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Quora Answer : Is the Brexit meme that European laws are made by unelected bureaucrats true?

Jan 31, 2019

It's a gross oversimplification.

Like all governances, the EU is a mix of elected representatives and appointed officials.

But in a mix that's different from the way you are used to in your national government. So it's hard to interpret until you've actually looked into it.

You might or might not think, ultimately, that it's less democratic than your ideal.

But it's worth thinking about why that is.

The reason the EU doesn't have more obvious democratic institutions like a directly elected president is because the governments of member states don't want it.

Think about it. If you voted for an EU president, that president would have a strong claim to a democratic mandate to overrule your national government. The electors could set EU-wide policies that their own governments don't want.

National governments of member states don't want that, so they prefer to appoint the senior figures in the EU rather than have them elected. That way they hold on to all the democratic legitimacy for themselves.

It suits the UK government to keep the EU from being "properly democratic" while then complaining that the EU isn't properly democratic.

Of course, it suits the French government, the German government and all the others too.

A properly democratic - in the way you understand it, with officials directly elected by voters - EU government, would be the fastest road to a full European superstate. The "lack of democracy" is the mechanism that member states use to prevent that.

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