Designing democratic institutions: Accountability, responsiveness and the reform of the Council of the European Union

Andreas Warntjen

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The widely perceived lack of legitimacy of EU decision-making has prompted a major debate about institutional reform. Improving democratic practice in the Council has been one of the key topics in the debates leading up to the Lisbon treaty. In general, we can distinguish between two models of democracy. The majoritarian model of democracy builds on the open competition of political camps who enjoy wide-ranging powers to implement their policy agenda once in office. In contrast, the consociational model of democracy relies on inclusiveness, compromises and power-sharing. I discuss the most prominent topics of the recent debate on institutional reform in the Council (voting threshold, Council Presidency, transparency) in light of these two models of democracy. The current practice of decision-making in the Council resembles the consensual model. The changes in the Lisbon Treaty are unlikely to make any significant difference in this regard.
Original languageUndefined
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2008
EventWorkshop on Designing Democratic Institutions - Political Science and Political Economy Research Group, London
Duration: 13 May 200814 May 2008


ConferenceWorkshop on Designing Democratic Institutions
CityPolitical Science and Political Economy Research Group, London


  • METIS-248320
  • IR-102831

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