Yesterday Britain had a TV-debate on Britain's future in Europe between Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) and Nigel Farage (UKIP) http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26754273 which has been commented here http://opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/sunder-katwala/cleggfarage-debate
What strikes me is that I still see no comparable debate on a European-wide level. The above debate took 1. a strictly utilitarian point of view and was lead 2. only from a national perspective even by the Pro-Europe participant Nigel Clegg. That is a somewhat strange framing for the topic of the debate and it is evenly strange that this is not really an issue of debate itself.
Would it not be much more natural to talk about the future of Europe on a European scale?
It is natural that there are national debates on Europe, these are
worthwhile without question but it is strange that noone seems to
bother to supplement these by a European-wide debate.
This national debates could well be widened by a perspective of asking how do we want to organize ourself politically in Europe in the future to best serve our common interests and values. This debate can only be lead on a European level and if we succeed to get together down-to-earth people from all places. We should find out over time by a common discussion which political topics can be sensibly covered on a European level and how we want to go about this, how the political institutions and procedures and policies should best be designed.
One aspect is the quality of the political institutions.There is a lot of potential for improvement both on European as on national levels. Both levels could learn from each other and both levels should be open for a fresh glance of what makes most sense. In the end this is more a question of political will than of political or legal expertise. If I look at scientific papers on this topic I get the impression that explaining what has been done dominates the commitment to striving for the best political institutions. One example is here http://www.zaoerv.de/64_2004/64_2004_2_a_429_466.pdf (English summary on page 38).
One other aspect is that there might well be cultural differences within Europe how this debate would be taking place. In Britain the "utilization" of Europe seems the main focus, Germans might be more idealistic and try to formulate an attractive vision of Europe. John Locke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism meets Immanuel Kant http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kant .In so far many different approaches could help to get a fuller picture and a much richer discussion. It would in itself be also a step towards getting to know each other better and coming to a better basis to decide which topics suits best the European level and which topics are better covered on national, regional or local level.