It’s been 44 years since the Young European Federalists first coined the term “democratic deficit” – two years before the first direct elections to the European Parliament, 10 before the Single European Act and more than 20 before the advent of the euro.
Over those years – as the single market and the new currency shifted powers from the nation to the union – the conviction that the EU suffers such a deficit has taken root among europhiles and eurosceptics alike. While national powers have been ceded to the EU, they say, democratic accountability has not.
But is this entirely true and, if it is, should this deficit be filled by the European Parliament?
In European Representation in EU National Parliaments (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), Lucy Kinski concludes that not only do national parliaments have “a stronger claim to democratic legitimacy than the overarching supranational tier” but that many national MPs are already acting as representatives for non-nationals and the wider union.
Lucy Kinski is a researcher and lecturer at the Salzburg Centre for European Union Studies. She studied at the Hertie School in Berlin, the Utrecht School of Economics, the Graduate Institute in Geneva and obtained her doctorate at the University of Vienna. Before going to Salzburg, she was a senior researcher at the University of Düsseldorf.
*The author's own book recommendations are Framing TTIP in the European Public Spheres: Towards an Empowering Dissensus for EU Integration by Alvaro Oleart (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) and How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell (Melville House Publishing, 2019).
Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Global (Energy Aspects).
Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley advisors (a division of Energy Aspects).