Commenting on the democratic aspirations of the European Parliament, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, said in an interview with the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, “The difference between the Parliament and those who really decide is very clear to citizens.”
If there was still a need for proof that a lack of respect for democracy by European leaders is a major part of the European crisis, Van Rompuy provided it with this sentence. This attitude hasn't served the people of Europe.
We Greens have long argued that democracy must be reinvigorated at both national and European levels. Citizens must have a direct influence on EU decision-making.
The upcoming EU election offers a democratic innovation. 'Spitzenkandidaten,' the leading candidates each European political family has put forward, are directly competing across the EU over the direction that Europe should take over the next five years. Whoever among them will after the election be able to gain the support from a majority of members of the European Parliament shall be nominated and elected President of the European Commission.
European leaders would, if they tried to block this democratic change, create a veritable institutional crisis and undermine the European voters' choice. They will not dare.
Our own Green leading candidates, Ska Keller and José Bové, are touring the EU in their campaign to drive home the point that Van Rompuy doesn't get: It's democracy!