Monday 30 June 2008

European integration: Re-birth without democracy?

Constantinos Simitis, the former prime minister of Greece, takes a long view on European integration in his Project Syndicate article ‘The Inevitable Re-Birth of European Integration’:

Since the Project Syndicate demands permission to reprint, I am going to assume that the reader turns to the original article and I move straight to my commentary.

Simitis convincingly lays out the weaknesses of the EU to formulate and to advance policies as well as to define itself in the international system. His long term view that the dimension of political problems will require solid forms of cooperation, seems well founded.

I agree with his view on the need for the Lisbon Treaty reforms as means to improve the European Union.

When the member of the Action Committee on European Democracy (ACED) sees the insufficient democratic legitimacy as an obstacle to change, I agree.

But when Simitis alleges off-hand that democracy in the EU cannot be guaranteed by the models that apply in the member states, and when he offers the Lisbon Treaty provisions on democracy plus national forums for debate as substitutes for EU level democracy, I am saddened by his lack of vision and his willingness to perpetuate the chasm between EU citizens and political leaders.

Shouldn’t the Action Committee on European Democracy be a force for democracy at the European level?

Ralf Grahn

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