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Brexit: An opportunity for democracy

June 27, 2016 • By Andrew Bradley

The people of the United Kingdom have spoken. In many ways, and for years to come, Brexit will have a profound impact on the United Kingdom, European Union (EU) and the world.

Like never before, there is a demand and need for political leadership. Political leaders in the EU and its member states need to act in a calculated, assured and balanced way. This is not a moment to act in a manner that would fuel eurosceptism, but rather a key juncture to establish a positive environment for a balanced, critical and objective reflection on the EU project. By doing this, innovation and change will allow the EU project to further evolve.

Brexit is a call for real and sustainable change. EU leaders need to acknowledge that with humility, and respect for the democratic voice of the people. An important step would be to make the EU more democratic - bring the EU closer to its peoples by addressing the accountability deficit; greater transparency in the deliberations at the Council of Ministers’ meetings; reform the way in which the European Commission is appointed by giving peoples the voice; simplify the institutional framework, and further strengthen the role and credibility of the European Parliament by the establishment of pan-European (trans-European) political parties.

This is an opportunity to establish a more democratic, transparent, representative and efficient EU. The EU project can evolve to become more credible, more popular and more representative of the voice of peoples. To achieve this, there is a need for greater coherence between EU and national leaders, to adhere to the principle of subsidiarity, and to establish an EU for its peoples. By doing this, the EU will be stronger, its democracy improved, and the Union will be in touch with and a powerful voice for its peoples.

This commentary is independent of specific national or political interests. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of International IDEA, its Board or its Council of Member States

About the authors

Former staff member - Andrew Bradley
Director of the Office of International IDEA to the European Union
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