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Democratic Accountability in the European Union

             Article 10(2) in the Lisbon Treaty states that "Citizens are directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament".1 This is in harmony with one of the aims set out in the Preamble of the Treaty, which is to enhance the democratic legitimacy of the European Union (EU).2 Nevertheless, the democratic legitimacy of the EU should not be assured only by the mere existence of the European Parliament (EP). The legitimacy of democracy, which defined by Abraham Lincoln as "government of the people, by the people, for the people", depends on political participation, citizen participation and effective government.3 However, in this essay, whether EU has sufficient democratic accountability will be determined only by focusing on whether there is an effective government. This essay will discuss whether there is sufficient democratic accountability in EU's legislative process by examining what kind of powers the EP has in practice and how the overall interaction of all bodies involved in making the EU law affects the democratic legitimacy of the EU. .
             Where does EP's real power lie?.
             EP has the power to have a legislative input along with the Council in the Ordinary Legislative Procedure (OLP), a legislative process in the EU.4 The EP may exercise a veto power during the second reading or at the Conciliation Committee.5 It is probably be more accurate to say that it is not that veto power that allows for the EP to have a legislative influence, but rather the availability of that power given the fact that it has only been used three times during the period between 1999 and 2009.6 Besides that, the EP also possesses amendment powers, of which there are plenty of occasions where the use of that power has been successful.7 OLP has an important feature whereby both the European Council and the EP enjoy equal legislative power. Legislation can only be passed if it meets a certain procedural requirement which relies on approval given by these two bodies as well as the requirement to consult the EP.

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