• 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 ...

    being listened to, that their views are not being taken into account." (Politics Review 2002). Many agree with the notion but accept that it is unlikely to change, "The European institutions will never be democratic however much one tinkers with the European Parliament to imbrue it with spurious legitimacy."

  1. The Institution of the European Union and Theories.

    It will cost Boots approxmently 40 million in preparations for the euro, this 40 million will be used to update systems and get the company ready for the euro. Benefits to Boots will be less conversion costs, suppliers more like to trade as same currency.

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

    The enlargement in 2004 was the largest to date with another 10 countries joining bringing the total up to 25 member states. Another two countries, Romania and Bulgaria are to join in 2007 taking the EU up to its highest yet 27 member states.

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

    the whole of the EU is split up into constituents, but the European constituents are much larger than the ones used in national elections. Together with the council of ministers, the European parliament makes up the legislative branch of the EU, probably as the EU would need at least one form of democracy in its decisions about EU Laws.

  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