December 19, 2004

EU Democracy

The most important legislator in the EU is the Council. Parliament has some rights, but much less than in any Member State. The legislative center of power is in the Council.

That is somewhat problematic. Where is the democratic legitimacy of Council decisions?

The only answer possible is that the representatives of the Member States in the Council are elected in their respective national Parliaments.

That means there is zero democratic legitimacy for any Council decision that is taken against the expressly stated will of Member States' Parliaments.

This should really be only a theoretical consideration. Surely, one should assume, Member States delegates at the Council will respect their respective Parliament's decisions.

However, in the case of the harmful and obnoxious proposal for a software patent Directive there is a real chance that next Tuesday the Council will take a decision that is clearly contradicting Member States' Parliaments positions.

This is an outrage. The democratic legitimacy of legislation by Council beuraucrats is shaky to begin with. But adopting positions in clear opposition to the declared will of the democratic representatives of the Member States' people would be a new low point.

This kind of scandal is the last thing the EU needs in this critical time frame where referendums on the EU Constitution are scheduled in multiple Member States.

So what excuse have the enemies of democracy for this kind of behaviour?

It seems they are hiding behind a rule that does not exist and that would make the whole Rules of Procedure of the Council meaningless if it did.

Addressing this requires a seperate post.

Posted by Karl-Friedrich Lenz at December 19, 2004 09:46 AM | TrackBack