EU Institutional Inconsistency

The author of the analysis indicates that political power in the European Union is primarily non-consolidated, faulty and lacking both horizontal and vertical coherence. It also suffers from the far-reaching democracy deficit. Horizontal inconsistency results from differences between various policies created by the individual institutions and bodies of the Union, as well as its decision-making and administrative apparatus.


Institutional inconsistency, however, arises from differences between:

1. the individual sanctioned by the Treaty, formal, intergovernmental centers which give shape to the EU policies – the European Council, the Council of the EU and their auxiliary bodies (COREPER I and II);

2. the European Commission and the authorities of the European Central Bank (understood as the Community institutions);

3. the informal bodies which are sanctioned by the Treaty (intergovernmental Eurogroup); and

4. the bodies which are both informal and not sanctioned by the Treaty.


The institutional inconsistency of the EU is deepened further by the problems with the national coordination of Community policies, thus with the ability of individual Member States to develop a consistent standpoint, which would have a national and not a departmental character, and would be then fostered in front of the EU institutions and bodies.

Finally, vertical inconsistency is the result of a discrepancy between the policy that has been agreed at the EU level and the policies conducted by its individual Member States. It is of utmost importance in the field of foreign policy and security, but it also occurs in other areas. The democracy deficit deprives the EU political power of a mandate from citizens, necessary for its proper functioning. This fault is of fundamental importance, since it is the primary cause of the political weakness of the Union and its implementation failure as well as its inefficiency in the field of decision-making.

Therefore, the basic and the most striking feature of the political power in the European Union is its ineffectiveness, resulting not only from the mistakes made by the politicians who exercise control over it, but also from the very nature of the system itself.


Newsletter, latest research and events


New Direction - The Foundation for European Reform
Rue du Trône, 4, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
+32 2 280 63 58

Copyright © 2016 New Direction – The Foundation for European Reform