6.2 Can we still speak of democracy?

6.2 Can we still speak of democracy?

Below you will find a rough diagram of the current EU. There is much talk of democracy in the European Union. Unfortunately, most citizens find it difficult to understand how their "res publica" works. Is there anyone left in Europe who understand this EU and its mechanisms? EU Centrists are always demanding new, effective, i.e. financially strong, European instruments and capacities. With every new instrument, however, the EU becomes even more complex and inscrutable, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Transparency for citizens falls by the wayside, transparent democracy is gradually being lost.

Photo: Internal working paper of the budget secretariat of the European Parliament.

Are the EU's plans democratic? You may be familiar with the phrase "no taxation without representation". A popular slogan. And grievance. It was an important guiding principle of the revolutionaries in the uprising against the British and in the subsequent American War of Independence. So far, the EU has had no tax resources of its own. It receives national contributions in the amount of around 1% of GDP.

If the EU now receives the right to levy taxes and redistribute these funds within the EU, is the principle of "degressive proportionality", according to which the European Parliament is elected, still acceptable?

Currently, the large countries are being  disadvantaged by this principle. The smaller a country is, the more seats it receives in proportion to its population. Malta, for example, has one MEP for every 69,000 inhabitants. Germany has one MEP per 852,000 inhabitants. Germany has a total of 96 MEPs for 83 million inhabitants. Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Italy and Portugal together have 82.86 million inhabitants, a comparable size. Together they have 130 seats in the next European Parliament. This means that a coalition of countries with fewer inhabitants than Germany has 34 more seats in parliament. According to the EU's plan therefore minorities could soon decide on the taxation of majorities and the use of money. The self-proclaimed pro-Europeans also want to bring most of the previously jointly regulated policy areas to the European level. The approval of the nation States would then only be possible in exceptional cases. The decision-making powers of the European Court of Justice are to be extended. The European Court of Justice has proven in many rulings that it promotes European integration in accordance with its task and gives it a greater weighting than the exact wording of the legal texts.

List of references for the used photos:

  • Cover photo: checubus @ Fotolia.com
  • Photo: European Union (BUDG Secretariat, 2016)
    Current numbers on the EU budget can be found here.