Do you feel your voice matters in Europe? Critics have long complained of a “democratic deficit” between citizens and the European Union, and certainly the EU can sometimes feel a bit disconnected from the ordinary lives of Europeans. Previous efforts at enhancing EU democracy (including the so-called Spitzenkandidaten process) have met with limited success.

How would you boost European democracy? Do we need more referendums like the Swiss system (including, perhaps, referendums on membership itself)? Is the EU’s institutional framework too complicated, and in need of simplification? Could “liquid democracy” or other innovations help decrease the democratic deficit?

What do our readers think? We had a comment come in from Ivan, who thinks previous efforts at enhancing democracy at the EU level have been failures. He points to the European Citizens Initiative, which has seen only four initiatives successfully submitted to the Commission in 8 years, none of which have been adopted into law. How will future efforts be different?

To get a response, we put Ivan’s comment to Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Democracy and Demography. She is the Commissioner responsible for the Conference on the Future of Europe, a consultation with citizens from across the EU about what sort of reforms and future direction they want the 27-member bloc to take.

How would she respond to Ivan’s criticism that past efforts to enhance European democracy have failed?

Does it help to boost democracy at the EU level if it is being eroded at the national level? We had a comment sent in by Terezia, who believes that Hungary and Poland, for example, are violating fundamental European democratic principles. What is the Commission going to do about democracy being eroded in Member States?

To get a response, we put Terezia’s remark to Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, whose role includes ensuring the rule of law is upheld across the EU. What would he say?

How can we make the EU more democratic? Will future efforts at enhancing democracy at the EU level be successful? What is the commission going to do about democracy being eroded in member states? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: BigStock – (c) melis


63 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Христо

    1. Abolish the privileges for the EU bureaucrats. Make them be responsible for their actions. Abolish their immunity.
    2. Directly electing an EU President every 5 years.
    3. Establish a European local court in every member state that must be independent from the national governments.
    4. Tax the rich.
    5. Don’t vote for EPP.

  2. avatar
    Chris

    Just go back to individual national governments working together. Form free trade arrangements with similar economies and drop the euro

  3. avatar
    Jevgeni

    People must give mandate for most of decisions made without “Josep Borrell seeking for consent from each member state over every comma in the statements he makes”. We need to change the election system the way that mandate for commissioners comes directly from people, not from discussions between some groups or individual lobbyists (in many cases who were not elected by people to be their representative in the parliament).

  4. avatar
    Elie

    Pass a minimum common sense test and knowledge in history and politics before giving the right to vote .an ignorant vote is big danger

  5. avatar
    Tristan

    Give the European Parliament the initiative to propose European decrees and introduce one single European constituency so that every European M.P. is elected by European citizens from all across Europe.

  6. avatar
    Simona

    The EU parliamentarians really do not have much idea of problems people on the street face, other than perhaps those of their own country or region. Therefore the larger countries with more representatives tend to steamroller over the smaller ones. Perhaps they should spend their summer Recess working in an alternative country, just to get the feel of it.

  7. avatar
    Olivier

    Euro rats must be tax like citizens. Commission should be elected..

  8. avatar
    Alexandru

    All countries should unite under one European Parliament and an European president .. like US .. it works there would work here too

    • avatar
      Chris

      the USA all speak one language and have common legal and cultural backgrounds. Half of Europe only esoaceled communism thirty years ago, the other half was fighting it, differing legal systems, how many languages, differing cultures, differing attitudes to work, differing attitudes to the right direction for Europe etc.european nations are too different and I think if you ask the people of each country you would have a much smaller eu anyway

    • avatar
      Alexandru

      You are wrong, diversity is awesome. This way Europe will be stronger .. and all it does need to unite further is another threat beside: Trump, Putin or the Chinese Comunist Party.

    • avatar
      Chris

      yeah diversity is awesome lol, I live in one of the most diverse European countries and diversity is destroying our culture and history. Maybe the future if you want a socialist utopia for the plebs while the rich still live it up and flood you with thrid world Labour and Islam

    • avatar
      Chris

      trump 2020

    • avatar
      Constantina

      I know it’s not as simple as it sounds but it’s the only way to move forward, if we don’t move forward we are destined to go backwards like our British friends. Isn’t it obvious already that EU is not working for everyone the way it is now?

