The Inevitability of a Democratic Deficit
KEY CONTROVERSIES IN EUROPEAN INTEGRATION, pp. 64-71, Hubert Zimmermann, Andreas Dür, eds., Palgrave, 2012
13 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2012 Last revised: 9 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 20, 2012
Abraham Lincoln famously defined democracy as ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people’. In many respects, the key debates over the EU’s democratic deficit can be categorized in terms of which of these three elements they focus on. Thus, the traditional debate has centered on whether the weaknesses of government ‘by’ the people at the EU level reflect the absence ‘of’ a European people with a shared identity and interests capable of ruling itself, or the absence of appropriate institutions with suitable powers through (or ‘by’) which such a people might rule. This discussion has given rise in turn to a second debate alleging that for the highly technical and limited policy areas covered by the EU, government ‘for’ the people need not involve government ‘by’ the people at all. Responsible and reasonable administration suffices. So long as the EU delivers policies that benefit all in an efficient, effective and equitable way, no deficit exists. The sections that follow will explore each of these debates in turn.
Keywords: democratic deficit, EU, output, input
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