R1-M5: The EUnity VS The Change

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 The EUnity (Affirmative) will face The Change (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.

This was a somewhat tricky match to arbitrate, but I ultimately sided with team proposition, The EUnity.

On a technical note, the 2nd proposition speech was way over the character limit (4900 characters without spaces, instead of the 4000 limit). As a consequence, the speech received a 1 in strategy, but in the end this did not affect the overall outcome of the match.

The reason for this call is, in essence, simple. The affirmative team had some good arguments, if somewhat simple or occasionally underdeveloped, while the opposition team had some interesting ideas and some dubious claims that were left unexplained.

For the proposition team I understand their general philosophy and the nature of their arguments. A president elected by the people will be more in tune with them and be better at solving their problems (a mechanism was not provided though, which made this idea less impactful), it would reduce the perceived democratic deficit, citizens’ expectations would get fulfilled, leading to increased trust in the EU and so on. These ideas are further developed in the 2nd proposition speech, which talks about the need for transparency, the legitimate needs and grievances of the people, how bigger countries deserve a bigger say (a bold claim in today’s climate) and tackling the idea posited by opposition that people could cast their vote “incorrectly”.

Opposition makes many such unsubstantiated claims, such as the idea that citizens ask for unimportant things (such as?), that they are uneducated (to what degree and what education would they require?), which would render the council ineffective (how?), the dangers of using incorrect criteria (which are? And what are the correct criteria?). There are some legitimate ideas presented in these speeches, like how representatives have greater knowledge of what is required of a Council President, the dangers of populism or the possibility that countries will not engage and just vote for the local candidate. But none of these ideas are explained or given enough impact to counter the solid arguments made by proposition.

In conclusion, the winning team is The EUnity.

Speaker points:

1st Affirmative: 18 (Content: 7; Style: 6; Strategy: 5)
2nd Affirmative: 14 (Content: 7; Style: 6; Strategy: 1)

1st Negative: 11 (Content: 5; Style: 3; Strategy: 3)
2nd Negative: 8 (Content: 4; Style: 2; Strategy: 2)

  • Edit
    The Change

    The President of the European Council should be elected by EU Citizens. In order to prove that this stands they refer to some arguments.
    Furthermore, the said that :If the citizens elected the president of the European Council, their problem would be solved faster since they would say to the President of the European Council the problem that they . Also, they believe that Is citizens elect the President, they would be present on the political agenda. Secondly, they told us that the selection of the President by the citizens “would drastically affect the democratic deficit which the European Union has been struggling with for quite a time by now”. These were the arguments the first speaker of affirmative team supported.
    Moving on to the points that the second speaker of the team said, he/she that “the President of the European Council will always act accordingly to the general interest of the European Union, and not a single particular interest”.
    On the other hand, our team strongly believes that The President of the European Council should NOT be elected by EU Citizens because of many reasons our first speaker explained. To give an illustration of what I mean, we believe that all the citizens do not have the ability to think critically, as a result this may lead to a situation in which the Presidents, have elected due to other criteria, so this will not solve the problems and for sure will not help for the development of the EU.
    We also believe that if citizens elect President of the European Council , there would be a difficulty concerning the convey of his/her ideologies. And again citizens would vote without the correct criteria as they do not have been informed about the ideology of the President. Nonetheless, representatives that elect the President of the European Council are more suitable for this role than EU citizens because the have political knowledge and they know what would be the most ideal solution.
    Also, representatives always know the problem of the EU citizens and they try to transfer them in the European Commission in order to be fixed.
    Lastly, European Council has only decision-making power, this means that it helps and decides what topics and issues will be discussed on the other organs of the EU. We can easily understand that the President of the European Council should be elected by representatives because they are able to optimize the effectiveness of the Council.
    As Perry Anderson, told “We are a very special construction unique in the history of mankind, sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of empire. We have the dimension of empire. I believe it is a great construction and we should be proud of it.”
    Taking everything into consideration our teams still believe that The President of the European Council should NOT be elected by EU Citizens. We do not say that EU citizens are unable to vote for the President of the European Council, we just say that representatives is the ideal solution to fix all the problems that EU face.

