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Democratic Implications of the Treaty of Lisbon


transparency does not seem to have led to

de facto

transparency on

the Council. Moreover, the legislative pattern of the European

Parliament has gravitated toward the Council, making informal

decision-making in seclusion increasingly the norm in the

European Parliament as well.

Democratic representation, thus, has functioned as intended

neither at the European level nor at the national level. That said,

the EU can at least draw output-oriented legitimacy from the

realization of policies not achievable by Member States individually.

In other words, “so long as the common project produced evident

benefits in the form of prosperity, economic opportunities and job

creation, voters would accept it, and even come round to

welcoming it” (

An ever


deeper,” 2012). According to this view,

the EU is a regulatory regime with power delegated by Member

State governments to solve problems associated with globalization

and interdependence. This regulatory regime is tasked with finding

solutions for trans-border problems of a technical-economic nature

that do not invoke moral claims or affect identities. Its legitimacy is

consequentialist, based on its ability to produce substantive

Pareto-optimal outcomes for technical problems (Eriksen &

Fossum, 2011: 157-158; Scharpf, 1999).


Contrary to the view that as long as the EU delivers, citizens

will consider the EU democratically legitimate, studies have shown

that satisfaction with EU democracy is an important predictor of

public support for EU governance. In other words, when citizens

believe that they are poorly represented, their support for the EU

decreases regardless of perceptions of economic performance

(Rohrschneider, 2002: 463). Public opinion, therefore, appears to

be something policy-performance-minded bureaucrats can neither


Here, the legitimacy of the Union is thought to be “based on its ability to

produce substantive outcomes in line with the principle of Pareto optimality,

which states that only decisions that no one will find unprofitable and that

will make at least one party better off, will be produced, and hence lend

legitimacy to international negotiations”

(Eriksen & Fossum, 2011: 157).