Government and Politics of Europe Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

The EU experienced a series of reforms during the 1990s with the purpose of stabilizing conditions in countries that experienced hardships and in order to reinforce the concept of democracy in these countries. One of the most important problems that the EU has in trying to promote democracy is the fact that its citizens are generally inclined to identify with their country more than they identify with the EU. "Despite the collapse in confidence in central government and in the national political system, there has been a growing identification on the part of young people with Italy as a country" (Loughlin 220). There are more people in Italy who are proud that they are Italians than individuals who are proud of being European citizens. This should not necessarily represent a threat for the concept of democracy in the Union, but it should influence the authorities in devising programs meant to educate individuals concerning their connection with the EU and the fact that democracy should not actually be opposed to nationalism. It is perfectly normal for one to love his or her country and to be democratic at the same time. In addition to putting across attitudes that deal with citizens as a whole, the EU should also focus on the individual needs of its people, as this is more likely to guarantee a better communication between actors within the EU and is probable to influence citizens in understanding the importance of democracy.

Although Europe is no longer focused on the concept of nation-state importance, its character as a supranational organization is difficult to understand from an ideological point-of-view. Mostly all communities in the EU are focused on creating strong connections between citizens and between nations with the purpose of influencing everyone in adopting democratic approaches in dealing with fellow members of the community. All members of the EU are provided with the authority to preserve and promote their own interests. Even with this, the fact that they are sometimes confused concerning what attitude they should employ in order for conditions to be stable for their citizens and for the EU as a whole makes it difficult for them to maintain a democratic position. It is, to a certain degree, probable that the EU is very similar to the U.S. And that the strategies that it used in the recent decades have made the community seem more like a republic than a democracy. European leaders have apparently intended the EU to be similar to a multipart republic that provided each state with power to control its citizens and to maintain a series of democratic principles (Fabbrini 4).

One might reach the conclusion that democracy is not necessarily what the EU needs in order to experience positive results. As long as peace is maintained within its borders and as long as European citizens are provided with a set of freedoms it appears that republican concepts are more beneficial for the EU. Even with this, the EU committee appears to have tried a series of tactics to ensure that citizens acknowledge the importance of democracy. While some of these actions have generated positive results, others failed to assist the EU in its try to become more democratic and emphasized the fact that the community does not focus enough on the individual needs of its citizens.

Works cited:

Fabbrini, Sergio, Democracy and federalism in the European Union and the United States: exploring post-national governance, (Routledge, 2005).

Follesdal, Andreas and Hix, Simon "Why there is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: a Response to Majone and Moravcsik," Retrieved February 22, 2012, from the Princeton University Website:

Longo, Michael "Conceptualising European Union Legitimacy through Democratic Participation,"Melbourne Journal of Politics

Loughlin, John, Subnational Democracy in the European Union: Challenges and Opportunities (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2004)

Oddvar Eriksen, Erik and Erik Fossum, John eds., Democracy in the European Union: Integration Through Deliberation? / (London: Routledge, 2000)

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