March 27, 2008
WHAT? The debate on democratic deficit seems to neglect the potential that the EU already has and that is the national parliaments of its Member States. They should be understood as part of a broader EU constitutional order and be better involved in EU affairs irrespective of the outcome of the Lisbon Treaty ratification process.
WHY? National parliaments have the most direct electoral tie with the European citizens. Despite direct elections for the European Parliament and the strengthening of its position, it remains weak in terms of providing the EU’s most important institutions (notably the Commission and the Council) with legitimacy and accountability.
HOW? I do not expect the UK House of Commons or the French Assemblée Nationale to stop their national activities or to act completely coherently towards EU issues, but if their ministers within the Council can decide every day about what will become law in their own and all the other EU Member States without almost any responsibility, then it seems plausible to understand them as part of the EU apparatus. Why not voice their opinions more openly in the EU decision-making process? Why not call the Council to account as an EU institution? Why not call the Commission to account? Why not create its access to the European Court of Justice via the government, if need be?
To sum up, democracy need not stem only from the European Parliament and if citizens hear more from their parliament – then let their voice be heard!Author : EMI