Premium Essay

How Democratic Is the European Union

In: Other Topics

Submitted By Anne0505
Words 824
Pages 4
How democratic is the European Union?

The concept of democracy refers to the involvement of the people in political decision-making and also includes the ability of the citizens to hold their representatives to account, which are usually achieved through elections. Whether the European Union is democratic has been seen as a controversial question by a lot of people in the world. To some extent, the European Union can be described as democratic. Whereas, some people supposed that there is still a lack of democracy in some areas.

The idea that the EU suffers from a democratic deficit is widely supported in academic circles. One of the reason why is that the EU institutions are remote for the people. The relationship between institutions is unclear and difficult to grasp. What’s more, some jargons are used in the EU, such as “double-majority”, “co-decision” and so on, which is complicated for the people to understand. All of these lead to citizens can not be involved in decision-making sufficiently. In addition, there is a lack of transparency within the EU, in other words, there are a lot of secrecies exist in the EU. Hence, the EU has always been an “elite project” driven forward by “ top decision makers with little popular enthusiasm for below”. Secondly, the powers of the EP is limited. As the only directly elected EU institution, are weaker than those of other institutions. The EP is unable to propose legislation and only has the power to propose amendments to laws. Elections for the EP also suffer from a low turnout (in the UK only 34.7% of people voted in the 2009 EP election), so many citizens are not accepting the opportunity to influence decision-making. Therefore, the essence of the democratic deficit is defined as the transfer of power from elected to unelected bodies. E.g. from the Westminster Parliament to the European Commission. In addition, each...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

‘Is There a Democratic Deficit at the Heart of the Eu?’

...‘Is there a democratic deficit at the heart of the EU?’ Plan: Intro: -What is a democratic deficit? The European Union (EU) is a unique economic and political union of 27 member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU operates through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states. Important institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Central Bank. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens. It is often implied that the EU has a withholds some elements of a democratic deficit. A democratic deficit can be described as when a democratic institution or organisation, is seen as not fulfilling its democratic foundations when the operations and practices of that organisation become potentially undemocratic. A good example of this in the UK would be the view that the House of Lords increases the UK Parliaments democratic deficit, as the peers that sit in the House of Lords are neither elected nor accountable. I shall depict in the following essay both the arguments that provide the basis for there being a democratic deficit within the EU, and those that suggest that the EU has become/is more democratic than made out to be. Main body: - Elite domination is often a widely discussed cause of the democratic deficit within the EU. Germany and......

Words: 1353 - Pages: 6

Free Essay


...The decision of the Ukrainian president to deny political ties to the European Union stirred a lot of controversy within Ukraine. The controversy inevitably divided the country into two groups, those who are pro democratic and support ties to the European Union, and those who support the already deep-rooted political ties with Russia, which is the government and its forces. The conflict intensified as months passed, and violence between the two groups became an issue. By analyzing this current event, the psychological elements of situational attribution, conflict, and deinviduation, can be applied to both sides of the situation in Ukraine to justify their actions and behavior. The conflict in Ukraine arose when the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, denied a trade pact offered by the European Union. As a result of the action taken by the president, pro democrats who urged the ties to the EU protested in Independence Square of Kiev, while authorities attempted to suppress them. As the conflict intensified with no solution being brought to the table, aggressive pro democrat protests resulted in a clash with authorities in independence square on February 19th . Surrounding buildings were set on fire, rocks were thrown at riot police, and activists were being shot dead. The fighting between the mostly masked activists and government forces resulted in 21 total deaths. The formation of pro democratic activist groups and actions taken by them and authorities can be......

Words: 893 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Have Western Liberal Democracies Effectively Responded to Challenges to Their Power? in Your Answer, Refer to at Least One Internal and One External Challenge.

...fundamentalist awaiting the rapture, but rather, he saw with the collapse of the Soviet Union the ultimate and final triumph of liberal democracy. Fukuyama draws on Marxist and Hegelian interpretations of the narrative of history as one of progress, in this case with its apex at the liberal democracy best represented by the United States of America. The triumphalism of this context may seem naïve in a post-9/11 world, but it should be seen in its original context of the decades long cold war between the US (and its allies) and the Soviet Union. These two sides came to represent an ideological conflict rather than a purely physical one, between liberal capitalist democracy and authoritarian communism, between free enterprise and central planning. Liberal democracy emerged victorious economically, politically and, Fukuyama would argue, philosophically. However, Fukuyama would be hard pressed to defend his near-eschatological optimism today, and Marxist critic Terry Eagleton has said that “the End of History is at an end.”[2] Rather than the comparatively monolithic opposition it experienced in the 20th Century, today the political dominance of liberal democracy is threatened by a wide variety of challenges, both internal and external, and, in the words of geographer John Agnew, the world has gone “from bipolar to multipolar.”[3] This essay will address the question of how well liberal democratic societies have addressed these challenges, looking in particular at the Islamic......

