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The European Union Suffers Both from a Political and a Democratic Deficit.

Autor:   •  November 5, 2016  •  Essay  •  1,593 Words (7 Pages)  •  450 Views

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London Final Essay

-Question 1

“The European Union suffers both from a political and a democratic deficit.” Discuss

Jean Monnet said in 1957 that he aimed to achieve “an ever closer union of the peoples of Europe”, that the project that ended up being the European Union was not only an economic project, but also a cultural one. He wanted to unite peoples, not only states. Nowadays we have a Union in which there is not a cultural union nor a solid economic one, with the feared “Grexit” shaking Europe and arising tension. The Union must rethink itself in front of this turning point that poses the Greece situation, and cannot miss this opportunity to face not only the Greek issue but also the cultural one.

The European identity is an old aspiration of the Union, but it has always failed to succeed in this goal although all the things done in this matter. Projects like the Schengen Area, or the Erasmus Programme amongst the youngsters, among other things, have been a big boost to the project of European identity, facilitating mobility and interaction between peoples, and I am sure there will be other projects in the field of mobility and interaction, but this project has another leg which is missing and it cannot be left aside for the European identity project to succeed: institutions. It’s not that we need more European institutions, we have lots of them, but about their quality. Most people (including politicians), willing to contribute to the European project, say that they want “more Europe”, and so it has been: the number of institutions has increased and so has its power. But more is not always better. I do want more Europe, but that does not necessarily mean that we need more and more institutions. Before creating new institutions and giving them more power, we should improve them. More Europe doesn’t imply better Europe; in fact sometimes more is worse. The point is not that we should have more or less Europe but that we should look at the quality of our institutions before giving them more power.

The European Parliament has been increasing since power since its foundation and paradoxically, elections participation has been decreasing. In 2014, participation increased for the first time of the Parliament’s history: a tenth. From 43% in 2009 to 43,1% in 2014. European elections are seen in Europe as midterm national elections; nobody knows the name of more than two MEPs. In Spain few people know Miguel Arias Cañete –and half of these wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for a sexist comment against Elena Valenciano-.

The European Parliament, though it has more power than 30 years ago, is not a real parliament. Law making depends on three institutions: the Commission, who proposes; and the Parliament and the Council, who amend. The Commission has not been elected directly by elections, nor the Council, and they have lot of power in the EU: the Commission proposes and drafts laws –influenced by the lobbies- and the Council can amend them, and the Parliament needs a high majority to have the last word, which is very difficult. So the result is that the citizens perceive that the Parliament does not have power, and what they express by voting has no impact on European policies.

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