- The History always give a chance to deal with situations in which it puts you.
    The problems which have been highlighted are facts. But they are product of conditions which want to overcome. First- the problems of low electoral activity, the protest vote, right-wing populist vote. The electoral activity in comparative historical context it's lower even in the national elections. That is product of decreasing potential of nation state do produce effective policy. If we starting political integration, and that is what we are doing in promolgation of European elections , we level will be higher because of the new chances which institutions will give. The right-wing populist vote is product of World economic crisis of 2008 and migration waves from 2014, passives of both of which overwhelmed Europa , because of it's lack of political integrity. So, the populist vote, like we can see in predictions on today election, will not be unsuperable to formation of progressive Parliament. So, the passives of low electoral activity and populist right- wing votes are problems, but we can handle them only through further integration, risks of which , on that point, see too be not too large. The importance of elections will be formation of European agenda, which on every 2-3 years, practically never ending, will creates political disscusions in fire of which civil society can emerge. The elections are instrument for creation political agenda for all citizens , on the base of which we can start developing political culture.
    But why to elect President ot European Council ? Because his statute it is most representative for all of Europe, most looks like the President of European Federation which we want to have in future. The logic here it's not to elect him because of his powers, but because his figure of unification. If the governments of nation states elect the president , like now, we loose the most important - the representation . The President of Council can't create alone the political integration we are speaking about, but can be part of process of political unification on civil society and that is foundation of further integration. The situation in which the election can create more division than unification miss the point. The problem of EU institution is not they divide, but the don't create real commitment. Like every period of political structuring, the integration of EU will create stuggeles , but they are , in long run, positive part of the process. On the

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    Team EngagEU 1

    We see the points raised by the Affirmative team regarding the necessity of enlightenment, peace and democracy and we wholeheartedly agree! We also firmly believe in the European Union. We do not believe, however, that the president of the European Council should be elected by EU citizens. Over the course of this speech, we shall lay out our main points of contention regarding this motion. These are: 1) The question of representation: the President of the European Council is not the one who should be elected by the people; 2) The question of engagement as recent voter turnout proves that the people are not interested in European elections; and 3) The question of populism: direct elections open the door to political threats to the union, risking the end of it.

    Before we do this, we need to address the points made by the Affirmative Team. If the people of Europe act as the engine of European integration, what does it mean for the engine if voter turnout just gets lower and lower? We will elaborate on this point soon.
    Furthermore, our team is not sure why the Affirmative team motions to have the people elect the President of the European Council. Unfortunately it has not made clear why it thinks that it should be so. We would welcome the affirmative team to specify its reasoning in its forthcoming answer as this cuts our rebuttal quite short.

    First, we will come to the question of representation: with the current format of the Spitzenkandidaten there has already been substantial movement to allow citizens their say in who should lead the European Commission. While this system is not without its flaws, it means that the President of the European Commission represents the will of the people. This model of indirect representative democracy has proven itself to be stable and reliable. The President of the European Council on the other hand represents the governments of the member states and should thus be elected by them. This ties into the role of the President of the European Council since his main tasks comprise of chairing the meetings of the European Council, facilitating consensus within the Council as well as externally representing the EU. After studying these tasks, it becomes clear that the role of the President must be impartial. This can only be assured if he is elected by the heads of government.

    Second, we come to the question of engagement: In 2014 the turnout for the European Parliament elections was a devastating 42.5%. This marked the lowest voter turnout since the inception of the European Parliament. These low numbers question the democratic legitimacy of the European Parliament! How can anyone claim to represent the people when more people did not only not vote for them but did not even vote at all? It is clear that the European People are not interested in constantly voting for new representatives, even every five years. Why does the Affirmative team expect that going into new presidential elections every 2.5 years would suddenly reinvigorate the spirit of the European Union? Having a President of the European Council be elected even by a 49% turnout would seriously weaken their mandate both internally as well as externally. Surely this can not be in the interest of the European Union.

    Last, we will raise the question of populism: As it is known, the world and Europe are both directly threatened by populism. From Trump’s America in the West over Farage, Le Pen, and Orban to Putin’s Russia in the East. A system in which leaders are elected directly is more threatened by populism than representative indirect democracies. This does not mean that this is the case for every system that operates like this, but one cannot deny that the danger is significantly higher. Now the Affirmative team wishes to implement an election by European citizens for the president of the European Council. Since it has failed to outline the terms on how this election would be conducted, we can only refer back to the motion and assume a direct vote. Keeping the danger of populism in mind, it is astounding to demand more of it on a continent already under threat by it. What would happen if an outspoken enemy of the European Union ran for this office? What would happen if they win?

