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4 - Towards the Democratization of the EU? Strengthening prerogatives of the European Parliament in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union

from PART ONE - THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 December 2017

Agnieszka Piekutowska
Affiliation:
Department of European Law, Faculty of Law, University of Bialystok
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

Individuals conceptualize the term democracy in a variety of ways. While in the 19th century democracy was associated with a direct form of government in Athenian style, a major breakthrough with the development of nation-states and the prevalence of representation was the foundation for the development of representative democracy.

Representation means transformation of the individuals’ will to the will of the political institutions. Thus, in a representative democracy, public authorities should have democratic legitimacy following citizens’ choice. This statement is a starting point for the reflection in terms of democratic legitimacy, reflection transposed on the ground of the integration processes in Europe. As a result of the creation of the European Community and the European Union, there has been a further relocation of the part of public power. Therefore, public powers exercised by the EU institutions must have democratic legitimacy.

There is a consent that mainstream theories of state democratization are illequipped to explain EU democratization as they are bonded to the nation-state context. The issue of democratic deficit in the EC yielded a vast, heterogeneous literature, notably after the publication of the Tindemans report in 1975, in which, for the very first time, the distance between citizens and the institutions of the EC was acknowledged. Thus, a wide debate on political reforms so as to achieve a more democratic EU has been started, bringing numerous potential solutions to this problem that vary in range and scope. In the debate on democratic deficit in the EU, it is argued that the EU policy is dominated by unelected bodies and directly elected EP plays a secondary role. As a result, the claims on greater power of parliamentary assembly arose such as – for instance – a proposal that the EP should have an independent power of legislative initiative. Majonefi nds such an argumentation as based on the analogy with national institutions. Moravcsik adds that political decision-making should not always be majoritarian and this could be the case in Europe. Still, the Community's 50-year trajectory “from an international organization with very limited traits of democracy to one that has the major institutional trappings of a democratic polity” is marked by the enhancement of the European Parliament's prerogatives.

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Publisher: Intersentia
Print publication year: 2015

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