Democratic Deficit of the EU After the Lisbon Treaty – Is There an Institutional Solution?

  • Abstract:
    The paper focuses on the current state of the democratic deficit in the European Union after the institutional reforms that have been made with the Lisbon Treaty. The key issue that would be examined is whether the process of democratization and the reforms provided by the Lisbon Treaty have responded to the democratic demands of the citizens and if this process has created a more efficient and closer Union to the citizens. The most accepted concept is the standard version of the democratic deficit. According to this concept, the main problem of the EU is the fact that there is a shift of political control from the democratic parliamentary systems of government at national level to the executive-centered systems of government at the European level. The paper addresses two main issues. First one refers to the elements of the standard version of the democratic deficit and whether they have been properly addressed and solved by the Lisbon Treaty. According to Hix , the standard version of the democratic deficit in the EU involves five main claims that will be particularly addressed: increased executive power/decreased national parliamentary control in the EU, European Parliament is too weak, there are no “European” elections, the EU is too distant from the citizens and EU adopts policies that are not supported by majority of the citizens. The second issue that is elaborated is the issue of European identity, as a source of legitimization of a political community. There is a persistent absence of an awareness of or identification with the European Union as a political community by the citizens. The European identity was seen as a crucial factor for the development of the EU’s successful supranational character by the supporters of the European integration, but this political goal hasn’t succeed as expected. This paper will provide possible scenarios for further development in this respect.