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Free «Is the European Union democratic?» Essay Sample

Democracy is considered as a system of government, where the citizens have equal say while making decisions that affect their daily routine. This is carried out either directly or through certain representatives in the government[1]. Democracy revolves around cultural, social and economic conditions, which enable equal and free practice of self-determination in politics.

Over time, there has been a necessary increase in efforts, aimed at peace building and peacekeeping in the world after the Cold War. This purposed for the development of a democratic association among the countries in the European Union. It was a significant effort that formed the contingency plan that would avoid any future wrangles. The European Union has been accused of being democratic deficient, despite its efforts in ensuring a peaceful and conducive environment for its members. The organization has got twenty seven members.

Democratic deficit is the concept, put forward fundamentally in arguing about the presence of democracy in the European Union. It is the state, in which the union and its bodies lack democracy and posses a complex system that is inaccessible by ordinary citizens. The subject of democratic legitimacy has been very sensitive in every stage of the process of integration[2].

The European Union is one of the trade blocks or unions that many nations can recon with. The union has been in existence for a long period and has managed to increase its membership over the time. From its inception, the union was made up of six nations but at the moment, it is boasting of a membership of twenty seven countries with Croatia on the verge of becoming a member[3]. In the near future, the European Union is expected to expand, and at the moment there are countries, standing in queue and waiting to be vetted to determine their conformance with the requirement for being accepted into the union.

This paper studies the European Union in the light of democracy, and the ongoing, and future plans for the organization. The paper studies both arguments on democracy in the organization and the facts that tend to bring about these arguments. The paper uses secondary data sources in finding the relevant information on the subject matter. Sources of this data were read from books, articles and journals. It is vital that all the information brought forward is reliable and factual, thus a stringent assessment was taken up in the case study.

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For far too long, there has been an assumption that the EU is a democratic union, due to the fact that no member country has ever left the union since its inception, apart from Greenland, which withdrew its membership. In every union, discomforts are expected to arise, especially when some of the members get the opinion that they are being looked down upon. As much as the European Union is working very hard to maintain high degree of democracy, cases of lack of democracy has cropped up more eminently in the recent past, more so in regard to the way the union is governed[4].

Every member of the European Union has its own government, but on joining the union, the individual countries lose their ability to make decision toward the running of the union. The power to have a say in the Union policy making process was lost, when the council decided to form the European Union Parliament, which is mandated to make policies, regarding the union. This is a show of lack of democracy because the member countries are made to abide by rules, which have been made by the union parliament over their own rules.

The European Union is meant to unify the member states, nonetheless, the member states have different governance; hence, in creation, the union parliament, in one way, serves to make the union more cohesive, but, on the flipside, it reduces the power each member state has, thus, making the union to behave as a single country, while, on the other hand, it still endorses the presence of individual governance[5].

Equality in the European Union is a thing that the union governance has struggled with for a long time. The union has a challenge in bringing equality among the member states, when the members are not appreciated equally, the issues of democracy deficit usually comes up. To be realistic, democracy has to do with giving equal opportunities to the member of any group, notwithstanding, it should be understood that the members of the European Union has different governance and sometimes, in this connection, the development rates in the countries differ greatly. For example, the founding nations of the European Union, such as the United Kingdom, Germany and France can be said to have much development, as compared with the recent entrants, such as Lithuania and Bulgaria, just to mention a few[6]. In the process of decision making at the European Parliament, it has been said more than once that the amendments that have been brought forth by the so- called superior members have been passed without much struggle, while bills from the underdogs have been delayed and, eventually, swept under the carpet. Failure to recognize all the members of the union as equal partners is a show of lack of democracy in the union, which in one way or the other oppresses the overlooked member states.

The European Parliament was formed to debate on the policies that can best suit all the European Union members. The parliament has a representation from each member state; hence, with these members of the European Parliament fairness is expected. On the contrary, the European Parliament has done very little towards ensuring democracy in the union. In this connection, it is on record that any proposals from the members of the European Parliament are barely debated let alone be ascended to laws. The European executive has held a dictatorial position, where almost always its entire proposals go through, unlike those of the European Parliament. In other words, the European Parliament can be regarded as having no power over the running of the European Union, since their opinions are more or less not considered seriously.

