Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute
Democratic Institutions for a Large European Union workshop location:Florence (Italy) date:December 2001
This paper studies the democratic deficit in the European Union (EU). It examines what constitutes a democratic deficit, analyzes whether there is one in the EU, and offers suggestions for a solution. I focus on the output of the legislative process and study whether policies deviate from those emerging in other political systems. In particular, I present a formal model of policy-making in a bicameral system, apply it to the EU, and compare the EU with the United States. I conclude that the institutional setup of the EU does not lead to policies that are fundamentally undemocratic, and that the composition of its institutions is not inherently less democratic than that of the US political institutions. I also find, however, that a democratic deficit may exist owing to a lack of transparency and an excess of delegation in the legislative process.