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Democratic Deficit in the Eu

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Democratic Deficit in the Eu

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  • April 2012
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Does the EU suffer from a democratic deficit? If so, can it be solved by conferring greater powers on the European parliament? -------------------------------------------------

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The ‘standard version’ of the democratic deficit formulated by Weiler, consisting of the increased role of the executive Commission in matters of legislation, the weakness of the European Parliament (hereafter the EP), the lack of ‘European’ elections, EU distance to public scrutiny and voters, and finally ‘policy drifting’ by the executive non-compliant to voter interests, has and continues to be a major target of criticism within the field of European Union (the EU) law. The matter is of utmost importance in light of the implications of such in the EU legislative process involving the EP and its perceived lack of substantive necessity despite reforms seeking to remedy such.

Since the establishment of supremacy in EU law by the European Court of Justice in Van Gend en Loos and Costa, it is primarily the law-making process of the EU itself that drives the debate on the perceived lack of democracy. Central to all of this is the complexity of the process that casts doubt upon its democratic legitimacy. Despite the Treaty of Lisbon (Lisbon) remedying much of the loathsome deficit, effort is still required as overwhelming flaws in the democratic legitimacy of the EU persist to which no single remedy is available. The most significant feature of the complexity of EU law-making throughout its various stages concerns the intra-EU balance of powers which furthers the debate on the democratic deficit. As such, focus must be placed upon the structure and function of the primary EU institutions which are undoubtedly interlinked to the claims of a democratic gap in the law-making process. Factors of representation, electoral politics and public scrutiny are also matters of importance and potentially propose a contrary account to the...