Does the EU Suffer From a Democratic Deficit

Does the EU Suffer From a Democratic Deficit

Does the EU suffer from a democratic deficit Discuss

The overall goal of EU integration has been to create an ever closer union in which decision are taken as closely as possible to the citizen Cini Michele Borragan 2010 However still the most enthusiastic backers of the EU must accept that it has been more a progression commencing and sustained by elites than by a popular front for change The claim that the standard European citizen has virtually no possibility of directly affecting the work of the EU along with the negative impact of integration on popular support for the EU has given rise to the term the democratic deficit Although there is no one single definition the concept behind the notion of the democratic deficit is that decisions in the EU are insufficiently representative of or accountable to the nations and the people of Europe Lord C 2001 p165 It is not merely an additional layer of governance further removed from the peoples of Europe but as a result of such an organisation each Member State can no longer claim to be the source of its own legitimacyEriksen Fossum 2002 p401 It is important to make a distinction between two different types of theories behind the democratic deficit The institutional perspective focuses on the institutional power sharing and on institutional reform as a solution to the perceived problems of EU level democracy Cini 2010 p378 The sociopsychological viewpoint however places much emphasis on the lack of a European civic identity and the absence of a European demos

The classical argument through a sociopsychological point of view of cases where it can be said that the EU suffers from a democratic deficit is that the nonexistence of representative and direct democracy within the EU The set up of the EU results in policymaking being dominated at the European level by executive actors state based ministers in the Council and government appointments in the Commission This does not inevitably lead to democratic deficit unless as happens the decisions taken by the executive departments at the European stage are outside the authority of domestic parliaments Even with the creation of European Affairs Committees in every national parliament ministers when conversing and voting in the Council national representatives when constructing policies in The Council and bureaucrats in the Commission when drafting or implementing legislation are much more isolated from national parliamentary scrutiny and control than are national cabinet ministers or bureaucrats in the domestic policymaking process Follesdal Andreas Hix Simon 2005 p2 As a consequence governments are able to successfully disregard their parliaments when deciding upon policies at the European level Therefore European integration has resulted in a reduction of the influence of national parliaments and an enhancement to the authority of executives

Perhaps the institution to come in for the heaviest criticism from the Eurosceptics is the Commission which is seen as an archetypal undemocratic institution in that it is a civil service composed of appointed membersCini 2010 p381 who contain extensive policymaking powers In spite of its authority over initiating and developing new European laws the Commission is subject to little direct or even indirect public accountability McCormick John 2008 p124 Appointments have to be accepted by Parliament but apart from that they are made lacking reference to the electorate The President of the Commission is selected as an outcome of behind the scenes bargaining and conciliations directed by the leaders of the member states The commission also stands for the views of the EU in numerous international forums devoid of a mandate from the citizens Moreover there are very modest openings for people to take part in or contribute to the deliberations of the Commission and only limited occasions for the EP to hold it accountable for its decisions although this has increased being seen most clearly by the p

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