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considered complementary and mutually reinforcing. However, the

democratic control functions of the EP are quite limited. This lack

of control stems from the flimsy connection between MEPs and

their electorates.

European elections are seldom about the personalities and

parties at the European level, or EU policy agendas. This was

confirmed yet again in the latest European elections, which will be

discussed later in the article. European elections are, by and large,

fought by domestic parties on national rather than European

manifestoes, with candidates selected by domestic party executives.



elections (Marsh 1998; Reif & Schmitt, 1980),

European elections often function as votes of confidence on the

ruling parties of individual Member States. Consistent with the

mid-term election phenomenon, domestic ruling parties often fare

worse than oppositional and smaller parties in EP elections

(Kritzinger, 2003: 225-226; Thorlakson, 2005: 469). As

candidates do not compete on European issues, voters are deprived

of the opportunity to learn and be informed about European affairs

through elections and election campaigns.

Without addressing this problem, decades of treaty reforms

have continued to increase the legislative power of the EP in

response to criticisms of the democratic deficit. As will be

explained later, such reforms have hardly improved the EU’s

credentials on this front. As a result, the Council, which is part

legislature, part executive, continues to make decisions without

proper scrutiny. Although recent treaty reforms have enhanced

transparency requirements with respect to Council decision-

making, “one often needs the mindset of a focused private

investigator to unearth relevant information both about processes

and about its various (sub-) actors. . . . Moreover that secrecy has

permeated the manner in which legislation is adopted at the EU

level more generally especially as the European Parliament has

acquired incrementally a more central role in co-decision” (Curtin,

2009: 129-130). As will be discussed later in the article, nominal