Is the EU Democratic?

1411 Words6 Pages
The European Union (EU), since the initial foundation in 1952 as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and throughout periods of development, has been considered one of the most advanced forms of regional integration. It, based on numerous treaties and resolutions, has strived to promote values such as peace, cooperation or democracy, and in 2012 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for having “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe” (Nobel Media AB, 2012). Despite its struggle for promoting democracy, the EU itself has long experienced scholarly criticisms that it suffers the democratic deficit, from which its democratic legitimacy is undermined by observable problems in…show more content…
Thomassen (2006: 1) notes that the legitimacy of political institutions can be assessed either with normative theories or with substantive evaluation in relation to participants. While the theoretical approaches can be considered largely relevant to the requirements for founding democracy, the latter shows a considerable resemblance to an analytical approach which divides legitimacy into components of input, output, and throughput, each representing citizens’ demand and initiatives, process of negotiation and revision of legislations, and policies created through the process (Thomassen, 2006: 2-9; Schmidt, 2010). What can be noted from this division of components is that the lack of democracy in any of three components may undermine the legitimacy of the entire system, and that ensuring legitimacy requires the involvement of citizens (Miklós, 2011: 5). In this essay, the issue democratic deficit will thereby be addressed based on such description of the democratic legitimacy which is to be understood with regards to whether the EU institutions and policies appropriately represent citizens and whether its political procedures involve citizens (Peterson, 2005: 1511-1513). Scholarly interests on the EU have not been confined to democratic issues disregarding its importance, as the unique and thus complicated institutional identity of the EU also induced major theoretical
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