A Steady Retreat from Democracy and a Growing Involvement in the European Union

1692 Words Jul 8th, 2018 7 Pages
A Steady Retreat from Democracy and a Growing Involvement in the European Union

Heywood (2002) defines the ‘European idea’ as the belief that Europe ‘constitutes a single political community’ with shared objectives and difficulties despite its historical, linguistic and cultural differences. In the 20th century the European community essentially concerned itself with defence, peace keeping, and economic progress partly in response to the devastation caused by the Second World War. However, the European Union is increasingly focusing on more domestic issues such as civil rights within the EU, environmental issues and social policy. This expansion of the EU was symbolically displayed with the
…show more content…
What is termed ‘second-order voting’ (Bromley, 2001) implies that a weakness in the linkage between elections and representation, which reduces the level of accountability, thus creating what many would view as a significant democratic deficit which is unnecessary.

This linkage can be improved which would strengthen the legitimacy of the European Parliament. However, even the most representative and legitimate European Parliament could be ineffective in ensuring levels of democracy if its abilities and powers within the framework of the European Union are weak in comparison to other EU institutions. The electorate does not directly elect the Council of Ministers and European Council. Although the European Council is formed of heads of state which are elected it also contains unelected foreign ministers and commissioners (Heywood 2001), as the councils purpose is discussion of overall strategy for the EU it is essential the council act as ‘responsible and responsive politicians’ (Hogwood, 1997). This role is based on the presumption that heads of state of EU member states have a shared agenda and act on what the constitution describes as ‘cooperation and consensus’ (euabc, 2004). As the ‘decision-making’ (Heywood 2001) branch of the EU The Council of Ministers are responsible for initiating the process of turning the guidance of the EC into specific proposed policies and laws,
Open Document