varoufakis106_Christopher FurlongGetty Images_EUropeanParliament Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Europe’s Fading Democracy

The European Union has long suffered from a democratic deficit, owing to the absence of a united European polity that can hold EU political institutions accountable. In recent years, three developments have all but destroyed the idea of the EU as an effective force for good within and beyond Europe.

ATHENS – The quiet days of August are a good time to contemplate the year ahead. Peering at my 2024 calendar, the European Parliament elections loom largest. Sadly, they fail to inspire me the way they did five years ago.

In 2019, I stood for the European Parliament in Germany while a German colleague stood in Greece. DiEM25, our pan-European movement, wanted to make the point that European democracy will remain a sham unless it becomes fully transnational. In 2024, such gestures are not even symbolically meaningful.

My weariness, as I face next June’s European elections, is not due to any loss of interest in European politics or to recent political defeats, of which I have had my fair share. What wearies me is the difficulty of even imagining democracy’s seeds taking root in the European Union in my lifetime.

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