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Democratic Implications of the Treaty of Lisbon


Johnson has characterized European elections as “a complete

sham,” and the EP as “a gigantic waste of money

and yet the real

tragedy is that with every year the parliament loses public support

and public interest, it gains in practical power” (Johnson, 2014).

His characterization appears to be supported by polling results. As

Figures 3 and 4 show, the decline in public trust of the European

Parliament, and of the European Union as a whole, has been

remarkably steady. Figure 5 provides a comparison of voter apathy

and disillusion with the European elections. Clearly, among

abstainers there is a significant drop in belief that the EP takes into

consideration the concerns of European citizens, and few now care

which candidates are elected to the EP. In spite of the efforts and

resources dedicated to informing citizens, and the EP’s slogan,

This time, it’s different,

” fewer respondents remember having

been reached by the campaign.


In short, power is being transferred from representatives

voters are relatively familiar with and connected to

that is,

national representatives

to distant representatives from whom

they feel disconnected. In the afore-mentioned British polls, only

27% could name José Manuel Barroso as president of the

Commission, while 19% believed Angela Markel was the

Commission president.

worsen the democratic deficit becomes a logical rather than empirical



While the euro crisis makes it more difficult to interpret survey data, the

long-term trend has been clear and steady. Now that the euro crisis



place, unless we simply discard all evidence available to us, it is almost

impossible to differentiate public opinions that reflect the impact of the crisis

from those that do not. In addition, the euro crisis is not necessarily

exogenous to the democratic deficit. If the lack of transparency and scrutiny

are integral to what has led to the crisis, then utilizing the survey data here is