Research Paper: European Union a State

Pages: 22 (9068 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 20  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Government  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Whereas, the democracy provided by the EU is mainly "with the people" and "for the people" and is mostly done through this vast process of the intermediation of the interest; this is also known as "Community Model" (Schmidt and Monnet, 2004).

Because of such a fragmented democracy the legitimization of EU has been questioned as, EU is compared to the nation-states, whereas, if EU was considered as a regional state the lack of democracy that is sometimes observed at the EU level won't seem as much troublesome as it is mostly presented. But the national democracy's problem turns out to be really big with regards to the EU; however, the effect of EU on the member state's traditional working is great because of the shortage of national democracy (Schmidt and Monnet, 2004).

Treaty provisions on Democratic Principles

First time ever in the Lisbon Treaty, among the treaties clear provisions, were strategies on the democratic principles included. This was done in accordance with the main idea of the democratic legitimization of the Preamble. In the Treaty on European Union (TEU) the article 10 has significant democratic statements -- whose power has greatly increased because of the new set of provision that support those statements. With the help of these new reforms the role of the National as well as the European Parliament has become stronger and they also provide the citizens with the initiatives for the purpose of growing democratic legitimization of the EU (Mayoral, 2011).

These Treaties also contain provisions whose basic purpose is to reinforce the democracy in the participatory and representative dimensions. 1) The participatory democracy also known as the direct democracy is done by the establishment of the new participatory mechanisms such as; the new channels of information and communication with the civil society of Europe and the European citizens' initiative (Mayoral, 2011); 2) Representative democracy which is done by giving power to the institution with the highest democracy such as the European Parliament and the National and Regional Chambers control the level of participation regarding the EU acts.

The influence of parliaments on European decision-making

Overall the parliaments only played a marginal role in the European decision-making (Norton 1996: 27; also see Aziz, 2004). From the Western point-of-view the parliaments are considered the focal point of the decision making and therefore, these democratic parliaments form crucial links. Although the existing interpretations might differ from state to state but the basic fact remains the same that the parliamentary democracy laws are made as well as amended by the parliament and it also controls the implementation of the executive power of the government.

The presence of a 'permissive consensus' (Katz 1999: 23; also see Aziz, 2004) was a reason why nobody really worried about the European construction's democratic standards for a very long time. But gradually this point-of-view about democracy did change when it became apparent that however technical the European rules regulations might appear at first, they always do involve the political choices. These political choices are usually about the significance of cultural multiplicity, agriculture and development, about the association between ecology and economy and about the variety of social and liberalization issues etc. Political choices and priorities are reflected in all the regulations and directives especially as they show how a European Society should look. Now-a-days it has been determined by most of the national as well as regional parliaments that the traditional power belonging to them has actually eroded. (Rideau 1996: 161, 169;; also see Aziz, 2004; Kassim 2000b: 257): a significant number of the European directives, with the help of the executive power were converted into the national laws as they were thankful to vote for the application of certain laws. Often we get the impression that the parliament now-a-days only gets itself involved in the matters of least importance and prefers staying in the margins while the actual and important decisions escape control. Also, there is no room for the regional or the national parliament in the European treaties, which proves the point that democratic legitimacy is lacking in the EU.

Wessels (1999b: 213; also see Aziz, 2004) in his research has proven that the parliament is anything but happy with the democratic way the Europeans make decisions. After the loss of the influence that the parliament had on national level nothing was done to compensate that loss on the European level. Although there is a European Parliament which is very powerful and often its power is underestimated by many but the problem with this European Parliament was that it didn't work in the traditional way that the national parliament used to work. The European Parliament with the Council of Ministers forms a co-legislator in the best case scenario but its executive management is very limited as there is no actual European government 'government' (in the traditional sense) (Thomassen, Schmitt 1999: 131; also see Aziz, 2004), also, the right of initiative is not disposed of by them either. Now the question that arises is, if it is useful and realistic to give the European Parliament a role similar to the national parliament on a European level. Useful, because EU is a very special construction but maybe there is still a need for some other methods to improve the democratic legitimacy rather than the typical parliamentary approach that they use. Realistic, because this is going to turn the EU into federal construction and this is not a policy option for a lot of member states currently (as cited in Andersen, Eliassen 1996: 3; also see Aziz, 2004).

Search for a new position in the EU

There seems to be a need to increase the EU legitimacy but this fact is also there that the influence of the regional as well as national parliaments on the European decision making seems to be very restricted right now. The term democratic deficit is the one that was heard a lot in the nineties. Maastricht Treaty's referenda didn't become a huge success and it was shown in the opinion polls that the European project that were carried out weren't very popular among the average Europeans as they didn't feel like it was a part of them. Also, the result went down 50% at the end of the 1999 European elections, the Danes rejected the euro in September 2000, whereas, the Treaty of Nice was rejected by the Irish in June 2001. Very often it is said that the contribution of the parliaments for the legitimization of the Europe project has to be done. In fact, in a Convention that came into being in December 2000 this topic was given huge priority. The participation was done by two representatives of each parliament in this discussion. The matter was mentioned clearly by the Laeken Declaration, who then further formulated a variety of questions as well.

Contributions are also made by the national parliament in the matter of the legitimization of the Europe project. The role of national parliament is also very important in the future of the Union and its attachment to the Treaty of the Nice. There is another question regarding the national parliament and the role it plays in the democratic legitimacy. Should they be focused on the division of the capability among Union and the member states? Should they be given a part in the European Union political activity in which the European Parliament has little to no capabilities or does not fit properly? Or do they need to be represented in new institution besides the European Parliament and the Council? (Bicchi, 2006)

It has been considered a lot as to what positions the parliament should be given in EU in the future. A debate can be done on the questions that are asked by the Laeken Declaration as well as many others. But it is still agreed upon that the parliament still has a very significant role (Vos, Baillieul 2002: 24-25). It is in this regard that the Convention Working Group IV was set up about the role played by the national parliament (Final Report: CONV 353/02).

The EU is facing a serious crisis which resulted when the approval for the Constitutional Treaty was denied and the situation further worsened because of the European Council meeting in June 2005. What happened in this meeting was that the heads of different states could not agree upon the budget for EU for the next 7 years and without the proper financing the ability of EU to make the decision is in serious danger and without any constitution there isn't any chance that this situation will improve (Bicchi, 2006).

Even with all this the idea of the integration of Europe is not dead. In fact when Europe's Constitutional Treaty was rejected by France and Netherlands in the referendum the only reason that they gave was the legitimization… [END OF PREVIEW]

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European Union a State.  (2011, May 19).  Retrieved June 16, 2019, from

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"European Union a State."  19 May 2011.  Web.  16 June 2019. <>.

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"European Union a State."  May 19, 2011.  Accessed June 16, 2019.