democratic deficit

How timing can change democratic decisions in the EU

One strategy for addressing the EU’s democratic deficit is to provide a greater role for civil society actors in decision-making. However, as Corrado Fumagalli explains, the simple participation of civil society groups in EU policymaking is not enough to confer democratic legitimacy. It is also vital that they participate at key stages of the policy process.

The inclusion of civil […]

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Is the EU really run by unelected bureaucrats?

Much of the UK’s referendum debate has focused on the extent to which EU decision-making is democratic, with the European Commission a source of particular criticism from leave campaigners on the basis that it is unelected. Simon Hix writes that while there are legitimate problems with the EU’s system of democracy, there is little to justify the idea that […]

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    How the ‘red card’ system could increase the power of national parliaments within the EU

How the ‘red card’ system could increase the power of national parliaments within the EU

One of the reforms included in the deal negotiated by David Cameron in February was the provision of a so called ‘red card’ system, under which national parliaments would be able to veto new EU legislation if 55% of parliaments registered opposition. Ian Cooper writes that while some have argued the system would be rarely used, it should be […]

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    The EU policymaking paradox: Citizen participation is a must, but the shaping of policies has become too technical

The EU policymaking paradox: Citizen participation is a must, but the shaping of policies has become too technical

Criticism related to the EU’s democratic deficit became more prominent in the aftermath of the financial crisis. According to Firat Cengiz, it is crucial for European citizens to become more involved in policymaking processes if this deficit is to be overcome. However, she points at an inherent problem affecting areas such as competition policy, where the increasing prominence of overly technical language has […]

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    Solving the EU’s democratic deficit would help revive democracy at the national level

Solving the EU’s democratic deficit would help revive democracy at the national level

The European Union has often been accused of having a ‘democratic deficit’, but what measures would actually improve EU democracy? William Outhwaite writes on theoretical models of democracy and how they might be applied to EU politics. He notes that while the democratic problems associated with the EU policy process are very real, strong leadership from within the EU’s […]

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    The European Union does not have a democratic deficit – it has a democratic surplus

The European Union does not have a democratic deficit – it has a democratic surplus

The European Union has often been accused of having a ‘democratic deficit’. Sir Robert Cooper writes that what the EU actually suffers from is a ‘democratic surplus’: elections are held, but turnout remains extremely low due to a lack of interest among citizens. As national parliaments appear to bring greater legitimacy than the European Parliament, he argues that the […]

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    The European Parliament is a failed experiment in pan-European democracy – national parliaments are the key to solving the democratic deficit

The European Parliament is a failed experiment in pan-European democracy – national parliaments are the key to solving the democratic deficit

Strengthening the European Parliament has often been viewed as the best method of addressing the EU’s alleged ‘democratic deficit’. Stephen Booth writes that while this perspective has led to the Parliament’s powers being increased successively over recent decades, the effect of these reforms on democratic engagement among EU citizens has been limited. He argues that boosting the role of […]

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    Strengthening the role of citizens and national parliaments in decision-making is key to solving the EU’s democratic deficit

Strengthening the role of citizens and national parliaments in decision-making is key to solving the EU’s democratic deficit

The European Union has often been accused of having a ‘democratic deficit’. Ahead of the European elections on 22-25 May, Chris Terry outlines proposals put forward by the Electoral Reform Society in the UK for improving EU democracy. Among other reforms, he suggests that improving the representativeness of MEPs by using open-list voting systems, increasing the accountability of the […]

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April 30th, 2014|Chris Terry|0 Comments|

Strengthening the role of national parliaments in EU decision-making is not the way to improve the EU’s legitimacy

Turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen significantly since the first elections in 1979. This has led some politicians and commentators to suggest that integrating national parliaments into the EU’s legislative process may be a more effective method for improving the EU’s legitimacy. Jon Worth argues that the logic underpinning such arguments is undermined by the fact that national elections […]

