voting in europe

Image_250896_galleryV9_smen_-e1401903341929Ryan Ruby at n+1:

It’s hard not to be sympathetic to the majority of the European population that doesn’t show up to the polls, whether out of discontent or apathy. The inherent logistical difficulties of coordinating the opinions and interests of more than a half a billion people in almost thirty countries who speak over twenty languages notwithstanding, the EU has never done a good job of erasing the so-called “democracy deficit” between it and its citizens.

The reason for this is partially historical. The EU doesn’t have its origins in popular movements, but in an expanding series of trade and travel liberalizations undertaken over the heads of the people by ministerial elites from the large Western European nations over a period of fifty years. However integrationist they may be on principle, the heads of the member states jealously guard their decision-making prerogatives, meaning that at best a European citizen’s relationship to EU legislation remains largely indirect, mediated by his or her national citizenship and national identity.

more here.