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Lietuvos žinios - Lithuania | Monday, June 25, 2012

Kęstutis Girnius on the EU's democracy deficit

The citizens of the Union are not consulted on the most important questions of EU policy, political scientist Kęstutis Girnius laments in the conservative daily Lietuvos žinios: "As a result of the bitter experiences of the past [the rejection of the EU constitution in referendums] the members of the EU do not allow their electorates to vote on the burning issues of the day. Because they rightly fear that they will not agree with their politicians' proposals. Under such conditions it is difficult to speak of transparent democracy. ... Referendums are not a panacea for securing democracy. Their success depends on the state and its political culture. ... They can be misused by well-organised activists and groups. Voters who let themselves be led by their emotions can make irrational decisions and back negative changes. But if the people have no real say on the most important issues, democracy will only limp along and the people will become alienated from the state."

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