As the May European elections are approaching for the 28 member countries, it is time to revisit the famous or rather infamous “democratic deficit” in European Union decision-making.
How democracy works in the European Union has shifted considerably over the last four years, when the Greek crisis erupted at the same as the new Lisbon Treaty entered into force. The Treaty changed the governance of the EU and was hailed as progress for democracy. Rightly so: it gave the European Parliament major new powers as a legislator. And it reinforced the Parliament’s capacity to overlook policy implementation by the Commission.
But the 2010 crisis made sure that the political action went elsewhere. The countries of the Euro Area came together to create new finance mechanisms under the firm and joint control of their Treasurers. This replaced their initial response of giving bilateral support to Greece. The European Central Bank pumped money in the banks and filled its balance sheet with state debt. Continue reading