    • avatar
      Tristan

      they actually don’t have one language in the USA, they have several languages like English, Spanish, French, native American languages, etcetera.

    • avatar
      Chris

      yawn, the language is English in the huge vast majority, immigrants need to learn the language and not expect other amaericans to learn theirs

    • avatar
      Tristan

      English isn’t the official language of the United States of America (the country doesn’t have an official language), although it’s the dominant language (82,1%). And you do know that the vast majority of Americans have ancestors who were immigrants?

    • avatar
      Chris

      yeah of course as a former colony I take an interest in my American cousins, plus my father, brother and sister live there

    • avatar
      Alexandru

      I’m pretty sure that socialism has no future in Europe

    • avatar
      Chris

      the eu is socialism in action, more Centralisation, more redistribution of wealth and an elite living the champagne lifestyle while normal people get poorer. Sounds very similar to socialism to me

    • avatar
      Alexandru

      I do agree that in Europe are some types of socialism atm but when you are saying that the normal people are getting poorer this is not true. Actually living in Europe is way better than you would like it yo be so enjoy your rainy days on your isolated island and I hope soon visas will be implemented for our tea drinking friends

    • avatar
      Chris

      so much happier put of it, even got my new blue passport. Enjoy your bailout fund and this isolated rainy island will enjoy building trading relations with the world free of EU red tape and with a new competitive edge. Have you seen how many companies are relocating here? Thought it was going to be the other way around? Countries lining up for trade deals, the USA about to re elect trump who is pro UK, the ability to undercut the eu in every sphere of business. What’s not to like?

    • avatar
      Alexandru

      Trading agreements ? Your government failed miserably at doing the deals that Europe did .. dude you are a joke .. your country is falling apart … not Europe ..

    • avatar
      Chris

      you are Deluded, the eu is the joke. Why not let the people of each country decide through a referendum, there would be multiple exits

    • avatar
      Chris

      why not ask the people then, all the polls said the UK would remain

    • avatar
      Tristan

      because the people were asked during the last European elections and will be asked again during the next European election. And don’t forget that the Brexit vote was manipulated with promises that they couldn’t keep (Remember the bus mentioning something about the NHS?).

    • avatar
      Chris

      that’s not a vote on whether you wish to remain in the EU is it, oh I forgot the eu just ignores votes which don’t go their way, Lisbon treaty in Ireland? You mean the campaign where the bbc, government, establishment and barrack Obama were all trying to make us remain? Oh for your info the UK government have already added more than the bus promise to the nhs budget so maybe get your facts right and stop reading the new European

    • avatar
      Tristan

      can you provide me some links then on the NHS budget?

    • avatar
      Chris

      I’m sure you can Google it

    • avatar
      Tristan

      I can and I did (although I think that if you make a claim, you should also be able to back it up with facts that you can provide instead of asking the other person to look it up themself), although it’s more nuanced than that (the fact still remains that it wasn’t £350m per week but £252m per week) and it’s not really coming from the money that went to the European Union.

    • avatar
      Chris

      not sure why it’s relevant anyway, no legal case against the leave side was upheld. The UK government spend millions of money on propaganda in favour of the EU and still lost. If you think people voted brexit because of a bus you are sorely mistaken. They voted because of many reasons not to mention the democratic deficit in the EU

    • avatar
      Tristan

      of course there were several reasons why people voted leave (as well as for voting remain), but if it was the democratic deficit in the EU then they just didn’t understand how the European Union works. And there were also a lot of voters who voted leave as an anti-establishment vote. And the leave campaign had some seriously wealthy backers as well.

    • avatar
      Chris

      so the eu commission is democratic?

    • avatar
      Tristan

      yes, because they are apointed by the national governments and then approved by a vote of confidence in the European Parliament which is elected by the European citizens. The European Union could of course become more democratic if the European Parliament would get the legislative initiative, but it’s certainly not undemocratic.

