Democratic Deficit: How Concerned Should the Citizens Be?

Essay by lordlarUniversity, Master'sA-, June 2007

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As the European Union celebrates its landmark 50th birthday throughout 2007, it will undoubtedly look back on the many tribulations, milestones and accomplishments Europe has endured since the signing of its founding treaty in Rome in1957. With the initial seeds of growth primarily concentrated in the area of economic cooperation with only six members, the European project of today has inevitably taken on a multi-faceted, expansionary, politically integrated form much different from that of the European Coal and Steel Community, ranging from the broadest of areas such as foreign policy to the more recent policy developments concerning environmental issues. While such achievements can not be deemed as a simplified explanation relating to a preordained outcome of the globalization phenomena, the EU has not progressed to its current model without its fair share of difficulties and disappointments along the way - the most pressing of which can be traced back to the last decade alone; concerns pertaining to the failed Constitutional Treaty in 2005; incorporation of ten new member states in the 'big bang' enlargement of 2004; slow economic growth; high unemployment; and the current 'enlargement fatigue' have all served to characterize the current malaise plaguing the EU and Europe as a whole.

As Brussels celebrated 50 years of 'Europeanness' in less than ideal fanfare, the burning question of whether the European Union has become mired in a mid-life crises has undoubtedly become quite prominent.

A 1992 pro-European ad campaign reads: "Let us unite. And the world will listen to us" , signifying the breakdown of European "otherness" with the end of the Cold War and ushering in the possibilities for new relations and actors in the European Community. The optimistic attitudes of the early 90s has fizzled to say the least as the 2005 failed Constitutional Treaty demonstrated a change...