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Does interest representation enhance or undermine democracy in the European Union?

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  1. The concept of 'democracy' in the European Union
  2. Running and effects of interest representation

The democratic legitimacy of the European Union has long been questioned and debated upon. In this essay we will consider the role of interest representation and discuss whether or not it aids or demoralizes the ideals of democracy. In order to fully investigate this question we will first need to understand the concept of 'democracy' in the European Union, touch on the well known arguments denouncing the claims of European democracy and also comprehend what is meant by interest representation. We will then look at how interest representation in the EU functions and analyze the after effects that it has on democracies in the EU. An important point of discussion will be analyzing where interest representation is focused and if it can alleviate the so called democratic deficit created by some of the EU's main institutional bodies. This democratic deficit charges the European Union with a lack of democratic legitimacy, by stating that the institutions which wield power (mainly the Commission and the Councils) are unelected bodies, and thus their formation results in power that has no legitimate source. We will also determine if interest representation can counterbalance these claims.

[...] interest groups relationships with specific European Union institutions, and the resulting outcomes for democracy). Interest groups can not have a direct influence on the Council of Ministers or the European Council, for numerous reasons which are not important to discuss here. Lobbying to these bodies must be done through other ways, and the path that interest groups pick, if they are committed to influencing these EU bodies, is the national level (the Council of Ministers and European Council are not so sought after). [...]

[...] So, from this evidence, interest representation can be said to enhance democracy in the EU just by its attempt to distribute information from the EU to its citizens. On top of this, interest representation groups aim (as their name implies) to represent the interests of a certain group or groups of people. This process seemingly enhances democracy in the EU, but on a closer inspection, things are not so cut and dry, as we will see. How, then, do interest representation groups lobby in the European Union? Where do they focus their attention? Is this process of lobbying depleting democracy or helping it to flourish? [...]

[...] Increasingly, interest representation groups have been focusing their attention on the EP, through, for example, personal lobbying of MEP's, especially those on important committees. This attention has sound reasoning the interest representation groups have a desire to sway the power sources of the European Union into their groups' favour, but despite the increased participation that this may bring, in this particular case the process of interest representation can be argued as undermining democracy. The EP is in fact the only directly elected power base in the EU it has accountability, legitimacy, transparency and leads to political participation and education as much as it can (for example plenary sessions are televised). [...]

[...] The Government and Politics of the European Union, by Neil Nugent, fifth edition published by Palgrave Macmillan 2003. [...]

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