Is there a democratic deficit in the EU and if so, how might it be reduced?
One of the most controversial debates in the history of European Union (EU) is if there is a democratic deficit in the EU. On the one hand, many scholars argued that the democratic deficit exists in the EU. On the other hand, there are other scholars who claimed that there is not a democratic deficit in the EU. In this essay, the writer will support the argument that the democratic deficit in the EU exists and will propose how this deficit can be reduced. In the first part of this paper the arguments, which support the existence of the democratic deficit, will be discussed. After that, this essay will present the ...view middle of the document...
This happens because during the elections citizens can vote for and support different political manifestos as they presented from different parties or different head of parties in order to govern a nation. Furthermore, people can vote for and support the head of potential government. As a result, Hix (2005:175) argues that democracy exists if there is a competition between rival political manifestos for public policies and between the leaders of political parties and if there is a possibility to change the government if citizens do not satisfy from government’s policies. To conclude, in the majority of the democracies today, the party or the leader that wins the elections becomes the government or the president (Hix 2005:176).
What is democratic deficit?
As it is discussed briefly what this essay means as democracy, it is important to define what is democratic deficit. Because of there is not a clear and concise definition for democratic deficit; this essay is based on the standard version and the five standard claims of democratic deficit as it was presented from Hix (2008).
The first claim is that European integration has led to an increase of executive power on the one hand and on the other hand that national parliament lose more of their power (Hix & Follesdal 2006:534, Raunio 1999). It is true, that members of governments of members-states of the EU participate in the legislation process such as ministers from national governments in the council of minister. As a result, it is possible that national governments can overcome the national parliaments when vote or co-decision in legislative process in the EU (Hix & Follesdal 2006).
The second claim is that the European Parliament (EP) is too weak (Hix 2008). This argument is strongly correlated with the first. No matter the fact that the EP has increased its power, the EP does not have the right to intially legislate (Sieberson 2008).
The third claim is that there are no European elections (Hix 2005:177). Many scholars argue that the European Elections are “second-order” election. This means that the policy agendas of parties, which are participate in European Elections, focus on national issues. So, as it is discussed above, there is no political competition for the governance in European level, and people do not judge the performance of European parties, but the national parties on domestic issues (Hix & Follesdal 2006)
The fourth claim is that the EU is too distant from its citizens. The complexity of the legislation process in the EU, the differentiation of the EU political system comparing with the national political systems of each members state and the lack of information for legislation process lead people to feel that they do not understand the EU and that the EU is too distant from their (Crombez 2003, Hix 2005).
The fifth claim is the policy drift. According to Schrapf (1997), the welfare states support the economic integration in order to establish a single-market...