    In its opening statement the Affirmative team meandered on WW2, capitalism and democracy. While the Negative team can not help to agree on the general direction of these points, one has to ask themself the question: is this motion the right way to fix the democratic deficit of the European Union or is it just window dressing?

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    The meaning of politics is a need for societal self regulation in the context in an always odd cultural situation, this state that we exist is re-occurring form the dawn of time, the different in the situation is the historical context,
    The EU is possible because of the social contradiction of the WW2 build on blood and bond of the countless dead in the meaningless wars of the past.
    There is a specific of the EU for the strange need of the EU citizens the EU happened because of the critics of the EU society of witch culmination is in the WW2 and a process of never ending economic , political and cultural cries. WW2 is the turning point in history, and the logical conflation of the fastest acceleration of any known to man until this point, the horrors of war where one of the logical ways of our world, Europe always had two faces the face of humanism, peace , enlightenment and science and the face of rage, war, plague and dead .
    In the order of the chaos of WW2 aftermath the expansion of the political institution is inter connected with the social contradictions . We can see the EU form the point of view of the modern social contradictions. The need for peace was paramount the desperation of the masses and there fear form a new war was a part of there daily life , some think needed to be done to prevent the war on the horizon agents the new enemy on the east.
    There is a connection of the political acceleration and this connection is political regulation. The most interesting thing in the EU is that it’s the first of its kind political subject that can put a side the differences of many people groups form different ethnic cultural and economic background. We can even call it beautiful, when we think of a hundred years ago our ancestors where in a bloody conflict that destroyed the life’s of millions and scared our countless with pain and suffering from decades to come and now i as a free citizen of my free country and my continent can wall to the same place where there were trenches and battle lines , defenders and attackers , and no men will stop me, and no men will fight me, i will not come as a conqueror i will not come as a victor, but as a friend of my European brothers.
    EU comes to being as a new political institution , sugenesis, as a answer of the horrors of the WW2 the civilization contradictions interconnected with the cultural economic crisis , non-stopping conflicted between the national states, the ongoing class struggle in every one of them, and the destroying the fate in the future cultural pessimism. The EU is a the answer of the enlistment of the dialectic of modernity (Adorno). And it's only rational construction as we stated before Europe has the way of war or the way of enlightenment to pick form. In a metaphorical sense we can say that the Kant has defeated Carla Schmitt , the senate has regain supreme over Cesar in the terms of Spengler, power has fallen victim to reason.
    It Exist a connection form the social contradictions and the answer of witch the political form, witch answers of the specifics of the problem, and the cultural context . But if the EU in its genesis and development has forward witch It today's problem that it needs to answer. Today the world is in danger the threats are global. In first hand the global ecological crisis. In second hand the unforgotten horror of the nuclear war in third place the fear of global health crisis, in the context of the globalization .
    The lack of control of the globule capitalism (Huberman) the global capitalistic system is at state of divorcee of capitalism and the liberal democratic.

    In the context of this modern the European institution most answer of the logic of it’s own with more integration witch will let the EU control and even heal the new plague that are benign born in the union. The ghost of Europe past are creeping in and remaining of there existent , we are in a unpleasant situation in which the generations of the past the group of people suffered form the war are slowly despairing and a new generations is coming in to the political seen with its own issues. As it is normal of every new generations it comes and draws the new cultural and political boundaries and its own red lines that will not be cost, my generation seems bolder the the provisos we look fearless, and i hope this is for good i hope in the long run we look for rational approach to our modern problems and don't let our emotions get the better of us, we must step in the shoes of our ancestors and not let our time be marked by the mistakes they made, we must continued the way of the enlightenment principals the way of preserving peace and democracy and helping them in prove

    This integration needs to be form a post near the president, but the only way he can be legitimate he need to be democratically elected. Democracy is the our biggest accomplishment t and the strongest peace keeper we believe in the union, we believe in peace we believe in the principle of the union, we as citizens of Europe what peace and the only logical way to keep the pace and prosperity in the troubling times is with more integration with more democracy with more freedom , the only logical way to continue this pattern is to let the people of Europe act as the engine of there own integration and the next step is for the people to elect the president of the counsel.