Counteracting Democratic Deficit in the European Union through a New Multilevel “Trial” Model of Democracy

  • Abstract:
    The following paper will analyze and try to find solutions for the so-called democratic deficit in the EU. Due to the progressive integration of the EU, national parliaments continued to lose legislative powers. This transfer of power from national legislative organ to the European executive organs is identified as “democratic deficit”. To countervail this phenomenon, the Treaty of Maastricht of 1992 introduced a new actor into play – the national parliaments. Today, the legitimacy of the Union is attributed to a large extent to the national parliaments, although the European Parliament has undergone the largest transformations in the course of the institutional reforms. Trough Article 12 of the Treaty on European Union Treaty of Lisbon involves national parliaments in the legislative process of the EU at primary law level and intensifies even further their legitimizing function in the government system of the European Union. According to the last decisions of the German Constitutional Court, this cross parliamentarisation of the European Union through the European Parliament – and in particular by recourse to the national parliaments – has so far been insufficiently implemented. Therefore, the present paper will examine, by which alternative models the democratic legitimacy of the European Union can be ensured in the long period and how a more efficient and regular cooperation can be designed and promoted in particular between the European Parliament and national parliaments, national parliaments among themselves, and between national and sub-national parliaments. I will especially analyze, whether the democratic deficit can be counteracted by the fact, that Member States’ parliaments are stronger integrated into the legislative process of the European Union. However, this raises the question whether the newly created role of national parliaments under the article 12 TEU can be qualified as a independent legislative role of national parliaments in the legislative process of the Union which brings a new three-stage “trial” model of democracy “