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Five minutes with Mats Persson: “National parliaments are the solution to the EU’s democratic deficit”

European Parliament elections are due to be held in May 2014. Ahead of the elections, EUROPP’s Managing Editor Stuart Brown spoke to Mats Persson, the Director of Open Europe, about his views on the European Parliament, the role of national parliaments in the integration process, and whether the efforts to reform the European Union advocated by British Prime Minister David […]

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The EU may have a democratic deficit, but national governments are facing an even greater legitimacy crisis

Trust in the EU has declined in several countries since the start of the financial crisis in 2007. Using Eurobarometer data, Besir Ceka compares trust in the EU with the trust citizens place in the national governments of EU states. He notes that while both have declined during the crisis, most states still show higher levels of trust in the […]

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The European Citizens’ Initiative encourages civil society organisations to engage with the public on European issues

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) was launched in May 2012 with the aim of allowing EU citizens to participate more effectively in EU decision-making. Individuals can request that the European Commission proposes an item of legislation at the European level, provided that the initiative is backed by at least one million citizens. Luis Bouza Garcia argues that while very few […]

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The EU should take inspiration from Switzerland in its attempts to increase democratic legitimacy.

One perceived problem for the democratic legitimacy of the EU is that linguistic diversity across Europe makes it difficult for there to be a viable European democratic community. Joseph Lacey assesses the potential for the EU to take inspiration from multilingual Switzerland in its attempts to strengthen the democratic legitimacy of the EU policy process. He argues that, much like […]

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The growing importance of the EU in national politics means that political union can only succeed with the public’s support

The continuing crisis in the eurozone has strengthened calls for greater economic, fiscal and political union in the EU. But what is political union, and is it even feasible given that Europe’s citizens do not seem to favour deeper political integration? Sara Hobolt and Olaf Cramme argue that European leaders face a dilemma: the crisis demands more centralised powers, but […]

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The EU is not fundamentally undemocratic; it simply needs to be judged by a different democratic standard than nation-states.

A common criticism of the European Union is that it suffers from a democratic deficit. Francis Cheneval and Frank Schimmelfennig argue that much of this criticism stems from applying standards of democracy relevant to individual nation-states, rather than a community of states like the EU. The fact that the EU brings together multiple different electorates ensures that a different model […]

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Low turnout in European Parliament elections is driven by the perception that the process is not rewarding enough for voters.

Turnout in elections to the European Parliament has been consistently lower than the turnout in national elections. Peter Grand and Guido Tiemann analyse the factors which keep EU citizens away from the polls by assessing data from the recent 2009 European Parliament election survey. They conclude that many EU citizens find European elections insufficiently rewarding and that the perceived benefits […]

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The ECB is hampered by a lack of democratic legitimacy, despite being responsible for policies hugely consequential for the lives of European citizens.

When the ECB was created, it was intended to be an independent and apolitical institution that would oversee the running of the single currency. Kathleen R. McNamara argues, however, that far from dealing with purely technical issues, the ECB is the key player in a crisis that is inherently political. Its actions have significant distributional effects, yet the ECB […]

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EU leaders need to confront the political dilemmas of the Eurozone crisis

Alongside economic issues, there is also a political dimension to the Eurozone crisis. Renaud Thillaye emphasises the importance of this political debate and highlights the key questions which must be addressed by European policymakers as part of any solution. The potential for the crisis to deepen socio-economic divergences between member states, and the future relationship between Eurozone countries and the […]

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Brussels blog round up for 2 – 8 June 2012: Banking union, a revival for the European left, and do we need to protect small businesses?

Chris Gilson and Julian Kirchherr take a look at the week in Brussels blogging. The EU Centre Does the European Union (EU) need a directly elected President of the European Commission? Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s Federal Minister of Finance believes that such a directly elected President would contribute to “the much needed development of a European Political Union”. Nosemonekey’s EUtopia is sympathetic to Schäuble’s […]

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