The EU is a bunch of unelected bureaucrats. At least, so runs a common criticism levied by eurosceptics at the 28-member bloc. According to this argument, the so-called “democratic deficit” means that European functionaries wield significant power, yet are unaccountable to electorates.
The reality is more complicated. Much of the power in the European Union is, in fact, held by elected governments in the European Council and the Council of Ministers; the directly-elected European Parliament has steadily increased in power and importance with each treaty revision; even Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, ran an election campaign during the 2015 European Parliament elections, securing his position only because the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) got the most votes.
We had a comment sent in from Dario on our Suggest a Debate page, asking whether everybody with power should be directly elected.
At the national level, those with political power are not always “directly elected”. In a parliamentary system, for example, heads of government are elected by parliament (thus being “indirectly elected”). In most legal systems, judges are not elected. Police chiefs are usually unelected, and military commanders always so. Central bank heads are appointed, and often (nominally) independent of government control.
But should everybody in a position of power be directly elected? Would that help close the “democratic deficit”? Or would it just lead to “election fatigue”, with lower voter turnout? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!