The democratic deficit that some claim exists in the EU is not simply Anglo-Saxon angst, the German constitutional court does not recognise the European parliament as a genuine legislature, representing the will of a single European people, but as a representative body of member states. The German court states that the European parliament does not behave like a true parliament. There is no formal opposition. There is no grouping that supports a government. The Lisbon treaty may increases the powers of the European parliament, but it does not, in the court’s view, fix its ultimate short-coming. That is, the parliament does not constitute an effective control of EU executive power. However despite this ruling, and it is a ‘ruling’ relating to the ultimate authority of the German legislature, Germany have signed the Lisbon Treaty. So does this mean that Germany has capitulated on the treaty. Far from it, they have pointed out that Lisbon changes very little from previous treaties that have been signed. So while the Lisbon Treaty gives more authority to Members of the European Parliament, the parliament remains very much a paper tiger.
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