Words: 2309 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Vinamilk Marketing Plan

...Weiler Harvard Jean Monnet Working Paper 1/01 Päivi Leino The European Central Bank and Legitimacy Is the ECB a Modification of or an Exception to the Principle of Democracy? Harvard Law School Cambridge, MA 02138 All rights reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form Without permission of the author. © Päivi Leino 2000 Harvard Law School Cambridge, MA 02138 USA The European Central Bank and Legitimacy Is the ECB a Modification of or an Exception to the Principle of Democracy? Päivi Leino, Åbo Akademi University( M.Pol.Sc. (international law), Åbo Akademi University, Finland; LL.M. candidate, London School of Economics and Political Science. This paper was concluded on August 8, 2000 and subsequent changes have not been considered. The author would like to thank Professor Markku Suksi and Lic.Pol.Sc. Kurt Långkvist for their comments and encouragement. The author has exclusive responsibility for all views, errors and omissions. Comments are invited to 1. The Sovereign of Monetary Policy The creation of a single market and the continuing concentration and integration at the European level have created phenomena that can neither be governed by nationally based policies nor left to the working of unregulated markets.( Hirst, Paul and Thompson, Grahame (1996), p. 156.) According to the European Court of Justice, one of the cardinal aims of the Treaty is to......

Words: 19380 - Pages: 78

Premium Essay

The Treaty of Lisbon

...The Treaty of Lisbon: An Analysis After more than 50 years of European integration, the Treaty of Lisbon is a new step forward but also a deeply contested concept. This essay begins with an overview of how the new Treaty came about and why it was seen as necessary, followed by an analysis of its new developments structured into four parts. Firstly, it considers how the LT is supposed to increase the EU’s effectiveness through more qualified majority voting, the co-decision procedure and through institutional changes including the creation of new leadingpositions.Secondly,democraticvaluesaremoreclearlydefinedandrolesof theEuropeanand national parliaments are reinforced. Thirdly, the LT has attempted to improve citizen’s rights, for example by the new citizens’ initiatives, as well as by making the Charter of Fundamental Rights legally binding. Fourthly, the LT has introduced several political changes, including more cooperation on the common foreign and security policy and how to combat external threats as a global actor with a single voice. Moreover, this essay considers how the LT differs from the Constitutional Treaty, arguing that although no longer a formal constitution, it does maintain constitutional elements. It then looks at some specific issues; in particular, whether legitimacy, transparency and accountability have been improved, and takes the view that while this is the case to some extent, there remains much room to f urther improve. Finally, it also f ocuses on......

Words: 3778 - Pages: 16

Premium Essay

Eu & Tr Trade and Policies

...Trade and Policies, Summary Chapter 1: The formation of the European Union United Europe has been the vision of many statesmen since the Roman Empire, and more recently of philosophers/politicians (17th century (). Winston Churchill; spoke of European Federation (1951) but true fathers of borderless continent were: Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet (supported/complemented by Paul Henri Spaak and Jacques Delores). Why was Europe created: They wanted to avoid repetition of wars between Europeans (especially avoid another conflict between France and Germany). Germany wasn’t punished because Americans learned from WWI. To avoid repetitions politicians/intellectuals came up with free commerce, democracy, and individual freedoms. The sincere collaboration (early 1950s until today) made peaceful Europe possible. They also wanted to rebuild Europe equitably after WWII, to share vital resources to mutual benefit, to counter threat of communism, to leverage with USSR and US, and eliminate acute nationalism and racism. The importance of the EU to Turkey: 1. number 1 trading partner for Turkey 2. one of 4 world’s major powers 3. Turkey aspires to join the EU 4. Turkey needs Europe to be democratic 1951 – Paris (ECSC) 1st form of Europe-wide collaboration among states was ECSC (European Coal & Steel Community) in 1951 and was developed in free trade and commerce within the newly formed EEC (European Economic Community). ECSC was created to integrate......

Words: 6207 - Pages: 25

Premium Essay

European Integration

...------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------- European Integration: ------------------------------------------------- An Illegitimate child? BAS 2013 Nicole Ogorzałek Words: 955 ------------------------------------------------- European Integration: an illegitimate child? The European Union is facing hard times ahead. With each new treaty or another political agreement, the discontent with the European Union seems to be growing. While the Eurobarometer shows that the citizens still believe it to be beneficial to be part of the EU, the dissatisfaction is rather directed at EU policy (London School of Economics and Political Science, 2013). Whether it’s the question of enlargements, social policy or country bail-outs, the Europeans seem to be disagreeing more and more with the top of the European politics. However, nowhere is the Eurosceptism as marked as it is in Britain. And it doesn’t seem to lessen. On the contrary, organising protest against new EU-initiatives has never been easier (The Economist, 2012). Of course, looking back at Britain history it’s not hard to understand why words like “United States of Europe” or “the European Superstate” fire up the public indignation (Donnelly, 2012). Those trying to appease the opponents try to point out the benefits Britain’s EU membership brings, like political and economic stability and developments. Furthermore, the...

