I am more and more bothered by those eurosceptic populists who like to portray the EC as a distant and uncontrollable beast, which comes up with stupid and irrational regulations. Once again, it is true that the Commission is a bit far away from the citizens, but is it not due in part to the laziness of European citizens?
The European Commission is in fact very much accountable to the citizens (also known as the Taxpayers) in several ways:
- The European Parliament
- The Member States
- The Court of Auditors
- The Ombudsman
On many matters where treaties have given the EC the initiative on legislation, the Commission is quite autonomous in spending its bugdet. However, the Parliament has a "Droit de Regard", and many MEP do not refrain from asking a lot of questions. On our side we are required to give an answer to every single request (even the stupidest) fast.
This is what I call democracy and accountability. It surely happens at the national level in some countries, but rest assured that the crazy officials that we are, are controlled by a democratic body...
I actually welcome this scrutiny, because it just reminds us that policy isn't just a theoretical exercise. It might be harder to work through the politics of the Parliament, but it is much healthier. I quite enjoy when some colleagues get rebuffed by their parliament committee, thinking that their proposal was so well thoughts... That is not how it works, fortunate. It happens to me once as well, not so long ago where a proposal was put forward not in line with the objectives of the regulations, we tried as best as we could to disguise our text... but it was magnificently rejected by the relevant parliament committee. To be honest, it is often that we receive political pressure from cabinets, some times from ass-kissing directors, and we do appreciate when the MEPs come to rescue us.
So really, nothing does piss me off more that those people who just either don't vote at the European elections or vote useless parties and then complaint that Brussels is going too far. No vote, no voice!!!