In the run up to the elections to the European Parliament this week, ACELG director Christina Eckes was interviewed by Dutch public Radio 1 late night show 'Met het Oog op Morgen.'
Based on her experience teaching students in the Netherlands and the UK, she talks about the difference in attitude towards the EU between Dutch and British students. and the readiness of her current students to vote in the forthcoming elections.
Asked whether voting matters from the prespective of an individual citizen, Eckes explains that voting for 'those in the centre' is important, because otherwise views of those in the margins of the political spectrum will gain more power.
While it's true that there is back door politics taking place in EU decision- and policy-making, she points out that final proposals need consent by the European Parliament (EP) and are discussed in public. This is one of the ways the EP contributes to more transparancy in the EU.
According to Eckes, the EP has more power than governments of individual member states. Though this doesn't happen often, the EP has the power to stop proposed legislation, as happened with the 'EU-US agreement on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data from the European Union to the United States' in 2010.
Christina Eckes suggests that the European Parliament could communicate more clearly and widely about its own powers. She also recommends that the EP takes a stronger position towards transparaceny in interaction with lobbyists and interest groups.
Listen to the full interview on the NPO Radio 1 website (in Dutch, from 16m 58s).