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

"To What Extent Does Democratic Deficit Exist in the EU"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"To What Extent Does Democratic Deficit Exist in the EU" An argument against a Federal Europe is that the European Commission is over-bureaucratic and that the European Parliament is an expensive burden. Opponents of federalism note that there is only one chamber in the Parliament and that the Commission takes on both a legislative and an executive role. With Commissioners being unelected and MEPs being not really accountable to the electorate, EU institutions seem remote from ordinary people and to transfer more power to them would be to transfer power to "faceless bureaucrats". Archer and Butler describe "the shift in decision making powers from the national to the EU level, without accompanying strengthening of parliamentary control over the executive." Thus this essay will analyse whether this assessment of the extent of democratic deficit, exists or not. The European Commission is the politically independent institution that represents and upholds the interests of the EU as a whole. It is the driving force within the EU's institutional system: it proposes legislation, policies and programmes of action and it is responsible for implementing the decisions of Parliament and the Council. Thus the Commission acts as both an executive and a bureaucracy. The Commission is led by a group of 20 commissioners, who serve five-year teams and jointly function as something like a European cabinet, taking a collective responsibility for their decisions. ...read more.

Middle

muster the 2/3rds majority vote to sack the commission, the very fact that the censure debate took place is probably more important than the final result. As it showed the Parliament was prepared to flex its newfound political muscles and as a direct result, the Santer Commission was forced to resign and a new Commission was appointed. Thus it would seem that though the Commission is made up of officials who aren't directly accountable to the people of Europe, there are certain new reforms that have limited the democratic deficit by giving new powers to the European Parliament, which is elected by the people. Thereby ensuring that the Commission really is acting in the best interests of the EU. Thus in conclusion the Commission has much less power then its detractors often suggest, it is not a decision-making body, and its powers are being reduced as those of the other EU institutions grow. The European Parliament was at one time the main cause for concern over democratic deficit in the EU, however changes to the treaties have resulted in those powers growing significantly in recent years. The EP is the only directly elected institution in the EU system but had relatively few powers over how law and policy is made. ...read more.

Conclusion

The EP also has powers over the budget, where it holds joint powers with the Council of Ministers to fix the EU budget. It can ask for changes to the budget, ask for new appropriations for areas not covered and can even with a 2/3rds majority, reject the budget. Finally the EP also has powers over other institutions and thus is the main area where the deficit has really been reduced. The EP can take the Council or the Commission to the European Court of Justice over alleged infringements of the treaties, and to approve the appointment of the president and commissioners. It can, by a 2/3rds majority, pose a very disruptive threat to the Commission, by having the ability to sack the entire college of commissioners through a vote of censure. Therefore in recent times it has become less of a body that merely reacts to the Commission proposals and Council votes, and has increasingly launched its own initiatives and forced the other institutions to pay more attention to its opinions. The EP has won a greater right to amend laws and check the activities of the other institutions, and it has acted as the conscience of the EU and as the guardian of its democratic ideals. Thus it has a critical role in building bridges between EU citizens and EU institutions, and is one of the main reasons why democratic deficit has been reduced in recent times. Adam Sivner ...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)

    Unlike nation-states (e.g. the US) there is not a clear separation of powers but a policy network in which institutions of government are interdependent. Representatives from each institution must co-operate e.g. the role of the legislature is shared between the European Parliament (EP)

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

    It cannot play any role in initiating policy and on some areas of legislation such as law and order it can only play an advisory role; its advice/opinions can be ignored in these instances. At best, the European Parliament has co-decision with the Council of Ministers on policy areas such as trade and agriculture.

  1. An Analysis of the Powers of the European Parliament.

    this comprises over two- fifths of the total budget. Modifications that include increases in total expenditure require qualified majority support in the Council to be accepted. Where increases are not involved , owing perhaps to a proposed increase being off set by a proposed decrease, a qualified majority vote is required for rejection this is called a negative majority.

  2. Which EU institution is the most powerful

    Parliament has budgetary powers where they must approve or reject the entire budget, which the Commission prepares and then negotiates with the Council. However, now with a centralised currency, this would bring to a halt all the work the European Union does and brings the whole concept of a Europe working together into disrepute.

  1. To what extent is the European Union, with the Constitutional treaty, an independent, democratic ...

    The treaties are very important, because they determine what is in the European Union's competence, how different institutions work, shows the decision-making process and the relationships of the European Union with other organisations. They also state the fundamental values and principles of the European Union and its Member States.

  2. This essay is intended to have an in-depth appraisal of the implication of the ...

    Also it has delineated the functions, powers and structure of the various organs within the EU and the functional proceedings that would be in use within the union. I. The commission The draft constitution did not make any serious change to the operational proceeding of the commission.

  1. The Institution of the European Union and Theories.

    The competition policy can have an effect on a business as there are many watchdogs who keep track on prices and if a firm is charging higher than it should be the watchdogs can exploit the firm as of this a firm can lose it reputation and sales.

  2. Is there a democratic deficit in the EU? What are its implications and how ...

    This power has grown with each successive treaty since the SEA in 1986 which introduced QMV however key 'red lines' are the preserve of the Council of Minister which retains sovereignty through unanimity on key issues such as taxation when it stays intergovernmental in its nature.

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