In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the causes of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.
However, the existing complaints about the democratic deficit in the EU (Follesdal and Hix 2006) may have got worse since the economic crisis in 2008. Different institutions were at the epicentre of these critiques such as the unelected European Commission and the European Central Bank. Also involved was the informal Eurogroup, which consists of the finance ministers of the Eurozone member states, as they were imposing structural policies with significant economic, social and political consequences on countries such as Greece, Spain or Portugal (Armingeon and Guthmann 2014).
Across Europe, people report a sense of distrust in political institutions — according to Eurobarometer, only 42% of people trust the EU; and only 34% trust their national government (Eurobarometer 2018). In relation to this, Brexit can be understood as one of the biggest consequences of Euroscepticism as well as of economic crisis (Hobolt 2016).
Among the solutions proposed for going forward in the EU process of integration, more transparency and European parliamentary connection with citizens will undoubtedly play an important role (European Union Committee of the Regions 2014).
– Armingeon, Klaus, and Kai Guthmann (2014): “The handling of the Eurozone crisis has undermined confidence in democracy across Europe.” Democratic Audit Blog. The London School of Economics (08 April 2014). Available on (Link)
– Directorate-General for Communication, European Commission. Standard Eurobarometer 89 (2018). “Public opinion in the European Union”.
– EU Committe of the Regions (2014): Challenges at the Horizon 2025. DOI: 10.2863/98258 (Link)
– Follesdal, Andreas, and Simon Hix (2006). “Why there is a democratic deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravsik.” JCMS. Journal of Common Market Studies, vol 44, no 3, pp 533-562.
– Hobolt, S. (2016): “The Brexit Vote: a Divided Nation, a Divided Continent.” Journal of European Public Policy, vol 23, no 9, pp 1259-1277.
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