Words: 1143 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Real Strenght Comes from the Inside

...Settings p.6 2.2 The EU at the UN(SC) p.7 2.3 Institutional Capability p.8 3. Approaching Presence p. 8 3.1 Normative Values Approach p.8 3.2 Normative Values in EU Policy p.9 4. Presence in the Context of UNSC Reform p.10 4.1 The Reform of the UNSC p.10 4.2 EU Member States’ Attitudes p. 11 4.3 Two Positions – One Identity? p.13 Conclusion p.16 Illustrations: Table 1 p.11 Table 2 p.12 Introduction “Intellectually and conceptually, the European Union and the United Nations are built on the same foundations. If this ground becomes shaky, both structures are in danger.” (Fassbender, 2004, p.884) Different scholars have found that Europe only has two decades left – at best – to have an important impact on global political developments (Mayer, 2008, p.64; Schnabel, 2005, p.75). Therefore, European political conduct in the domain of foreign policy finds itself in a decisive time. On the one hand, the Lisbon Treaty has just been adopted about one and a half years ago and was too contested to make further large-scale changes likely in the near future. On the other hand, it appears that especially now the EU needs coherent action to shape the environment according to...

Words: 7503 - Pages: 31

Premium Essay

Regionalism and Democracy

...separating West and East Germany was opened and the Cold War came to an end. The breakdown of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism that accompanied it brought about the victory of market economy and democracy in Europe. It also engendered the emergence of new states in the East and the resurgence of nationalism across the continent. Czechoslovakia disappeared in 1992 with the creation of the Czech and Slovak republics, Yugoslavia has been torn apart by ethnic conflict and Kosovo is still fighting for its independence.[1] Indeed, the map of Europe has experienced considerable transformations. Over the last decades, the European Union has grown at a rapid pace and has accelerated its enlargement process gradually eroding frontiers and challenging its citizens with new forms of loyalty. While the integration process consistently expands and deepens, so does the need for more democracy which some perceived of suffering from a deficit in the Union. Since 1989, the revival of regional identity has strongly been felt and regionalist and micro-nationalist movements have gained in political strength, representation and size; they have achieved a certain notoriety. Across the community, those movements question the nature of the nation-state, which they often view as obsolete, and present challenges both to the larger state they are part of and to the European Union. To answer the question of whether contemporary regionalist and micro-nationalist movements......

Words: 4429 - Pages: 18

Premium Essay

The Nation-State, Foreign Policy, and Transnational Entities - Sst Task 1

...The Nation-State, Foreign Policy, and Transnational Entities - SST Task 1 Elizabeth A. Lilley Western Governors University The Nation-State, Foreign Policy, and Transnational Entities A modern nation-state is characterized by being a fixed territory, having sovereignty, meaning having authority over its territory or its geographical area, and having a common culture. The definition of a Nation is "A culture group residing within the territory of a political state." (Perry, 2009) I selected Scotland, and the reason why is because they are a country that is part of the United Kingdon, which holds sovereignty over Scotland. The Queen of England is the head of state. Scotland was an sovereign state until 1707 when they came under the control of the United Kingdom. Scotland does however have a limited self-government within the United Kingdom and is also represented in the United Kingdom Parliament. The United Kingdom Parliament has power over Scotland's taxes, social security, defense, broadcasting, and international relations. Where as the Scottish Parliament has legislative pwer of all other areas for Scotland. (Scotland, n.a.) A State is, "the abstract embodiment, or the symbol, of the political institution." (Perry, 2009) I select the United Kingdom and the reason is the United Kingdom, also called the UK, and has sovereignty over England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Queen of England is the chief of state, and...

Words: 2017 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

David Cameron's Eu Speech

...dissatisfaction with the current relationship between UK and the EU and this dissatisfaction was undeniable and irrevocable as it came from multiple parties. Therefor there had been calls for a referendum to be held about participating in the EU or not, which led to the necessity of the speech, given to attain focus on UK’s future and what they would have to do to achieve the visions of the 21st century. It was also necessary to mention to the people that he has visions for the UK as well as Europe and also address the important choice the people has in front of them as it would be put in their hands to decide whether they should continue the cooperation with the EU or not. When a country is in despair it has been proven at several occasions how powerful a motivating and collected speech can be and with the uncertainty of UK’s position in the EU as it is now as well in the future, David Cameron’s was much needed to assert that they will take action and the outcome will be profitable for UK as a whole. The speech consists of 5 main parts where the first one revolves around the past to identify the previous goals of the EU, such as securing peace, which have been reached. To claim that these goals have been reached naturally leads to the purpose of the speech which is to determine new goals and a new role for the UK to play to have the future that they wish for. The second part is about the changes that the EU must make to deliver prosperity and retain the support of its......