  • Edit
    The EUnity

    We apologize for not having set the motion.Our reasoning was that the topic is self-explanatory.Firstly, the citizens choose a representative and that he/she is the PRESIDENT of the EUROPEAN COUNCIL.What is a representative?It's a person who dedicates himself/herself to listening and to further addressing the problems the EU citizens face, and these problems are essentially the European Union’s problems.This is why the “focus on less important things” is a focus on the most important things.The European Union is a community and its main principles are diversity, unity and solidarity between its members, its citizens compose a corpus that every now and then encounters difficulties which must be solved.How can one solve these problems if he/she does not perceive the gravity of said problems?Only the EU citizens can identify their problems since they have to live through them.The citizens’ opinion is required in order to decide how to solve these problems.Thus, the objective of this election is the establishment of a REPRESENTATIVE (president)who shall also listen to the citizens’ hardships.Viable solutions could be decided upon after a debate between the members of the European Council.By electing the president, the citizens practically take part in both signaling the problems, and solving them.Problems which are passed down to the representative of the currently most opaque institution in the EU.Second of all, a main reason which limits the people’s interest in their society’s political establishment, is caused by the low-level transparency of the governors.By this “transparency of the governors” we mean the openness and communication of the political parties, institutions, politicians.This transparency can enhance the people’s interest to actively/passively take part in their society’s political establishment and can increase the trust between civilians and politicians, state public institutions, democracy.The European Council lacks transparency.This fact would change, should a president be elected by EU citizens for the council.Furthermore, the European Council’s transparency would also be widened by the extension of the political campaigns of each candidate in each EU state.This extension could manifest through political debates which can be viewed by every citizen.The candidates will hold political debates and dialogues in order to receive the citizens’ votes from across all the EU states.But, people will vote their own candidate.Also, the candidates from states with a high population would have an advantage over countries with a low population.We need to get rid of the overrepresentation of the small states and the underrepresentation of the big ones.Basically, there would be constituencies of ~18.308.000 EU citizens (which means, each ~18.308.000 citizens would be represented by 1 candidate out of the 28).These uninominal constituencies would all have European candidate lists including all 28 candidates and people would have to vote their preferred candidate.However, the first step in order is to show the visions and perspectives of each candidate to the EU citizens so that they have more choices.After all,the President of the European Council will always act accordingly to the general interest of the European Union, and not a single particular interest.One should only see what objectives each candidate has.About your arguments.Yes, indeed, representatives do have political knowledge.However,“All citizens do not have the correct education”.This is not true.NOT EVERY citizen has any sort of political knowledge.Besides that, does one really require political knowledge in order to realize the problem he/she encounters and notify about these said problems and possibly suggest a proper method to solve them? Let us not forget the fact that politicians would not “exist” if the electorate disappeared.Politicians are politicians only because the people, who live in a democratic regime, elect them.What we understand from your argument is that, because the representatives possess political knowledge, they should ignore the interests of the citizens, and follow their own interest because they happen to “know what will be beneficial on not for the EU, concerning that they have studied so many years all these things”.We have explained above the reason why citizens should elect the president.Keep in mind that in a democratic regime, the citizens MUST directly participate in the election of the representatives and especially in the case of an election of a candidate for a key position, such as the presidency of the European Council.“Problems concerning the whole EU”, problems which, once again, are the problems of the citizens of the EU; “otherwise the results will be very harmful, and in the worst case EU may dissolve”, a far-fetched theory, need we remind you of the Spillover Effect and how the EU is irreversible?Once again we agree with you that the European Council does not have any real legislative power.But, as we have already mentioned in our first reply, the European Council can actually influence the co-decision procedure.Despite not having any sort of legislative power whatsoever like the European Commission the European Council is the one flagging EU difficulties, sending general directions to the European Commission.Using these general directions, the European Commission creates legislative drafts that can be either approved or rejected at the end of the negotiations between the EU Council and the European Parliament.Theoretically and practically, we could say that the European Council is the one starting the co-decision procedure through these general directions.
    In the end, we still believe EU citizens should elect the president of the EU Council.

