REFERENDA: why not have counter-referenda ?
I have never been a friend of referenda. But I start to like the idea of having counter-referenda in the European Union whenever there is a referendum coming up to decide something unilaterally.
In my view referenda lack nearly all safeguards against a short-circuit of populism. However, if others insist on having referenda in their national states deciding on issues with Europe-wide consequences, then it is just logical to use that instrument for all others too:
My proposal would be: whenever in any EU member country a referendum is held binding the national government to pursue a certain policy towards the EU – e.g. to keep a specific position in negotiations – then we should hold a referendum on the question whether that position is acceptable to us – or not. It is an unsound assymmetry if another government is bound through a popular vote in a way leaving nearly no space for compromise, while on our side there is a government having all flexibility in the negotiation. If „popular diplomacy“ is wanted, then please have it on all sides. Therefore there should be referenda and counter-referenda as long and as often as necessary to completely finish negotiations with a solution suitable and acceptable for everybody. It must be tried to negotiate directly from people to people what today is negotiated by diplomats representing their governments.
Does anybody say this will not work ? Referenda are popular – and negotiations are as trivial as haggling on a flea market – everybody knows that – or ?
And if it really does not work ? Then we could hold a referendum on either abolishing referenda or abolish the EU.
(for those with a humour allergy: please do not take this too serious!)