Democratic Deficit in the Eu

2947 words 12 pages
Does the EU suffer from a democratic deficit? If so, can it be solved by conferring greater powers on the European parliament?


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
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However, this argument is practically flawed as Commission officials are somewhat isolated from their national parliaments than domestic ministers making policy, not to mention the electorate back home. They effectively ignore their parent parliament when deliberating in Brussels as the level of control is distant and officially suffer no consequence for it at the ballot box. Chalmers, going further, identifies Commissioners as lobbyists acting to realise client interests and consequently working independently of national governments. With regard to the Commission’s purpose, it functions as a supranational institution to represent the overall ‘European good’ and not exclusively those of a MS. A relationship gap is consequently assumed. Doubts are furthered on democracy from an institutional perspective, with direct implications on law-making.

Alongside the Commission’s disproportionate involvement in the law-making process at the expense of the EP, it is imperative to examine the role of the EP itself and Council of Ministers that constitute the rest of the three-fold process. Although EP powers have strengthened under Lisbon, it remains the weakest of the three institutions despite being the only directly elected EU institution. Lisbon remedied this in granting the EP further legislative powers and supervisory power over the Commission. The OLP does allow the EP to


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