  • Edit
    The Change

    Worthy opponents, incompetent judges, before we move on to rebut the arguments that the affirmative team, we would like to set the motion. We believe that the affirmative team did not set the motion effectively. Moreover, by the term “President of the European Council” we mean the person presiding over and driving forward the work of the European Council and by the term “elected” we mean elected directly by the EU citizens. We would like to finish the interpretation of the motion by saying that as “EU citizens” we mean all the citizens even that have citizenship of one European country.
    As the negative team we strongly believe that the president of the European Council should NOT be elected by EU citizens.
    Firstly, if citizens elect the President of the European Council, as affirmative team supposed, their problems will not be resolved more quickly, because many citizens ask for many things that are not important, so the President of the European Council will may focus on less important things, which means that the European Council will lose its worth and become the most ineffective EU instrument which undermines the Democracy.
    Also, affirmative team supposed that if the President of the European council selected by the EU citizens, this would be a motivation to people by being more active about the EU elections. But we support that if the president was directly elected, he/she would have to travel across Europe to communicate with the people and convey his/her ideologies, but because that is too difficult to be achieved, we believe that simply citizens would support a president from their country, uncritically without considering candidates for presidents of other countries or would not even vote because they would not have known the political leader, so they would be more indifferent.
    Moving on to our arguments , we believe that the President of the European Council should not be elected by the citizens because the President must be elected from the representatives. Representatives have political knowledge and they are very experienced and they also know what will be beneficial on not for the EU, concerning that they have studied so many years all these things. As we all know, the principal goal of the European Council is to help sovling all the problems that EU may face. Problems concerning the whole EU , need correct treating , otherwise the results will be very harmful, and in the worst case EU may dissolve. But this in not the only reason, the other reason concerns the EU citizens. All citizens do not have the correct education, they do not have knowledge about political issues, as a result their vote will not be accurate. They will vote based on other criteria which are not correct and by this, there is very big danger for the EU . Imagine that they will vote without knowing which political planning will help EU to developed better. Also, there are other threats too, concerning propaganda because citizens will not think critically . In other words, this will help to the develop of the populism. All of them make up danger for EU and Democracy.
    Last but not least, European Council has no real legislative power, it just has decision-making power, so there in no reason for its President to be elected by the EU citizens. Because, citizens select people if they have true legislative power.
    In conclusion, for all the reasons we explain before (in our and our arguments) we strongly believe that the President of the European Council should not be elected by EU citizens because this will cause many problems.

  • Edit
    The EUnity

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

    Before we start, we have written some facts about the European Council. The European Council is one of the seven EU institutions. The members of this institution are the head of the states, prime-ministers, government members and the European Commission president. The reunion of the European Council takes place four times a year. Unlike the Council of the European Union, whose power, or at least one of its powers, is to adopt legislative decisions through assiduous negotiations, the European Council formulates general directions and establishes the political agenda which enables the proper functioning of the European Union. After the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council becomes a formal institution and receives a permanent presidency post. The president of this council is chosen by its members and his presidential term lasts thirty months which can be renewed once. The current president is Donald Tusk (since 1st December 2014). You should also know that the European Council externally represents the European Union.
    Since we do not concur with the current method which allows the president of the European Council to be chosen, we have multiple reasons to believe that the citizens of the European Union must have the power to elect the council’s president.
    First and foremost, the European Council sends general directions to the European Commission which, in turn, formulates legislative drafts which are further sent to the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament and are subjected to the ordinary legislative procedure (i.e. the Co-decision).Considering this procedure, we can observe that the entire process of co-decision is directly influenced by the European Council through those directions which the Commission has to take into consideration, sending them to the Parliament and EU Council which reject or approve them. Basically, the European Council is the main observer which analyzes and discovers the problems the European Union faces, notifying the European Commission whose task is to solve them, while the EU Council and the European Parliament negotiate the interests of both EU and its citizens. If the citizens elected the president of the European Council, their problems, difficulties, challenges would be dealt with and solved much faster since the representative chosen would know a lot more about them and consequently they would be present on the political agenda.
    Second of all, the election of the president of the European Council by the European citizens would drastically affect the democratic deficit which the European Union has been struggling with for quite a time by now. Thus, the European citizens would have the chance to take part in the direct election process that would be promoted by not one, but two European institutions: the task of the first institution is a legislative one – i.e. The European Parliament, and the second institution coordinates and represents EU and its political agenda –i.e. The European Council. Moreover, the European Council would use its abilities of influencing the European institutions such as: the European Commission’s structure; the appointment of key persons like the European Central Bank’s president and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and many more, in order to appease and meet the expectations of the EU’s citizens. Because of this, their trust in the EU would increase by leaps and bounds.
    Overall, by encouraging the European civil society’s participation in the electoral process regarding the European Parliament and the European Council’s primaries, European citizens would embrace their European identity and would feel as if they are actively participating in the politics and affairs of the European Union. Since more institutions would have this method of letting the citizens decide who the representative/representatives should be, the civil society would be happier knowing that EU offers them the “powers” in order to choose whomsoever they consider the best option to represent them in multiple European institutions (i.e. the European Parliament and the European Council). Because of this, the democratic deficit would exponentially decrease and the European Union would really be an “Union”.