Words: 1517 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Eu Together and Apart

...devastation of post-war Western Europe, Sir Winston 1 Churchill remarked that Europeans needed a “United States of Europe” to facilitate rebuilding and prevent future conflict. Starting in 1951, six nations, less Churchill’s England, began the process of creating a union: a union that would reject Churchill’s idea in part. The founding states would join together, but not as a federation subsuming state sovereignty under a supranational organization; rather, they formed a union of sovereign states. Since 1993, when the Treaty of Maastricht (also known as the Treaty of the European Union (EU)) came into effect, the question over how far the EU will integrate remains. This paper will evaluate the EU integration process in the postMaastricht era with a focus on the failure to pass a constitution in 2005 even though ideas contained in the draft constitution were accepted four years later in the Treaty of Lisbon. It will be argued that the EU members have chosen to curtail supranational organization in favor of protecting state sovereignty. Moving together: the Maastricht Treaty, 1993 The formation of the European Coal and Steel Committee in 1951 preserved each of the six-member state’s ability to have control over its laws and people, or sovereignty. Integrationists, politicians who wanted a federal form of government lost out to nationalists, those who wanted to protect their own states from a federal union. Thus, integration was limited to economic issues for which the......

Words: 1306 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Military Integration and European Unions Role on the International Level

...MILITARY INTEGRATION AND EUROPEAN UNIONS ROLE ON THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL Introduction The European Union as a sole entity is comprised of 27 countries and its total population ranks third highest in the world, following behind China and India. Not only is the European Union considered to be one of the largest populated regions of the world, it is also considered to be one of the most important and influential leaders on the global stage. The Union impacts tremendously on the following: trade, financial aid and assistance to those countries less fortunate and poverty stricken, anti-terrorism activities, civilian conflict prevention measures, security and defence policy along with also tackling environmental issues such as global warming and carbon emission.   In the development of this essay I will primarily focus on Europe’s road towards military integration, understanding the political, institutional, technological developments towards a Common European Security and Defence Policy. In order to discuss the above mentioned topic and to create a clearer and more concise linkage I will also briefly introduce the following: Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Common European Security and Defence Policy (CESDP), Treaty on the European Union (TEU), European Defence Community (EDC), Qualified Majority Voting (QMV), Western European Union (WEU), Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC), Synchronized Armed Forces Europe (SAFE), and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)....

Words: 3772 - Pages: 16

Premium Essay

The Eu and Its Member Countries: Differences and Relations with and Within a Supranational Body

...The variety of economic and political systems in Europe 3 3. The institution European Union. 7 4. The impact of the EU on its member states. 11 5. Lobbying in the EU. 13 6. Conclusion 17 References 17 Appendices 17 1. Introduction On January 1st. 2007, the European Union (EU) has completed its last enlargement round till now by accepting Romania and Bulgaria as full members. The union now counts 27 member states, incorporating an enormous number of more than half a billion inhabitants. Obviously, each member largely effects and is affected by the European Union. The research interest of this paper is therefore to shed light on the construct European Union, by exploring the relationship between the European Union, its member states and constituents. The topic will be approached by first examining the varieties and interrelations of political and economic systems in major European countries. In a second step, the organizations and the governance of the European Union will be discussed, leading to the analysis of the EU impact on its member states. The third part is an analysis of the expression of interest in the EU. Finally, main arguments will be summarized to arrive at a conclusion. 2. The variety of economic and political systems in Europe The legitimation of a community like the European Union is inevitably linked to the existence and reliance of all member states on......

Words: 5342 - Pages: 22

Premium Essay

A “Real” European Union

...1 A “real” European Union World order is going to change in the near future. This year 2012 will be remembered as the year the European Union become a reality. There are three big events occurring this year that are promoting a larger economic, political and social unity inside the EU. A united Europe is a project that has taken a long time to create and that had overcome many difficulties. All the indefinitions in the EU in the past have created many problems in the present, but now they work as a pressure mechanism to conclude the project and correct those indefinitions. If this goal of a united Europe is reached, the consequences will be tremendous because the EU will become the largest economy of the world, and it will have enough power to change the world in different ways. The development of the essay will follow a chronological perspective. First are going to be analyzed the problems in Europe before the EU and show the developments as a clue to develop new theories of what can happen in the future. This future is going to be a consequence of the events happening this year and it will be the second point of analysis. The third one will be the theory of the future creation of a real European Union after this year events. Finally, the consequences and importance in the future of the EU created due to the events of this year. Past In a diachronic perspective, the European Union was something difficult to think as a reality when the project was being born, but the overcome...

Words: 2787 - Pages: 12