• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

It is often said that the EU suffers from a democratic deficit".What is meant by this expression, and how does it relate to perceived inadequacies in the functioning of the EU's supranational institutions?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"It is often said that the EU suffers from a democratic deficit". What is meant by this expression, and how does it relate to perceived inadequacies in the functioning of the EU's supranational institutions? The European Union was previously known as the European Community, which was created after World War II to unite the nations of Europe economically to avoid another war. It is an institutional framework of 25 countries, sharing the common institutions and policies, for the construction of a united Europe. The Union currently has a common single market consisting of a customs union; a single currency (euro) managed by the ECB (European Central Bank) a Common Agricultural Policy and a common trade policy. The single market can also be called an internal market. As described in the Single European Act (1986): "The internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services, and capital is ensured in accordance with this provisions of this Treaty [Treaty of Rome ...read more.

Middle

There is no requirment for national parliaments to scrutinise the performance of their government ministers in the Council, though most do this to some extent as a matter of course. This shows undemocratic features of the Council. Areas like the Parliament and Council do not have codecision between them, the European Parliament only has the power to reject or approve proposed legislation, before the Council of Ministers takes its decision. Another problem is the European Commission is led by Commissioners who are proposed by national governments and approved by the European Parliament, rather than being directly elected by the citizens. Although the commission has no legislative power, it is esentially the executive of the European Union and is the only body powered to draft a legislative proposal. Many people have argued the commissioners wield more power than is justified by their limited democratic mandate. Sometimes when politicans have failed in their own country, they have been pensioned off to the commission, and they have little control over the thousands of bureaucrats who are regarded as strong dictators. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rest would be up to the political parties. This would create a simple structure that everyone could follow. Democratic deficit may exist due to a lack of transperancy and an excess of delegation in the legislative process as I outlined above. A solution to the democratic deficit consists of giving more power to the European Parliament as it is the only elected institution. There was a new constituional treaty propsed in order to reduce the democratic deficit. However this treaty failed after a rejection of the draft first by the French and days after the Dutch voters in 2005. It was rejected mostly because there was no change to the principle of EU laws and that the European Commission would remian the sole initiator of legislative proposals. I conclude that EU policies are not fundamentally undemocratic, but that the way the process itself is conducted may give rise to a democratic deficit. Furthermore, I would argue that the EU is able to pursue its policies in spite of a lack of democratic accountability in the legislative process, precisely because the policies themselves are not undemocratic. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level European Union section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level European Union essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    ‘The main democratic deficit in the European Union is psychological, not institutional.’ Discuss.

    4 star(s)

    Nugent (1999, p385) points out that policy-making is messy and in contrast to state legislatures, problems are not identified and alternatives not explored. He asserted three models of decision-making. The first is the political interests model, which explores the way that bargaining and compromise is brought about.

  2. To What Extent Does the EU Display a 'Democratic Deficit'?

    Finally, the European Central Bank (ECB) a supranational institution for those member states who have joined the single currency, is not elected, but it plays an important role in controlling the economy of member states in the 'eurozone', for example by influencing budget deficits and not allowing them to exceed 3% and setting interest rates.

  1. Effectiveness and Democratic Legitimacy: An Investigation of the European Democratic Deficit

    Consequently, the Council and the Commission are not properly checked by the popularly elected Parliament, nor are they properly checked by a system of constitutional controls. This gives the impression that citizens are not able to affect critical policy choices, thereby confirming or rejecting European governance.

  2. Critically evaluate the notion that the EU is controlled by a host of unelected ...

    As part of a democracy we would expect that decisions made would be in our interest and would benefit us or protect us. Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing told the EU convention on the future of Europe in February 2002 that "Citizens of Europe feel that they are not

  1. The Institution of the European Union and Theories.

    had an impact on Boots as their staff had to be trained on how to use the new currency which has incurred costs for Boots. Time for training is consumed as significant costs will be incurred to change IS systems to support the change over to the new currency in the UK or the rest of Europe.

  2. What Are The Functions Of The Four EU Institutions? How Are European Laws Made?

    This is left to the council of ministers. In many ways, the European Parliament is very similar to the House of Lords in the UK. The European parliament also controls the Commission to an extent - it must approve all appointments to it. It also controls the budget of the EU.

  1. Evaluate the likely changes to the structure of the principle EU institutions due to ...

    The Amsterdam treaty for example clearly welcomes others to join and also leaves the future borders or the EU unspecified. The first enlargement occurred in 1973 when Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined, by 1995 an additional 6 countries had joined the original 6 taking the EU member countries to 15.

  2. European Union Lobbying.

    governments, so at this stage it is very important to ensure that the people who will be driving forward the proposal in both the Parliament and the Council of Ministers support your view. Again, this comes back to good monitoring and research.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work