For years, the European construction appeared to be legitimate through a 'permissive consensus' since no significant opposition to the integration process was to be noticed. Nevertheless, a major debate underlined a 'democratic deficit' in the 1980s, denouncing that the European Community had been built without the people. Indeed, at the beginning of the integration process, neo-functionalists, such as Monnet, who were actively engaged in the building of the EU, did not see the necessity to include the people in this project. For instance, Mitrany, who theorized functionalism, had a technocratic planning vision of the European Community implying a government by experts, which was consequently undemocratic (Sewell, 1966, p.42). Nevertheless, essentially since the ratification of the Maastricht treaty and the debate it created, European issues became politicised. From this point, the public increased its interest towards the EU and was willing to participate in the integration process.
[...] Indeed, European elections are generally not fought on European issues, because national parties treat them as ‘second order national contests'. As a result, the EP does not benefit from a democratic mandate for a legislative majority to redistribute resources through EU legislation and capture the regulatory agencies and the Commission. Increasing the power of the EP as prescribed by the standard interpretation of the democratic deficit may reduce rather than increase EU legitimacy (Scharpf p.138). Nevertheless, as several theorists explain (i.e. Schmitter, Weiler) there are other ways to introduce competition and choice into the EU process. [...]
[...] He denounces the fact that many analyse the EU in ideal and isolated terms comparing the EU with an ancient, Westminster style form of deliberative democracy. Yet, this analysis neglects the multi- level political system in which the EU acts and the fact that the EU remains a banal international organisation. (Moravcsik p.603-5) In his demonstration, he rejects the idea that the EU would be a technocratic superstate by underlying its respect of democratic criteria. He illustrates his point of view through several arguments: A. The EU is not a superstate 1. [...]
[...] Direct and indirect democratic accountability The EU employs a direct accountability via the EP as well as an indirect accountability via elected national officials in the Council of Ministers. (Moravcsik p.609) The EP is sufficient to ensure that EU policy-making is mainly transparent, effective and politically responsive to the demands of European citizens. Concerning the states, they are from Moravcsik's point of view, the most significant and the most constraint on everyday EU legislation. In his article, Moravcsik explains: Permanent representatives, ministerial officials and the ministers themselves from each country act under constant instruction from national executives, just as they would at home. [...]
[...] To conclude, a democratic deficit exists in the EU since the people of Europe claim to be more included in the integration process and that no ‘permissive consensus' exists anymore. As a result, different theorists have tried to raise the diagnostic of this deficit of democracy. Whereas intergovernmentalists as Moravcsik do not see any reason to worry, most of the analyses recognize the existence of a lack of democracy. Two broad approaches in the researches on the democratic deficit can be noticed. [...]
[...] P., Functionalism and World Politics, London: Oxford University Press Weale A., Democratic Legitimacy and the Constitution of Europe, in Bellamy R., Bufacchi V. and Castiglione D. (eds.), Democratic and Constitutional Culture in the Union of Europe, London: Lothian Foundation Articles Caporaso J., European Uion and Forms of State: Westphalian, Regulatory, or Post-Modern', Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol No pp. 29-52. Dehousse R., ‘Institutional reform in the European Community: The role of European Agencies', in Journal of European Public Policy, Vol No pp. [...]
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