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By Christopher Lord (auth.)

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Extra resources for A Democratic Audit of the European Union

Sample text

Question 9 then confirms an overwhelming public view that the Commission should have to retain the confidence of the European Parliament (EP). It may just be that respondents were not fully aware of the implication of their answers to these questions. However, an alternative possibility is that elements of majoritarianism at selected points in the EU’s political system – such as appointment of a Commission President – would be acceptable precisely if accompanied by safeguards for representatives of Member States at others.

This has a number of consequences. First the EU is never likely to be a system in which the public has a single clear opportunity to enforce responsibility by, for example, removing a ‘government’ (Weiler, 1997b, p. 225). Second, there may be too little at stake in any one election or procedure to mobilise high and sustained levels of public participation or even attention to Union matters. Third, it may be difficult to institutionalise political equality as long as the rights of ordinary citizens and their representatives to exercise public control of Union processes are significantly affected by variations in the sub-arenas that give them access to the Union, both variation in the Auditing Democracy in the European Union 21 bargaining power of each Member State in Union decision-making and in the internal representative politics of each Member State (see Chapter 7).

274). This may, in turn, tempt national executives to move decisions to the European arena, not because they are more likely to achieve the public welfare functions of government there, but for no better reason than that they are more likely to get their way with greater freedom from domestic constraints. Much of this can, of course, be countered by the development of legislative and judicial checks and balances at Union level. But apart from these presupposing a concurrent consent model rather than a consociational one, it begs the question from which we started out, namely of how far legislative and judicial constraints at Union level can be both uniform in their application and cognisant that autonomy in national citizenship practices may require forms of diversity that are challenged by the exposure of the domestic polity to the European.

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