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Democratic Implications of the Treaty of Lisbon


the co-decision procedure, and renaming it the ordinary legislative

procedure (Art. 289 & Art. 294, TFEU). The Treaty of Lisbon

brought over 40 new areas under this procedure, including

agriculture, services, energy policy, asylum and immigration, and

the structural and cohesion funds (Art. 43.22, TFEU; Art. 56,

TFEU; Art. 77-80, TFEU; Art. 177, TFEU).

The multi-faceted role of the European Parliament in the

debate over the democratic deficit can sometimes be self-

contradictory. On the one hand, the deficit is considered

attributable to the weakness of the European Parliament

had the

European Parliament enjoyed more substantial legislative power

and democratic control over the Commission and the Council,

concerns raised over the growth in executive power at the expense

of national parliamentary control would have been eased. On the

other hand, the legitimacy of the European Parliament is

problematic mainly due to its remoteness and the disconnectedness

of MEPs from their electorates. To the extent that this concern is

valid, the empowerment of the EP risks aggravating rather than

alleviating the democratic deficit.

Hence, for those who are uneasy with the legislative power of

the EP, parliamentary democracy has proven a flawed mechanism

for tackling the EU’s democratic deficit. By failing to address the

European Parliament’s legitimacy problem while firmly embedding

the power of the EP in the ordinary legislative procedures of EU

political system, the Treaty of Lisbon is likely to have negative

effects on European democracy. The ruling of the Federal

Constitutional Court of Germany, for instance, stresses that the

Treaty of Lisbon does not change the fact that the EU lacks “a

political decision-making body which has come into being by equal

election of all citizens of the Union and which is able to uniformly

represent the will of the people.” The Treaty leaves the Union in

need of “a system of organization of political rule in which a will

of the European majority carries the formation of the government

in such a way that the will goes back to free and equal electoral