maandag 28 november 2011

BOLTON: EU’s democratic deficit

Euro crisis widens gap between EU institutions and member states

The crisis of the euro, the common currency of 17 European Union members, continues unabated. Because of massive, sustained budget deficits by several eurozone countries, some could default on their sovereign debt obligations, or the euro itself might disintegrate, profoundly affecting the EU’s political and economic future.

Very little media attention, however, is focused on a very different, but even more important, EU problem, namely its “democratic deficit.” This large, growing gap between remote EU institutions in Brussels and citizens of its member states dramatically highlights the rising frustration and impotence felt by individual voters. To combat the euro crisis, EU elites are ignoring or overriding popular opposition to harsh austerity measures and imposing on fellow democracies the policies demanded by leaders of other, more powerful EU countries.

Even if the EU-wide remedies and the requirements imposed on countries such as Greece and Italy ultimately prove to be correct financially, they come with an enormous, corrosive cost to basic concepts of representative government throughout the EU. Whether this widening of the democratic deficit ultimately will weaken the EU itself remains uncertain, but there is no doubt populist resentment is smoldering in many EU countries.

Read more at: The Washington Times