Sunday, 22 June 2008

EU democracy

The European Union has rolled out a plethora of ’democratic’ measures towards its citizens, such as information, communication, listening, dialogue, debate, some voting rights, NGO financing and participatory exercises, with the citizens’ initiative promised as a Lisbon Treaty sweetener.

Only one thing seems to be missing: real democracy.

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“It is not just a matter of communicating the content of European politics better. The basic problem with the EU is a lack of democracy. Citizens cannot see how they can influence European decisions”, said Rev. Thomas Wipf, the president of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe.

See Ecumenical News International: Irish vote exposes EU democracy challenge says churches’ leader (16 June 2008):

http://www.eni.ch/featured/article.php?id=1997

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There is a huge difference between ‘more democratic’ and plain democratic, which no amount of sweet-talking is going to erase.

The essential requirement is the ability to vote the responsible people into and out of office.

Only then do the electors carry the moral responsibility to live by their choices, good and bad.

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I have started to doubt if the Lisbon Treaty is worth having with sham democracy at the European Union level.

I have begun to feel that further alienating about half of the EU citizens is too high a price to pay for institutional reform.

Institutional EU reform is necessary, and so is continuing progress, but if they come without democracy, accountability and legitimacy, they are not worth having.


Ralf Grahn