    • avatar
      Chris

      another major issue for the UK was the large net payments, freedom of movement, the invitation from Mrs merkle of millions of migrants then instructing other countries to take them, meddling in our countries laws, plundering of our natural resources. I think many of us like Europe, like visiting European countries but don’t feel anywhere near enough affinity with Europe to become a united States of Europe

    • avatar
      Dee

      the US was founded in completely different circumstances..

    • avatar
      Dee

      diversity breaks down social cohesion and trust, people need to feel a sense of home and belonging, the ancient Greeks called it “oikos”

    • avatar
      Dee

      indeed we know all about EU style democracy here in Ireland, keep voting until the desired result is achieved. I wouldnt trust those polls the EU runs about its popularity either… Leading questions

    • avatar
      Dee

      the EU parliament is a sham

    • avatar
      Tristan

      no, it isn’t.

    • avatar
      Dee

      yes it is, a rubber stamping department, nó one even knows who these people are, good work if you can get it..

    • avatar
      Tristan

      maybe you should pay attention to who your European M.P.’s are. I know who mine are and I follow their voting history.

    • avatar
      Dee

      welcome to the 0.5% who do, i prefer my politicians national and accountable to the public..

  9. avatar
    Filipe

    More power to the European Parliament. Less power to the European Council.

  10. avatar
    Peter

    Common constitution , equal citizens with equal chances in life , equal living standards among Europe’s civilians …and as i am sad to admit take away powers from ethnic local governments … Greek government has no respect for the civilians

  11. avatar
    Dee

    Back to the EEC or get rid of it completely, it’s been woefully antidemocratic between ignoring referendums results to making countries vote again, it has no democratic basis or the people’s consent to be a federation.

  12. avatar
    Maria

    My voice doesnt matter in EU. Because EU is more and more antidemocratic. All of the politicians live in a bubble.

  13. avatar
    Rick

    Please specify “democratic.” Are you asking that all decisions be put to referendum, where every citizen vote is counted? Or using the current method of representatives voting on behalf of their constituents?

  14. avatar
    Julia

    The EU is no different from local government. Trade and taxes come first. Except for taxing the rich and closing corporation legal tax loopholes.All services that benefit citizens are under-funded. It is not more democracy that is required. Prioritising citizens well being and raising the basic standard of living is what is required. Equality on the basic benefits and minimum wage is what is missing in the EU.

  15. avatar
    Luca

    It is very simple: first of all make Europe more European

    • avatar
      Eleni

      examine how Germany has taken over and where it gets its huge profits before we continue. Colonizing its the EU members and taking advantage of them is NOT what the other country members had in mind when they joined the EU “family”

    • avatar
      Toby

      why did the greeks waste their funds originally? wasn’t there something about government corruption there?

    • avatar
      Eleni

      Tony Germany handed out money to Greece with a high interest rate with a plan. To buy all the public wealth from Greece. No bank would encourage you to take out a loan of a billion dollars if it knows that you can only repay $100 a week.

    • avatar
      Terri

      not to mention now Germany owns all the national treasures of Greece

      The EU lied to get Greece to join the euro which they knew would hurt greece and benefit Germany

  16. avatar
    Terry

    We can my the EU more Democratic by introducing democracy for a start

    Let the people vote in the president
    Let the people pick the council of ministers
    Infact let the people decide it all

  17. avatar
    Dan

    It’s simple, return to the old EEC,a free trade block of independent nations.True it would not be quite the same due to the number of countries now locked into the disastrous single currency,but tough, that’s their problem.
    But something has to change now before it’s to late,at the moment the people of this continent are showing there anger by voting in right wing or ‘populist’ parties in national elections,if these parties are unsuccessful or worse still ignored by the unelected bureaucrats then I can see the people taking to the streets and major rioting breaking out.

  18. avatar
    Jason

    Stop the EU being the Trojan Horse for US multinationals and stop Luxembourg, Ireland and two faced Dutch parasites to be tax havens so that they can siphon off wealth from other countries’ companies and then calling the countries they robbed, “pigs”.

  19. avatar
    Virna

    Simple: stop making it all about the money.

  20. avatar
    jthk

    Too much democratic is leading to anarchic if the system is abused. Look at populist president the US and Brazil have elected, once elected, economic growth tops life of the people even in this climax of the Covid-2019!

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