There aren't decrees handed down from Brussels. That is not how it works. The EU is not America or Canada where one centralized person is chosen to make decisions and a group of shadowy people make it happen. Nor is it like America or Canada in the sense that a simple majority will do for new laws and new policies.
The spreading out of migrants was a rare emergency decision...and such decisions were agreed to before hand by all countries. This was not a handed-down decision in the sense that all countries agreed that under these conditions a decision had to be made in dealing with the migrants. Some countries generously agreed to take a lot...the more heartless countries were forced to accept a very small portion of them.
When new laws and policy are made...they are done so by consensus if not unanimity in two of the organs and a majority in the third. There is nothing like this in any other union where very long lasting negotiations must take part until every country agrees. Imagine what it would be like in the US when all 50 states had to agree to every law. It is a miracle that decisions are ever made in Brussels by the 27 different members.
The idea that Brussels orders countries to do things...is one born out of the imaginations of UK, Dutch and French anti-EU-philes who little understand the institutions of the Unions and the various unions.
It will be interesting to see Davis Goodman's and Simon Matthews' response to this.
Judith's post makes a lot of valid points. I think everyone can agree that the EU has it's flaws - particularly related to the shenanigans of the "Eurocrats" (as you term them).
It's also true that the Brexit vote has probably made the EU commission reassess things in a way they have not had to before with right-wing parties from other countries energised by the vote to try and have their own referendums.
However, for me, at it's heart the EU is about an idea. It is the idea that a political union between countries helps to strengthen all the countries within it. Of course, like any idea, the implementation of it is fraught with difficulties and open to corruption from individuals. The old adage springs to mind - anyone who actively wants to be a politician is exactly the sort of person we don't want running things.
I voted Remain not because I think the EU is perfect or that it doesn't need reform (I think it does) but because I am in favour of the idea it represents. I don't want the UK/Britain/England to act like some sulky teenager who sits on the edge of things sneering and claiming not to need anything and yet still eating their parents food and living under their roof. We don't get to join in just when it's fun for us. Either you are part of the community or not.
Unfortunately the further removed an individual voter is from the power hierarchy the more the idea of "unelected" officials creeps in. For example, in a general election in the UK we democratically vote for which party comes to power. After we have done that the prime minister chooses his cabinet completely without our input. That's how we ended up with Michael Gove as Education Minister whom everybody hated. Had we had a referendum to vote him out he would have been gone within weeks. There has to be a balance. We, the voter, can't be expected to vote on every single official and policy decision that takes place.
I'm not defending the behaviour of certain EU officials here, just pointing out that the EU is a hugely complex beast. I feel, though, that the benefits that come from a union are tangible and therefore we should stay together and attempt to make the EU better rather than abandoning it.
I also agree with Judith that a lot of ordinary citizens feel let down by the EU and certainly in the UK voters were fed up on issues like immigration and control of "Brussels". However, I don't think the Leavers are going to get what they want. In order to remain trading with Europe (which we have to do) Boris et al are going to have to make a lot of concessions. I really don't see the UK gaining much "independence" from this and I certainly don't foresee ordinary people benefiting. I hope I am wrong.
The fundamental problem I see is that there's still a tribalistic tendency to form nations (and I mean that in the ethnic sense). A Frenchman will always regard himself as very different from an Englishman, even if they hold many of the same ideals, and I think that's primarily due to the fact that they can't communicate with each other, without a lot of very specific education happening beforehand.
I find it difficult to imagine a (say) Czech President of the United States of Europe giving a speech during a crisis that stirs the entire population into action, the sort of real unity of hearts of the common populace. He'd stir his own countrymen, unless he gave it in a different language (and he'd have to be fluent to pull that off) in which case he'd not stir the Czechs.
A powerful central government that takes some sort of action will constantly be second guessed by people; "oh there they go favoring the Germans again." Everything turns into a turd wrangle between aggrieved people. It happens in the US too, but it's not as intense because a Wyomingite has more in common with a New Yorker than a Bulgarian has with a Dutchman. Of course, that wasn't always true; see the run up to our civil war of 1861-65 for an example. (But even there, it looks like the US constitution union held up longer than the EU will.)
So what can Europe be, that is united? (I agree it's a laudable goal.) Something more like Switzerland, a country where four languages are spoken and there doesn't seem to be a lot of internecine bickering in spite of this. But that would involve the central government hardly ever exerting its power in internal affairs. (The Swiss constitution, which I just skimmed, appears to give the cantons rights to decide many things for themselves, however, there's always an "except where necessary" with no details, which an aspiring centralist could drive a battleship through.) Ironically, the Swiss government does have one power the EU does not have, which is the power to handle national defense. It seems to me that the best model when trying to unite disparate peoples is for the overarching government to spend its time dealing with the outside world, rather than constantly meddling in the affairs of its constituent states for the sake of conformity even where none is really needed. (There's one major exception to this, but it's not something that has come up yet and would be a major distraction from topic, so I'll dodge around that rabbit hole for now while acknowledging it exists.)
This explanation of the EU betrays an incredibly shallow understanding of the EU, its organs and how they work. This is the kind of ramble you can copy and paste from anti-EU propaganda from the various Brexit campaigners.