In voting for debates, there one needs a majority to make any ruling, thus the majority always wins. In the European Parliaments many parties are present, thus, consolidating a majority, to pass a debate has always been a challenge; hence; the European Executive usually is able to pass a motions since they enjoy a majority[7]. As opposed to the European Parliament, the European Executive is made up of leaders or of the member countries; thus, in total they are twenty seven, whereas the parliament has a number, totaling up to seven hundred and thirty six. A simple observation of this numbers shows that, despite the executive being answerable to the parliament, they are able to make conclusions much easily than the European parliament does that is highly fragmented on ground of parties.

The parliament being impartial, there should be the body to ensure democracy by making policies that are agreeable among the member states; thus, ensuring fairness and equality, on the contrary, their hands are tied by the fact that in most cases they are not able to reason together and come up with unification amongst themselves and, hence, a majority, which is essential in passing of the bills in the parliaments.

In some member countries, the European Union has played a major role in ensuring economic development by a greater percentage, while in the others; it has caused a great economic meltdown. The more development diversity different countries have, the more developed  the feeling is that they are being drugged behind, and are of the opinion that if they pulled out of the union, they would perform better; a good example is the United Kingdom[8]. The most recent research revealed that a majority of the people are of the idea that the United Kingdom has lost its development growth as a result of the regulations, imposed on them by the European Union. The people, who participated in the survey, said that the regulations of the EU are not in good spirit of supporting development and, hence, they think their being in the union oppresses their countries policies towards development.

In its formation, the European Union was meant to bring democracy to its member’s states. In the earlier days the European Union managed to fulfill the dream of democracy in the member nations, such as Portugal, Spain and Greece. The countries were helped greatly in stabilizing their governments, but at the moment, the three mentioned countries have faced a major economic recession, which its citizens attributed to the policies, set up by the European Union upon their countries[9]. The citizens of these countries have encountered great problems, such as poor infrastructure, high inflation, and, at worst, lack of employment under the stewardship of the European Union.

The European Union is directed to ensuring that its member states enjoy freedom of movement and, hence, growth in the Euro zone. The unification of the countries has come up with centralization that has, in a way, caused individual countries’ sovereignty being overruled; this has made some citizen fill that their democracy has been interfered with and, hence, have resorted to taking to the streets in order to fight and get democracy back to their government. In some of the countries, where economic difficulties have been on the rises, many people have attributed it to the European Union policies[10]. In Greece inflation has reached a high, and majority of the people are unemployed, which has caused the citizen going as far as chasing foreigners away, saying that they are responsible for the unavailability of employment.

The election of the president of the European Union is not done by the citizens of member states[11]. This is regarded as not being democratic for the citizens of the member states, as they cannot decide who should lead their organization. This is widely controversial in many states, as it is considered as a limitation of the organization. Citizens are not pleased with the fact that the union elects their own president.

The introduction of common currency in the Euro zone was done without clear consultation within the members. In this connection, the member states have suffered losses in different ways, since different countries of the union had previously used their currencies. The currency issue at the beginning evoked a problem, since a lot of the traders took the advantage of the change and increased the price of many consumer products, which, in combination with other factors, brought about inflation. Having the lack of proper understanding among the members of the European Union, ten of the twenty seven members are yet to adopt the use of Euros in its transaction and, hence, has maintained their currencies.

The disparities among the member of the European Union that has denied members democracy are being sorted in the due cause, and various treaties have been signed in the same spirit of solving the problem of eluding democracy. Some of these treaties that are geared towards upholding democracy include the Maastricht treaty and the treaty of Lisbon. In the treaties, democracy and fair representation have been on the centre stage to ensure that people of the member states have adequate and legitimate presentation to avoid their issues not being heard by the leaders. The equitable presentation has been made possible by the presence of the European parliament, which has a member, elected from all the member states.

Political rights and values are significant in the democratic strength of an organization. The European Union is highly equipped with the necessary values and rights that direct the operations of the union[12]. These political values are similar for the members of the organization and, thus, they show equal membership. Democracy has to do with the system being free from bias. These rights are available for all the member states of the organization. For instance, France has got the similar privileges and rights as its (Germany) counterpart. It is, hence, important that the countries have clear picture of the organizational prospects in order to enhance peaceful relations.

