Institutions and Policy of the EU
Topic: Is there a democratic deficit in the EU?
"A democratic deficit occurs when democratic organizations or institutions in fact fall short of fulfilling what are believed to be the principles of democracy."1 Having this in mind, many claim that the governance and decision-making of the European Union lacks democratic legitimacy. Are these allegations true? Or is the democratic deficit of the EU just a myth?
In order to establish if there is democratic deficit within the EU, first we should define what democratic deficit is. The standard version of democratic deficit involves 4 main claims: the European parliament is too weak, the executive has increased power, the Union is distant from the voters and there is lack of reflection of voters’ preferences. These 4 points will be analyzed from the perspective of the current institutional setup of the European Union.
The European Parliament (EP) is the body in the EU that represents peoples’ interests. Although in the beginning it was consisted of delegates from the national parliaments from the member states of the Union and had merely consultative role, since 1979 the Members of the EP are directly elected by the citizens of the EU. Furthermore, with the consecutive Treaties its legislative power has significantly increased, and after the Lisbon Treaty the parliament has equal legislative power with the Council and in many areas an act cannot be adopted without the approval of the European Parliament. These same traits exist at some national parliaments, like the US House of Representatives. So the Parliament today has a big say in the decision-making process, and since it is directly elected by the European citizens, this increases the democratic legitimacy of the Union.
The increased executive power and a decrease in parliamentary control is the core claim of the standard version of democratic deficit. The argument for this claim is the following:...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document