Is the EU Democratic Deficit Really A Problem?

Most of the EU remains a mystery to the average citizen. There is little, if any, popular publication of what goes on in the various institutions. The perception is that decisions are made behind closed doors. To what extent is this a problem?

The EU is at a crossroads. The Euro Crisis has shaken the body to its core and put to bed the idea that the EU can gain all the benefits of integration without surrendering a substantial amount of sovereignty.

There has always been an underlying tension between those in the EU who see it as an intergovernmental body for cooperation in matters such as the market and the federalist camp who believe the goal of the EU is pursue an ‘ever-closer union’.

Now, the EU is pursuing a banking union and the Commission has the ability to look over national budgets and submit suggestions for changes. However, these measures alone are not enough to solve the broader issues that arise when you have a monetary union but not a fiscal union, the ability to redirect spending to the periphery for unemployment or economic shocks.

The debt crisis showed how damaging an incomplete union can be in real terms to citizens. The choice is broadly between reversing integration made in the last few decades in order to return to more of a loose free trade union or to move forward and create a stronger centre. Either way, standing still is not an option.

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