The Democratic Deficit in America

The enhanced role of the European Parliament is said to decrease and minimize representation of the Member States and as such threatens parliamentary sovereignty. The European Parliament appears to enjoy decision making in what is viewed by many as a predominantly executive political system. The European Union has dominated a number or areas in which it determines and issues policies usurping national control in these areas. 4

The second factor contributing to the notion that the European Union is characterized by what is called a democratic deficit is the nature of the European parliamentary elections. It is generally felt that Europeans vote in the election process on the basis of domestic issues rather than on issues on a wider European level. Moreover, as there are typically no real political parties vying for office within the European Parliament the representative capacity of those invariably elected is compromised.5

A matter of concern that accounts for the perception that the European Union is demonstrative of a democratic deficit is the apparent disconnect between the European Union and its citizens in general. The apparent lack of transparency associated with the EU’s parliamentary decision-making process& directly responsible for this general disconnect. This lack of transparency is inconsistent with the ideals of public accountability that largely characterizes the democratic process.6

The broad powers afforded the European Court of Justice is also another factor contributing to the notion that the European Union governs in a manner consistent with a democratic deficit. The doctrine of ‘direct effect’ essentially dictates that the EU law will prevail over the national laws of the Member States and obviously threatens the parliamentary sovereignty of those States.

&nbsp.&nbsp.&nbsp.&nbsp.&nbsp.&nbsp.&nbsp.&nbsp.&nbsp.&nbsp.&nbsp. The overall impact of the difficulties with the democratic failures within the European Parliamentary process is that policy decision made at the executive level are typically out of touch with the European citizenry.