Constitution is the most important tool in ensuring that democracy is present. The European Union does not have a constitution but instead it has treaties. After the European citizens complained and began to lose faith in the organization, there was an establishment of a constitution initiated by the Laeken Declaration. Constitution is important as it stipulates for the relevant approaches in handling both political and organizational issues. In the same way, the treaties, held by the European Union, function to serve these areas. Aiming at improving the democratic strength of the union, a draft constitution has been proposed. The constitution focused on issues on common citizenship, a common form of representation in other states and a system of defense that is common. In spite of the criticism on the absence of a constitution, the organization is democratic in its running. The principal agenda of championing for a constitution by the European citizens is lack of contribution to electing the president of the organization. This has been a very controversial area, as many citizens wish to have an influence on determining the president. Even with the drafting of a constitution for the European Union, it is not a guarantee that the final draft will hand them this power.

While looking at democracy in the European Union, it is vital to consider the Rule of Law. This is the platform for equal response towards the law; it is that the politicians, police and the citizens have to obey the law. It tends to create an environment that fosters similar responsibilities towards the law. A politician is a government representative but he has to abide by all the relevant laws that a common citizen obeys, otherwise he is subjected to punishment by law.  Complaints about police and politician’s laxity in abiding by the law are common ill in society but the organization has set its own violation punishments that apply to all. Democracy is enhanced, when all individuals are considered to be similar to the law, whatever their position is. This is a practical approach towards controlling conflicts between the citizens and their authorities. Considering a situation, where politicians are said to be above the law, thus, evading the law; the citizens become hopeless and disappointed in the system. 

It is crucial that comments and suggestions are made, regarding various areas of the organization. Critics form a critical part of the European Union’s progress, as the failures and success are assessed. The European Union Charter on Human Rights allows for freedom in speech. The European Union allows free speech, concerning their officials and agencies. This freedom does not entail the power to incite against the general code of association. In criticizing, the comments and sentiments should not be in violation of the civil law or criminal law[13]. For instance, the famous criticisms on democracy in the European Union were allowed, despite their effect on reputation. It would be unethical for this organization to deny sanctions in such matters.

The European Union is separated into various bodies that help in executing power. The organization has been split into the military, police, government, judiciary, and the second and first parliament chambers. This is according to the Machiavellian recommendation that requires balances and checks in executing power[14].

 
 
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The organization champions for the conservation and preservation of the minority. The minority in Europe is protected by the treaties possessed by the organization. Article six of their treaty is responsible for this action. The minority groups are important in sustaining the cultural value of a nation, so the organization preserves this resource for its members. For instance, the cultures that are slowly fading are protected within their nations by the European Union.

In the European Union, member states benefit from the freedom of trading. This is called the freedom of four. The organization allows its member to indulge in other external activities with their goods without restriction. This privilege is a show of democracy as they are not tied to the union only. It creates a friendly relationship with other trading organizations through the encouragement of external trading activities. Interacting with other organizations is applicable for long time members; new members do not benefit from this freedom. Most of the member states that joined the organization earlier are members of other organizations like NATO. This freedom of movement of goods, labour, services, and capital form a system of organization that is democratic for its members. The new member states get long periods of transition before enjoying the four freedoms[15]. Considering an organization that denies its members’ other international interactions in trading, the situation would be highly dictatorial and little benefits would be enjoyed by the members. The European Union acknowledges the significance of the diversity in international relations with other bodies. The member states and the organization gain new and useful ideas through external interaction.

The issue of religion is highly sensitive in terms of democracy. This is because the member states do not have to be uniform or share the same religious beliefs. Religion affects many aspects of the daily routine of man, so, it is vital that the union does not compel having a state religion from its member. Keenly looking at the current religious diversity in Europe, it is non-debatable that there is a wide and accepted religious diversity. Considering a situation, whereby the European Union could allow only one particular religion for its membership, it is important that the organization, in its objective of sustaining peace in the region, accommodates all the religious identifications of its citizens. This is because the same citizens form their interactions and activities. This would be discriminative and undemocratic.

The European Union advocates for a liberalized work force. This is the system, where the member states open their borders for the coming of external workers from other states. For example, countries like Sweden, Erie and Britain have accepted the new regulations on borders from the European Union. Romania, Poland and Bulgaria have benefited from this interaction of a liberalized work force. When the barriers on employment are reduced, the stability and economy is boosted. Acquiring labour from other nations enriches the country’s performance through the presence external aid[16]. Economic analysts insist that for Europe to sustain its industrial and social advancements there has to be a net immigration. This is due to the slow population growth that would eventually reduce their population. Statistical analysis suggests that for there to be sustained operational system in Europe, there has to be a fertility rate of approximately two and a half for the children. The slow growth I population is due to other factors like professions, which leave liberalization of work as the only hope.