The parliament approves every single new law and policy. They are directly elected. The commission is made up of delegates of the government of their country (elected government) and the council are made up of the presidents (or their ministers) of the countries the represent (also directly elected). The commission works on new laws and policies by unanimity...unless they had agreed earlier to a simply majority for decisions based on previously written laws (agreed to by unanimity). That means every country confirms the new law or policy.
Most sessions are open and their transcripts are easily available online on their website. Most anti-EU-stooges don't even know that, don't care, and certainly don't read them. People who claim it isn't transparant are really complaining that they have to follow and read tons of transcripts to be able to get a good picture of the various laws and policies being worked on (as is in the case of any enormous organization). Thankfully they are many press companies who follow sessions and summarize them and publish them so that people can understand what is happening. The Euronews television station regularly broadcasts new policy and laws being discussed and the details as well as what stage it is in, whats happening in the parliament, commission and council.
I agree the EU civil service is an enormous collection of tecnocrats...but what civil service of a large country or union is not? How could it not be so? If we dissolved all soverignty of the 27 members...then yes...it could shrink. Until then...you need people by the thousands to review laws and policy of all countries, translate documents, analyse how to incorporate new policies into each countries laws and maintain regulations and inspections in an enormous amount of countries, regions, states, municipalities etc.
It is really tiring reading these cliché misinformation about the EU, the so called "elites" (who by the way change much more often than they do in the UK or the US) and the shadowy back door deals. What makes life so frustrating for EU tecnocrats is the very high level of scrutiny it faces from every member...protecting their citizens interests...and the need for unanimity before new laws and policies are made. The tiny Island of malta can simply stop any new law or policy that conflicts with their interests...even if other countries which are virtual giants want it. When people talk about reform in the EU...I always ask them to be extremely specific...what exact reforms are necesary. There is usually no reply.
Providing cookie warnings across all of the EU is a wise decision. We barely regulate the increasingly changing online culture of collecting our data, storing our data to be accessed on our own machines and our data being chopped up and sold...for most people never knowing this has happened.
Advising users that cookies will be stored is utterly the minimum that should be done to regulate predatory data collection. Different countries had from none...to too extreme cookie warning policies. The idea of streamlining them is not a bad idea. First it tempers extreme regulations (like forcing a company to list every tracker in a cookie and that you check a checkbox and click agree) and has some countries introduce laws who never had it.
What's of most benifit...is to se to what extent these countries are willing to start regulating big data, to what extent they are willing to compromise with the other countries. The cookie regulation sets a foundation for further discussions on real regulations. The EU tends to deal with this kind of regulation before most other countries (Canada copies some of these laws if they work well for example). A cookie law (and all the information learnt about the countries stances) and what has been learnt form experts narrates what happens next.
At any given moment there are dozens and dozens of laws and policies being considered. Some of them truly are rediculous and petty...I don't think the cookie one is.
Don't misunderstand me. I wasn't arguing for or against the merits of the ruling. I work as a software developer and understand about data security. I was using it as an example of a rule that I think should be handled by individual countries. By all means, the EU can give their guidelines.
Conversely imagine what would happen if small-minded people like in England didn't honour the freedom of movement of EU people. This would affect the unity of the EU. This is the sort of policy the EU is right to mandate on.
Ultimately...if there are some hold-outs...then the law or policy won't be passed. It only reaches this stage once there is a clear need for it.
The cookie is just step one...on the way to a broader policy. In general...especially when standing upto lobbys and big business interest...the block is much more able to deal with agressive resistance by forming a policy as a whole together. For example...extortionate cell phone roaming charges. All countries found this obscene and worked together on it. Now...in the EU you can mostly use your phone anywhere (including in an emergency) without running out of your 20€ credit in one minute. The point is...trying this as one individual country can be very difficult as companies in other countries would be unwilling to honour the low fees. As a whole...it was easily passed and just about everyone benifited from a fair set of roaming charges for what is usually a cartel of three mobile companies in most countries abusing their position.
The same will happen with big data. If say...only France decides to curtail it...then tec companies can simply move to another country (say Estonia) and based there be able to skirt all of the french laws. As a block...if there is consensus that there should be a law, and ultimately with unanimity a law, then they share their resources, problems, research and ultimately their collective power to enforce the policy as a major player in the global market. Ultimately...as with the anti-monopoly fines against Microsoft and Google show...with this power they were able to fine these two companies for gross anti-trust behaviour...in a way that they couldn't without working as a block. Since then...at least some of their behaviour has been tamed. I believe the same would happen with a broader policy on big data. With that law and policy...companies will simply have to honour these laws as no company will be in a position to ignore big data laws unless they are up to losing half a billion customers. Of course they may find a way around it (probably wil) but atleast the foundation of a collective big data tracking law is established...as well as the mechanism to have it evolve without all 27 countries coming together and meeting every single time a problem comes up. Thats where the big bloated tecnocrats come in.
But remember...that will only happen in all the countries agree. The fact that there is a broad law on cookies tells you that there was consensus on the idea and ultimately unanimity on the decision.
There is a very good book written in 1995 by Bernard Connolly called " The Rotten Heart Of Europe: The Dirty War For Europe's Money". He worked for many years in the European Commission, becoming head of the unit responsible for analysis of the European Monetary System. Everything he predicted in his book has happened, but he gives one some very good insight into the working of the minds of EU Elites.
I think Brexit is some type of laxative. I will check and get back to you.