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How is Democracy Applied within the EU: Combining Elements of Traditional and Innovative Democratic Practice

Hrvoje Butković ; Institute for International Relations, Department for European Integration, Zagreb, Croatia

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 109 Kb

str. 27-43

preuzimanja: 660



The EU represents a new and complex political system which, according to
numerous social scholars, suffers from the so-called democratic deficit. The basic
argument behind this claim is that citizens lack control of the EU because,
within its political system, national parliaments of member states possess only
limited powers which have not been adequately compensated through steady
empowerment of the European parliament (EP). Starting from this notion, the
paper will explore the application of various concepts of democracy within the
political system of the EU. First and foremost, it will analyse representative democracy
in the EU, which stands as a foundation of all contemporary democratic
systems. However, the paper will not stop at representative democracy, but
it will also look at participatory, direct and deliberative democracy as applied
within the political system of the EU. These concepts of democracy can only be
viewed in relation and as an addition to representative democracy, but their application
is very important for the EU due to limited possibilities for developing
representative democracy at the supranational level. The paper will argue that,
with regard to participatory and deliberative democracy, the EU can be viewed
in many respects as a showcase for the national level, because it successfully
developed various mechanisms related to implementation of these concepts.
Particular attention will be paid to the Lisbon Treaty, which clarified many uncertainties
that previously burdened the application of democracy within the
EU. It will be argued that with the Lisbon Treaty the classic argument about the
EU’s democratic deficit lost some of its appeal, because this treaty transformed
the EP from secondary to equal participant in the EU’s legislative process.

Ključne riječi

European Union; Lisbon Treaty; representative democracy; participatory democracy; direct democracy; deliberative democracy

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