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Democracy in the EU after the Lisbon Treaty


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The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, on December 1 2009, brought the EU’s troubled institutional reform process to an end. In an effort to increase the EU’s democratic legitimacy, the Treaty introduces some relevant innovations: it extends the powers of the European Parliament, it enhances the role of European political parties, it involves national parliaments increasingly in the EU legislative process and, ÿnally, it creates the European Citizens’ Initiative, which allows citizens to invite the Commission to submit legislative proposals that they feel are of crucial importance. Nevertheless, the implementation of these provisions will not be easy as they impact on, among other things, the EU’s institutional balance. Not only does it remain to be seen how effective they will be in bringing EU institutions closer to citizens, but the application of some of these provisions could lead to inter-institutional con˛icts and political ambiguities. In this context, the European Parliament has a key role to play as a political and institutional facilitator, also in promoting more consistent linkages between citizens and the EU institutional system.

Raffaello Matarazzo is Researcher at the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Adjunct Professor in Government and Politics of Western Europe at the St. John’s University of New York’s Rome Campus and editor-in-chief of the IAI webzine AffarInternazionali.

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Democracy in the EU after the Lisbon Treaty
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