By Martin Banks - 6th December 2007
The leader of the ALDE group in parliament has called for the creation of a UN parliamentary assembly.
UK MEP Graham Watson says such a body would help promote peace and campaign for human rights throughout the world.
Speaking in parliament on Thursday, he said, "Our aim must be to reform the very core of global governance, partly through a UN parliamentary assembly which would lend legitimacy to international decision making and hold international bodies to account.
"For far too long decisions affecting billions of people have been made by bodies which are spuriously representative at best, and flagrantly unrepresentative at worst.
"The mandates of bodies like the G8 and UN security council have broadened dramatically in recent years without any parallel development in global democracy."
He added, "As such, the world's citizens find themselves increasingly voiceless and disenfranchised."
Watson was speaking at the opening of a two-day debate in parliament, organised by the Non Violent Radical Party, whose two MEP representatives are members of the ALDE group.
Other speakers included Italian justice commissioner Franco Frattini, Italian EU affairs minister Emma Bonino and Annemie Neyts, leader of the pan-European ELDR.
Watson added," Even in the EU, probably the most developed example of supranational governance in the world, absence of parliamentary involvement in key legislative areas has meant that commission proposals pass through council without sufficient public scrutiny.
"We will rectify this democratic deficit when heads of state ratify the reform treaty next week. But we still have a long way to go before global governnance becomes fully democratic."
Italian MEP Marco Pannella, leader of the Radical Party, told the conference, which concludes on Friday, that the "fight for peace" had to embrace the worlds of politics and religion.
"It is not a question of peace being 50 per cent politics, 30 per cent religion and 20 per cent ethics," he told the mostly Italian audience.