Our Mission - For A European Demos

The European Union suffers from a democratic deficit. However, the true cause of this deficit isn’t represented in cliché criticisms argued by populist eurosceptic politicians. Instead, the root cause for the EU’s democratic deficit lies in the lack of a European demos – a European public sphere of deliberation, participation, and interest in EU-level governance.

Indeed, enshrined in the EU’s founding treaties is the principle of democracy. But as for any healthy democracy, democratic legitimacy is at its core. This implies a citizenry which participates in the governance process beyond a simple vote once every few years; it implies deliberation, interest, and bottom-up political scrutiny.

Comparing the outlook EU citizens have towards their own national governance with that of the EU’s, it is clear to see where the gap lies.

Take European Parliament elections, for example. For most Europeans, they are viewed in practice as midterm national elections, contested not on candidates’ EU agendas as much as on national issues, and elected based on their parties’ performance in national, rather than European, governance.

Though lack of interest in EU affairs isn’t the only cause of the democratic deficit, it is the source of all others. Interest breeds scrutiny, which in turn incentivises deliberation and calls for change and reform, which strengthens democratic legitimacy.

Because of this, Euro Prospects’ mission is to do its part in cultivating a true euro-demos (a European public sphere), which not only informs, but also incentivises ordinary Europeans to gain a stronger interest in EU-level governance as well as pan-European affairs, no matter their political convictions.

To read more on the extent, perception, and solutions to the EU’s democratic deficit, through a more research-based angle, click here (a Euro Prospects article).