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Democratic Implications of the Treaty of Lisbon


the Council by their governments, themselves democratically

accountable either to their national Parliaments, or to their

citizens” (Art. 10.1 & 2, TEU). This form of double representation

is seen by many as the main source of democratic legitimacy of the

Union. As the German Federal Constitutional Court has

highlighted, in democratic terms, the EU is derivative of the

Member States (Eriksen & Fossum, 2011: 154). This

double-representation design has citizens represented



the European Parliament and


by national governments

through the Council. The Treaty of Lisbon, however, fails to

address the persisting concern that dispersing democratic

accountability among the European Parliament (theme of section

III), national executives (theme of section IV), national parliaments

(theme of section V), and EU executives alters

often negatively

how representative democracy works. At first sight, the direct

(through the EP) and indirect (through the Council and national

parliaments) modes of representation may appear complementary

and mutually reinforcing, reflecting a balance between the

supranational and intergovernmental elements of the EU. The

arrangement leaves the impression that citizens are doubly served

in terms of democratic representation. That impression is

problematic. The question is “whether this complexity is not as

much a source of incoherence as of mutual reinforcement”

(Beetham & Lord, 1998: 127).

To the extent that policy-making at the European level is

dominated by executive actors, European integration has increased

executive power and decreased national parliamentary control.

Unlike typical policy-making at home, national executives enjoy

greater liberty to ignore their parliaments when decisions are made

in Brussels as domestic-executives-turned lawmakers in the Council

are not accountable to the parliament (Follesdal & Hix, 2006:

534). If poorly crafted legislation that slips through the nets of

national democratic scrutiny is corrected by the European

Parliament, then the system of double representation system can be