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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Is there a democratic vacuum in Europe?

 

President Borrell has it clear: things have the color of the glass we look through. Indeed perspective seems to matter during the luncheon conversation. While Professor Monti says that optimism is needed and stresses what the European Parliament already does in terms of democratic control and accountability, and points at the uniqueness of the power it has with regards to the examination of commissioners, Mr Lipponen, President of the Finnish Parliament, is more concerned with the role national assemblies have in the European democratic dialectic.   Professor Monti reminds us that there are difference between the national and the supranational level and recommends that we resist the temptation to shape Europe on what national states are, where President Lipponen says that to enhance democracy in Europe wider recognition must be given to national parliaments.   Once more it is up to Professor Moravcsick, Professor at Princeton University, to remind Europeans of their strengths. He does so by explaining that European institutions do form a strict system of institutional checks and balances, of a kind that is hardly possible to find in any other democracy in the world. Commissioner Ferrero-Walder adds up to the enthusiasm and makes a point in saying that democracy is also a matter of political will and by looking at the commitment and the spirit of the Commission she has hardly any doubt: democratic values remain at the core of Europe.  The lunch is almost over, panelists and guests nod and show signs of approval. Beyond the different perspectives, the impression is one of unity and concerned pragmatism: democracy in Europe is at work.

 

-Summary by Davide Rubini and Suman Jain

Date: 27.02.2006