The Democratic Deficit in the EU
A democratic deficit may be defined in two ways; John McCormick gives a general definition to be 'the gap between the powers held by European institutions and the ability of European citizens to influence the work and decisions of those institutions' (McCormick, 1999). Christopher Lord of Leeds University adds that a democratic deficit exists 'wherever political powers are transferred to EU institutions that are less democratic than national ones'. Both definitions assume a definition of a legitimate democratic institution as an accountable and representative body working in its citizens' interests.
The democratic deficit in the EU has many sources; not least of which is the impotence of the European Parliament. The European Parliament is the only body within the Union that is directly elected, and therefore the only of the institutions that may claim Europe-wide legitimacy. However, the Parliament does not function as the legislature but rather as one of the legislative branches of the European policy-making process. …
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