The pledge campaign of Democracy International aimed at building pressure on the candidates for the European Parliament (EP) to commit to real democratic reform of the EU.
Institutional democratic reforms can only be made with a Convention. As the EP has the right to call for a Convention since the Lisbon Treaty, our campaign put pressure on the candidates to call for a Convention if elected into the new parliament.
By signing the pledges, the candidates promised: (a) to support an EP initiative for an open and inclusive Convention to reform the treaties for a more democratic EU, and (b) to call for a pan-European referendum on the results of the Convention, giving the European citizens a say on the future of Europe.
More than 1200 candidates pledged their commitment, of which 114 were elected into the new parliament. Of the 114 MEPs, 68 were re-elected and 46 were new to the Parliament; 31% are S&D, 25% are from Greens/EFA, 13% from GUE/UEF, 9% ALDE, and 3% EPP.
After the elections and the dramatic increase in populist, eurosceptic parties in the EP, almost all MEPs that had signed our pledge took a step back from their commitments, claiming it too big of a danger to have a non-controlled democratic debate in such a political climate.
Brexit has been a wakeup call that the EU cannot continue with business as usual, and that serious reforms are needed to make the institutions more democratic and closer to the people.
For this we need a broad dialogue that takes place at all levels and is coordinated by the EP, as chamber of the citizens in the EU. The proposals developed in such a dialogue should be the basis on which the EP then calls for a Convention. The Convention is to discuss and agree on the proposals, and all European citizens should then vote on the resulting EU constitution.