Union From A Democratic Perspective Essay, Research Paper
What is the impact in the European Union from a democratic perspective?
After World war two some European countries (Italy, Germany, France and the Benelux) in order to avoid new conflict started a process of economical integration that led nowadays to the E.U. . Looking back at the history of the E.U. there are some stages of the development that can be taken as the most important for our discussion:
the Treaty of Paris in 1951 that create the European Coal and Steel Community which put under a common authority the production of iron steel and coal, in 1957 the Treaty of Rome set up Euratom and the European Economic Community that had to aim a common policy of development in the field of nuclear industry and a common market for goods within the Member States, in 1976 with a single Act the Member States provided the legal base for direct election to the European Parliament (Philip Norton, 5,1996), in 1985 was set up a schedule to follow in order to achieve a complete single market by the 1992 this Paper included common environmental policy, health and safety policy, economic and social cohesion policy, areas not included in the EEC treaty, the 7th February 1992 the Treaty on the European Union was signed in Maastricht , the Treaty was the first step to a real political union among the Member States it concerned , the European Community, foreign and security policy, and justice and home affairs. As we can see in the fifty years after the Treaty of Paris there has been notable changes in the number of the
members and in the political and economical integration. From an originally economical integration we are arriving to a political integration that is causing constitutional, cultural , ideological and political problems. As a result of the Treaty of Maastricht which signed the political union the problems grew in the way that is debated a democratic deficit in the E.U. connected with a problem of supranational European parliaments that is disconnected from the National Parliaments. As a result of growing integration the democratic deficit in the E.U. became a greater problem since the E.P. Law making , increased to interfere into the sovereignty of the Member States without a real democratic legitimacy. This is mostly visible in the agricultural
policies that are nowadays decided by Brussels and in the increasing power of the E. U. in environmental and consumer protection policy , this represent a danger in the way that where internal market is concerned since a market without a State is coming into being over which there is no democratic control. To keep on our discussion about the problems of the European integration it is proper to take a look at the structure of the E.U. and try to point out why there is a democratic deficit and how can be solved if it can be solved.
When the E.U. was formed all the Member States aimed to democratic legitimation of and control over the Union`s decisions but this is still only to be found in the structure of the E.U. :
? a directly elected Parliament,
? a Council of Ministers from the individual Member States,
? Committee of the Regions as legislature,
? the Commission as executive,
? an independent Court of Justice and a Court of Auditors.
Concerning the E.P. it is not possible to talk about a real parliament, while the National Parliaments have all the requirements that such an institution needs to shape policy the European Parliaments is powerless, the Commissioners that form the executive of the E.U. are appointed by the national governments and their appointment must be reconfirmed by the national governments and that shows that the commissioner are not in anyway conditioned by the E.P. . In the legislative process than again the E.P. does not any real power since is the Council of Ministers to have the last say regarding the expenditure just 20% of the E.U. expenditure can be decide upon the Parliaments. An implement of the E.P. power will be a result of the Maastricht Treaty but it is still far to achieve the status of a real European Parliaments. Concerning the Council of Ministers we can easily say that is the E.U.`s centre of power. This situation is problematic because the ministers have to combine a legislative with an executive role, their duty is to implement the national Laws but at the same time pass new E.U. Laws in Brussels, the problem is in the pre-eminence of the E.U. Laws over the national Laws so that the national Laws cease to have force. This situation cause problems that regards the separation of the powers that is a requirement for a democracy. Another lack of Democracy can be found in the fact that Council of Ministers has the rights to represents only the governing parties of each individual country, and in certain case depending on the electoral system the governing parties do not represent the majority of the people, a full democracy can not represents partial interests and regarding the E.P. even more restricted.
The Commission is the only body o the E.U. that is allowed to submit proposals for European Laws that are after submitted by the Council of Ministers. The Committee
of Regions gives European regional administrative bodies the right to hearing on certain topics but effectively the only advantage for those national institutions is economical since there are closer links with Brussels. As we can see the structure of the E.U. has just the appearance of a democratic structure and the democratic deficit is massive (Bill Cash, The Irish Time,1,1996). Individual national Parliaments should debate about the role towards the E.P. since there is a non democratic replacement in the hole left by the E.P. in the different countries. The national Parliaments when it comes to ratification of treaty can only say yes or no that can be considered as a democratic control. An issue that create more problem to the process of democratisation of the E.U is the use of the media made by the politicians in a way that to preserve the secret on certain kind of matters like defence, internal security, immigration drugs terrorism, the process of transparency will be obstructed. The presence of the lobbies, industrial, lobby connected to environmental organisation and churches is increasing year by year their target are mostly to influence the legislative process and the standardisation of the E.U. itself, the problem is that both the E.U. and those lobbies get benefit from each other for different reasons: the E.U. is helped in achieve its programmes and those lobbies can make in a certain measure fit the E.U. programmes with their programmes with a total absence of democratic control. The national Parliaments are totally out of this power game, not even treaty of Maastricht will lead to reduction of the democratic deficit, it has been given more power to the E.U. but on the other hand the control on it by the national Parliaments has not been increased and if it will E.U. lobbies are going to make sure that is going to take time. E.P. after Maastricht did not change so much as well in its prerogatives,
it still is a good marketing product that can have an effect of democratic power that leads the choices Europe . It necessary to point that democracy is still lacking in the E.U. .E.U. process of integration can be comparable with the unity process of Germany in the sense that it is not coming from the base, the people, but is coming from the institution and it is disconnected in a certain measure from the national interest of each Member States. The blindness of the National Parliaments is to use the E.U. as a political tool for their internal affairs instead of debating on the problems of the E.U. that in the long can became a state without soul and most of all without a real democracy , the E.U. nowadays is a big bureaucratic machine apart from Europe and aiming to the integration of some economical institutions under the flag of Europe, in other words to achieve a European due to cultural and economic reasons rooted in each country in Europe since hundreds years is more suitable an integration process apart from a supranational entity . It is not possible to erase the differences among the countries and the aim of the E.U. it is not a solidarity one, so it is questionable to ask why the European integration has to be achieved through this way, with all the problems of democracy connected ? It is not simple to give an answer to this question but according to reasons mentioned above it is a process that has nothing to do with National Parliaments or cultural integration since does not interfere with Economic problems.