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Democratic Implications of the Treaty of Lisbon


underlying concern, this article compared the situation before and

after the Treaty of Lisbon and made a critical assessment of the

Treaty. The Treaty, it argues, has failed to address the 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


According to conventional wisdom, the most prominent

legislative reform undertaken in the Treaty of Lisbon, the ordinary

legislative procedure, makes the EP a big winner, and is thus a big

step forward for democratization. This paper expresses

reservations on this view for two reasons. Firstly, the treaty fails to

address the EP’s inherent legitimacy problems, and secondly, the

extension of co-decision has resulted in a change in the EP’s

behavioral and legislative patterns not conducive to legitimating

the only EU institution directly elected by citizens. Changes made

with regards to the Council enhance the autonomous executive

role of national executives, rendering this supposedly purely

intergovernmental institution less intergovernmental and further

complicating the difficulty of holding the Council accountable to

individual member state parliaments or citizens. Similarly, efforts

at better coordinating Member State executives in view of

efficiency in the European Council also ended up eroding the

intergovernmentalist characteristics of the institution, reducing the

gatekeeping function of national executives while undermining the

supervisory capacities of national parliaments. As to national

parliaments, they were “given” the “power” to reclaim their

prerogatives if they could find sufficient support and could make

their claims within a narrow window. As the EPPO proposal has

demonstrated, however, such remarkable collective efforts by

national parliaments remain insufficient to compel a determined

Commission to reconsider a legislative proposal. Taken as a whole,

this article concludes that the Treaty of Lisbon has failed to

improve the Union’s democratic deficit to any significant extent.