I too would have loved to have heard arguments in favour of EU change being made. Unidos Podemos (who some describe as Left populist!) do have the revoking of the Lisbon treaty and the end of the Growth and Stability Pact in their program, the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party) then accuse them of voting against the EU …
I can see what you might be thinking, but it is a really interesting question/dilemma that does need to be resolved. The increased appeal of various populisms across the EU could even be seen as a response to the disappearance of old-school Left/’small c’ conservative opposition within the EU scenario especially since the 80s (Kohl, Thatcher, Miterrand era as alluded to in the article)with the resulting sensation of vulnerability at national level.
I found this article from the European Institute of the LSE very interesting as I have only the vaguest understanding of the development stages of the EU:
“ Since the SEA represented ‘a massive advance’ in the opening of the European markets (30), the EC member states’ autonomy in welfare issues was no longer secure. As the single market became almost a goal in itself, it was possible to argue that many social policy objectives represent non-tariff barriers to trade and as such violate the ‘logic’ of the single market. Consequently, during the next two decades, the EU was able vastly to expand the scope of the single market at the expense of the autonomy of member states to pursue autonomous welfare policies.” (page 14)
“Nevertheless, the new EU constitutional settlement after the SEA and Maastricht Treaty differs from the orthodox Anglo-Saxon neoliberalism. According to van Apeldoorn (52), it represents a continental European-style neoliberalism which combines supranational marketization on the EU level with social elements on the national level, the latter being gradually hollowed out by the former. From a constitutional law perspective, it is important to emphasize that although the new embedded neoliberalism seriously challenges the constitutional balance between open market and social protection, it does not explicitly rule out progressive social policies. As we will see later, on this issue the Rubicon has been crossed with the EU response to the euro crisis.” (my italics,page 20)