Towards a more democratic European Union : mini-publics as a remedy for the democratic deficit in the European Union

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Vertommen, Marie Caroline
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Over the years, the European Union has developed from an institution focussed on economy and peace, to the autonomous legal order as we know it today. The European Union is no longer a mere international organisation but has transformed into a supranational institution that influence every aspect of the day-to-day life of its citizens. Democracy is considered as one of the foundations of this European legal and political order. However, the democratic value of the European decision process is heavily debated. For many years, the European Union has been coping with a so called democratic deficit. After analysing the European decision process, I reach the conclusion that the European Union lacks a political public sphere. Citizens perceive the Union as a faraway, unreachable and bureaucratic institution. If the Union wants to regain the trust of its citizens and find an efficient and long-term solution for its lack of democracy, it will have to find a way to include the European decision process in a structural manner. I argue that mini-publics are well fitted to institutionalise the participation and representation of citizens into the European Union. Mini-publics are forums constituted by randomly selected citizens who are invited to deliberate on topics of public concern. Through mini-publics, European citizens will be given the opportunity to educate themselves and to be part of the formation of European policies.
Second semester University: University of Zagreb
European Union, democracy, political participation