On Friday, June 2, 2017, the Jean Monnet Chair “Democracy in the European Union” hosted an expert seminar on “Democracy in the European Union: Have the Innovations of the Lisbon Treaty Made a Difference?” The seminar was chaired by Dr. Achim Hurrelmann of EURUS, Carleton University, and featured three expert speakers: Dr. Ian Cooper of the European University Institute, Florence; Dr. Justin Greenwood of Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen; and Dr. Christilla Roederer-Rynning of the University of Southern Denmark, Odense.
The event was well-attended, with nearly 30 people representing academia, the diplomatic corps and foreign embassies, as well as the private sector. The three speakers gave presentations on different institutional innovations of the Lisbon Treaty designed to make the EU more democratic, including: the Ordinary Legislative Procedure, which expanded the powers of the European Parliament; the Early Warning Mechanism, which allows national parliaments to make their voices heard in EU decision-making; and the European Citizens’ Initiative, which allows citizens to bring forward legislative proposals.
The speakers discussed to what extent these mechanisms have contributed to making the EU more democratic. The speakers further analyzed how the innovations of the Lisbon Treaty have impacted EU governance and to what extent their democratic aspirations have been fulfilled. A question and answer period followed the presentations, in which participants were actively engaged in a lively conversation.