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Parliaments are the heart of any democracy. They are the places where the elected representatives of the citizens meet and engage in political debate. In the European Parliament this is sometimes not quite so successful. Often there is no real exchange, no real debate. I want to change that!
The European Parliament is a powerful institution. Nevertheless, many people hardly notice what happens in the meeting rooms in Brussels and Strasbourg. The mismatch between visibility and power of the Parliament is a problem for European democracy. It is not the citizens who are to blame. The blame lies with the institution, which is exemplary in its transparency, but does not manage to reach the people.
The European Parliament lacks a genuine culture of speech and debate. And I want to change that. I am committed to ensuring that the Parliament becomes a place of genuine political debate. A place where all the rules of democracy are applied. A place where the best arguments are convincing and the best solutions are found in exchange.
Together with the Young Europeans, an informal working group of young MEPs from four different political groups, I have drawn up proposals to reform the way Parliament works. We need more time for real speeches. We need the possibility for speakers to speak to the plenary from the front — and not just from their seats as is currently the case. We need more rights for interposed questions and shouts. And the right to cross-examine Commissioners and Ministers. Above all, however, what is needed is the willingness of the members of parliament to fill the parliament with life.
Citizens can only be reached through a real debate. And that is what a healthy democracy needs!