Conclusion

The European Union is one of the trade block or union that many nations can recon with. The union has been in existence for a long period and has managed to increase its membership over the time. Democracy is considered as a system of government, where the citizens have equal say, while making decisions that affect their daily routine. Over time, there has been a necessary increase in efforts, aimed at peace building and peacekeeping in the world after the Cold War. This purposed for the development of a democratic association among the countries in the European Union. Democratic deficit is the concept, put forward fundamentally in arguing about the presence of democracy in the European Union. It is the state, in which the union and its bodies lack democracy and posses a complex system that is inaccessible by ordinary citizens. For a long period, there has been an assumption that the EU is a democratic union, due to the fact that no member country has ever left the union since its inception, apart from Greenland, which withdrew its membership. In every union, discomforts are expected to arise, especially when some of the members get the opinion that they are being looked down upon. As much as the European Union is working very hard to maintain high degree of democracy, cases of lack of democracy have been suggested more eminently in the recent past, more so in regard to the way the union is governed. Every member of the European Union has their own government, but on joining the union, the individual countries lose their ability to make decision toward the running of the union. The power to have a say in the Union policy making process was lost, when the council decided to form the European Union Parliament, which is mandated to make policies, regarding the union.

Some of the complaints, launched by the citizens on the European Union, are seen to be subjective. The introduction of common currency in the Euro zone was done without clear consultation within the members. Lack of democracy has caused a great economic meltdown. The more development diversity different countries have, the more developed  the feeling is that they are being drugged behind, and are of the opinion that they should pull out of the union. The election of the president of the European Union is not done by the citizens of the member states. This is regarded as not being democratic for the citizens of the member states, as they cannot decide, who should lead their organization[17].For the parliament being impartial, there should be the body to ensure democracy by making policies that are agreeable among the member states, thus, ensuring fairness and equality, but everything is on the contrary, and their hands are tied. Equality in the European Union is a thing that the union governance has struggled with for a long time. The union has a challenge in bringing equality among the member states, when the members are not appreciated equally the issues of democracy deficit usually come up. The European Union is meant to unify the member states; nonetheless, the member states have different governance

The European Union is highly equipped with the necessary values and rights that direct the operations of the union. Political rights and values are significant in the democratic strength of an organization. These political values are similar for the members of the organization and, thus, they show equal membership. Constitution is the most important tool in ensuring that democracy is present. The European Union does not have a constitution but, instead, it has treaties. After the European citizens complained and began to lose faith in the organization, there was an establishment of a constitution, initiated by the Laeken Declaration. In spite of the criticism on the absence of a constitution, the organization is democratic in its running.

While looking at democracy in the European Union, it is vital to consider the Rule of Law. This is the platform for equal response towards the law; it is that the politicians, police and the citizens have to obey the law. The European Union Charter on Human Rights allows for freedom in speech. The European Union allows free speech, concerning their officials and agencies. This freedom does not entail the power to incite against the general code of association. In criticizing, the comments and sentiments should not be in violation of the civil law or criminal law. The issue of religion is highly sensitive in terms of democracy. This is because the member states do not have to be uniform or share the same religious beliefs. Religion affects many aspects of the daily routine of man, so, it is vital that the union does not compel having a state religion from its member. The organization champions for the conservation and preservation of the minority. The minority in Europe is protected by the treaties, possessed by the organization. Article six of their treaty is responsible for this action. In the European Union, member states benefit from the freedom of trading. This is called the freedom of four. The organization allows its member to indulge in other external activities with their goods without restriction. This privilege is a show of democracy, as they are not tied to the union only.

This is the system, where the member states open their borders for the coming of external workers from other states. The European Union advocates for a liberalized work force. For example, countries have accepted the new regulations on borders from the European Union. Romania, Poland and Bulgaria have benefited from this interaction of a liberalized work force.

The presence of democracy in the European Union is evident from the running of the organization. The organization is interested in peaceful relations within the member states. For instance, in electing the president of the union (who is the most powerful individual in Europe); the different opinions from the member states might have caused disagreements among them.

   

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