Re-Evaluating The Standards of Democratic Legitimacy in the EU: Should the EU be Democratic?

Dr. Buket Okten

Discussing the democratic legitimacy in the European Union (EU), it should be kept in mind that the EU is not a single nation state which holds all the authority on one hand, rather it is a sui generis political and economic integration consisting of several member countries. As the only fully directly elected institution of EU, the European Parliament is expected so much considering its limited authority. Not surprisingly for international organizations, EU’s decision making power mostly belongs to executive branch of government. EU’s governing institutions are unpresentative in nature and this continuing weakness of European level government seems far away from changing. Since there is no literally ‘European’ elections, the only national vote belongs to European Parliament elections which has most of the time low participation rates. With the Eurozone crisis, EU is started to be questioned about its political structure and democratic legitimacy particularly by the Eurosceptic parties. Last European Parliament elections done in May 2019 show a rise in the participation rate of the voters as well as rise of the nationalist and Eurosceptic parties in the Parliament. The results show that citizens of the EU member countries feel themselves very distant from the union that they think European integration becomes harmful for them affecting by migration, Eurozone and Schengen crisis and experience of BREXIT. With the above facts; this article challenges the democratic legitimacy in the EU member and neighbor countries considering the EU’s role. Furthermore, the article defends that -so-called- democratic deficit problem of EU should be re-evaluated. The expected findings of the article include the idea that European level governance always sticks at one point: policy without politics. The European level governance shows up as an EU-type democracy in which policy making process goes on without politics. Yet, financial crisis merged with other ongoing crisis of the union appears to be reversing these memorized trend by affecting the decision making process in favor of rule of law.