Is the EU Democratic - Does Your Vote Matter?

As a European citizen, many aspects of our lives are governed by a strange entity. We feel that a huge bureaucracy makes all the decisions for us. Many believe their vote in the European elections does not count, and that the EU is undemocratic.

 What is it really? And is your vote really useful? 

In democratic states, public policy flows from the will of the people. However, the people do not always agree. Countless groups compete for influence and power to establish laws and rules who are in their favor. In a functional democracy, regulatory mechanisms are in charge create an environment conducive to debate. Limitations of the mandate warn of the dominance of certain parties. But across borders, this is no longer valid. International politics is not democratic, but rather anarchic. Since no central authority is able to ensure fairness or respect for the law, the tyranny of the fittest and anarchy prevail. Powerful states therefore have always had what they wanted whether by extortion, or by violence.

Photo by Augustin de Montesquiou on Unsplash

After the Second World War, the United Nations was founded to counter anarchy by regulating the behavior of the Member States. But the UN has virtually no power and its members often have competing interests. His recommendations are therefore generally politely ignored. Since the European Court of Justice can make binding decisions, It is important for the EU to have its rules and laws applicable for its member states. Originally, the EU was founded to ensure peace and prosperity on the continent. But it's also an attempt to acquire power, for its members, internationally. It is comparable to a superstate and aspires to democracy as well as the legitimacy supported by its citizens. To achieve this, she must remedy to the problem of the diverging interests of its members, except that these have very different priorities.

How does it work?

 Because the EU is ridiculously complex and that the politicians are even worse that researchers to name things, we will simplify as much as possible and omit a lot of details. You can find more information and explanations in our sources left in description. Ok if you want to create a democratic Union of independent nations. You have two options. The first one : let everyone vote for national representatives, who will then decide for the Union together. Or, the second: let each citizen vote directly for an independent institution capable of making binding decisions. Both approaches have their advantages and their disadvantages, and the EU is a combination of the two. In addition to the European Court of Justice, we are going to address the four main institutions today. The European Council, composed of heads of government or from the member states. The Council of the EU, composed of ministers from member countries.

 The third is the European Commission, de facto government of the EU, composed of one Commissioner for each Member State. And finally, the European Parliament. Parliament is the only part of the EU who is directly elected by you, dear citizen, in the European elections. In principle, all of these EU institutions arise from your direct or indirect vote, whether at national or European level. But some more than others. For example, by voting for your national representative you are helping to form a national government whose head of state has a seat on the European Council. These chiefs choose the president of the European Commission and its commissioners which are finally confirmed by the European Parliament.

So there is a kind of indirect democracy there. You didn't vote for the Commission, but you voted for those who appointed them, confirmed them and for those who oversee them. In fact, two and 2.5 of the four main institutions of the European Union depend on the governments of the Member States. But as a citizen, you cannot vote directly than for the European Parliament.

What is the weight of your vote? What influence does it have? 

The European Parliament started with very little influence but it only gained power over the past two decades. Today, he must approve the new laws which may be binding on Member States. It also votes on how the EU budget is spent and international treaties. All of this makes Parliament very powerful and, therefore, your very influential vote, even internationally. In relation to national parliaments, however, it still lacks major power.

Officially, the European Parliament cannot propose new laws itself. Therefore, this is a major argument to say that the EU is not democratic enough and that the European Parliament should have more influence. Currently, EU control is almost in the hands of the governments of the member states. Giving more power to Parliament would make the EU as a whole more democratic but would also reduce the power of member states. Difficult to say which approach is better. Ultimately, it is up to the Member States and us citizens to guide the development of the Union. Good then.

Can we already draw a conclusion from this? 

As a whole, the EU is not as democratic than most of its member states. But it is very democratic. If, for example, decisions made in terms copyright does not suit you, you can check the voices of your representatives and vote against them. The struggle to make it more democratic is intimately linked to who has power over what. The EU keeps changing. You, dear citizen, don't just vote on current politics, but you also vote for the future functioning of the system. Many parties and politicians are committed to making the European Parliament, and by the same token your vote, stronger. Many others want to keep it as it is or even weaken it.

It's up to you to decide what you think to be the best for the future of the Union. Currently, your vote at the national level just as important for the EU because it defines people most influential in the EU right now. Opinion We governments often use the EU as a scapegoat. Politicians, especially just before national elections, claim the EU is all-powerful and adopt rules and laws without consulting governments and citizens. Yet these same politicians are often directly responsible for what the EU has done. Democracy is annoying, complicated and often very soporific. This is all the more the case in the European Union, than within member states.

But vote and be interested in how our political institutions are changing and developing are some of the most powerful things we can do as citizens. The past few years have shown us that elections can lead to extreme situations. We have to decide if we want to have an important role in this process If we don't participate in this fight for the power that is politics, others will do it for us. And it doesn't mean that we will like the decisions they make for us. As Europe is a very important subject for us, we have translated this video into as many European languages ​​as possible. Some European YouTubers have re-recorded and downloaded this content on their own channels. Many thanks to Funk and to all the YouTubers who helped us. You can find the playlist with all the different versions in the description.

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