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Democratic Failure of European Union and Lisbon Treaty

Democratic Failure of European Union and Lisbon Treaty

Amjad Sarfraz (Updated: 10.02.2016)






This aim of this report is to discuss the democratic failure of European Union EU. Because since a long time, EU was facing a lot of challenges due to Globalization and some other major institutional reforms. Here is is supposed to discuss the causes of democratic failure of European Union. For the solution of this democratic failure, EU has implemented the Lisbon Treaty (2007) which was in result of amending treaties, this Lisbon treaty was the came into force in 2009. And the results after implementation of Lisbon were expected to go towards improvement. But according to facts and figures, It has been observed that the Lisbon Treaty is also look to be not much effective and European Union is still facing the Democratic Deficit into its reforms. 

1. European Union (EU):

The European Union is the federation of 27 states of Europe, known as largest Union in the world, which shares the common identity, reforms, values and policies along with one currency called Euro. The purpose of formation European Union is to protect the identity of Europe as one federation and now European Union has common Defense Policy, European Security policy, Foreign Security Policy as compared to other unions in the world.

2. Democratic Deficit of European Union (EU):

The “Democratic Deficit” terms has been used for the situation, in which EU was facing the constitutional tensions between those which are favoring the intergovernmental Europe and which are favoring the original community methods. This term has been invented by David Marquand in 1970, and this term is used to describe the poor democratic legitimacy of European Union.

The story of democratic deficit starts from 1950s, when EU process started by some bureaucrats and some politicians and after that the top leader of countries involved into this process and finally the European commission was came into existence. Although its was good step and EU become the World’s largest community who shares many commonalities, but the problem was, this was not done by the will of citizens and general people but was in the result of top bureaucrats and politicians and general public was not involved. A major part of citizens started to consider it undemocratic and illegitimacy (Europe & Me Magazine 2011).

The research findings also help to understand the democratic deficit of European Union (EU) is also contributed by several factors. According to the report by EU Policy Challenges (2009-19) state some challenges such as, globalization, economic affairs, social affairs, employment, environment, public health, food safety, change in climate, regional affairs, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, democratic stability, consumer protection, information and communication technologies, human rights, international law, internal affairs, external affairs, growth and sustainability.

3. Lisbon Treaty and Democratic Deficit:

The democratic deficit states that European Union is lacking in democracy. Besides many reasons of this deficit, the role of Lisbon treaty is also needed to assess. In 2007, the new amendments have been implemented in shape of Lisbon Treaty, but after observation, it has been found that there are still lack of democracy. But before going to discuss the reasons, first there is need to understand the Lisbon treaty.

Lisbon Treaty has been implemented in 2009 and major focus of Lisbon treaty is to protect the EU from the challenges and develop strategies to face global challenges, like Globalization, Emplacement, Human Rights, food and safety programs and so on. Here are some important changes which has announced in Lisbon Treaty.

Lisbon Treaty gives new power to national parliament to return any proposal towards commissions in order to conduct reconsideration.

Lisbon Treaty provides reforming the system presidencies of European Councils from six month to two and half years.

Lisbon Treaty has reduces the quantity of Commissioners

No Constitutions but book of rules.

It Provides the Charter of Fundamental Rights for EU Citizen

It has propose the changes into Structure of EU Parliament.

It proposed to select the EU leaders for up to five year period.

It has proposed to deal the foreign affairs through representatives.

The above are mentioned some of highlight on reforms of Lisbon treaty. There are also some other reforms, which has not discussed here, as our main topic is to discuss democratic deficit (Lisbon Treaty 2009; Timesofmalta.com 2007)

As discussed above, when the European Union formation was started, it was begun by bureaucrats and some politicians, and public was not involved into this matter, as it’s become disputed as it was not initiated by will of people.

Lack of Legitimacy into Institutions—There is lack of legitimacy between the European institutions like European councils and European parliament and other governmental bodies, which shows the negligence due to lack of legitimacy and control.

Lack of Influence its Citizen—As there was not involved any people’s consent, so there is lack of people’s trust and majority of citizen does not obey the governmental reforms and orders and they show less interest.

Citizen are not Involved in election campaigns—As discussed above, people do not show the interest and trust, and they are not involved in election campaigns and even they do not go for voting leaders.

Global Challenges—EU has been facing many of global challenges, and there are lack of reforms to solve these challenges. So there is needed any govt. structure which can reduce the impact of these global challenges.

In concluding the discussion, it has been found that there are many reasons, which contribute to democratic deficit of EU, including the formation bases of European Union. Means to say, as the EU was started by some bureaucrats and some politicians, lack of legitimacy and lacy of trust of EU citizen and other. The major things, it must start from people’s consent and secondly, it must be people oriented, matters must be solved with the consent of people and leader must be elected by elections with people’s support. In this way, if EU get succeed into getting people’s trust, then it can reduce the elements of deficiency and improves the democracy.






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