The EU is 'fundamentally undemocratic', discuss.

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Camilla Norton        UB:06023193

The Foundations of European Union Law

‘A major flaw in the EU institutional structure is that it is fundamentally undemocratic’ Discuss.

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 way. The EU is a framework of twenty-five countries sharing; institutions, policies and a universal currency.

Ever since 1979 their constituents have voted all members of the European parliament in. Prior to this however, their own governments selected members. They named themselves parliament, even though the ‘Treaty of Rome’ referred to them as an assembly. Beneath Art 189, the European parliament is made up of “representatives of the peoples of the states brought together in community” . Only in 1986 did the states officially accept the name European parliament. The European parliament is the only organisation that represents the citizen and this is absolutely fundamental for introducing principles of democracy for the citizen.

Currently in the EU all legislative actions start from the commission and there are three months major forms, the original consultation. “The co-operation procedure introduced by the SEA and the conciliation and veto procedure, also known as the co-decision procedure.”, established by the Treaty on European Union

The term ‘fundamentally undemocratic’ states how there is a lack of democracy in the policy areas of the European Union. This can also be known as a ‘democratic deficit’. It is simply down to a matter of opinion if the European Union is undemocratic or not. I aim to discuss and show the differences between these opinions.

The process the EU goes through to make and create decisions is complicated. The EU tries to simplify the procedure and make it more accessible to the citizens themselves. They do this by giving more information and providing more ways for the civil society to intervene in the policies themselves.

Since the Maastricht treaty of 1991 my research shows that there has been a conscious effort to strengthen the democracy of the institutions of the European Union.

A plethora of academic research and schools of thought surrounding this area have been put forward by many different academics such as Andrew Moravcsik, Christipher Lord, David Beetham and Simon Hix are amongst the most well known. Andrew Moravcsik, for example, states the democratic issues within the EU are over stated.

There are a few main areas where the democratic deficit can be seen; the European parliament and the relationships between the EU parliament and the other institutions or EU citizens.

According to Craig (2003) different features can be distinguished concerning the democracy argument they are: ‘distance issue’, this is the assumption commonly made is that the EU did not exist then matters within its capabilities would be dealt with at national level, the decisions made would the be closer to people, thus fixing this problem would mean Parliament would have greater control.

‘Executive dominance issue’, the interrogation process enhances the power of the council and commission, this is because of the dominance the council as well as the European council in the decision making process.

‘Bypassing of democracy argument’, the EC’s complicated committee structure serves as the most prominent example of the democracy argument. Interest groups dominate the policy-making procedures excluding more regular channels of democratic governance.

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‘Transparency and complexity issue’ the complexity of the legislation processes means that it is practically impossible for even experts to understand. In addition much of the decision- making of the Union takes place behind closed doors. ‘Substantive imbalance issue’, an argument that the most important element in a democracy is to maintain the balance between market liberation and social protection. The European Union cannot maintain this balance despite significant for the maintenance of welfare systems because of a liberal prejudice in the constitutional structure of the European Union.

When analyst is comment on the lack of democratic legitimacy in ...

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