Letter: EU harmony, but little democracy

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The Independent Online
EU harmony, but

little democracy

Sir: The European Court of Justice, says Sarah Helm ("Britannia faces her judges", 28 October), is a sort of cloistered, quasi-monastic order that's in the business of "harmonising" 15 nations' ways of life. It is run by people appointed rather than elected. Its powers, she notes, are increasing almost daily, and there is a "strong expectation" that home affairs policy, the workings of the single currency and other areas of decision-making still, for the time being, under the control of the democratically elected governments of the member states, will soon be brought under its jurisdiction.

As a lifelong Labour voter, and as someone who is in favour of a common market and greater European co-operation, it pains me to find myself sharing the same soapbox as the red-faced colonels of the "Europhobic" right, but I find it hard to avoid the question of what happens to democracy in all of this.

Ordinary people throughout the nations of the European Union are losing the right to vote for the laws they live by. Tony Benn once described the centralising of power in EU institutions as "a coup d'etat by a political elite who care nothing for popular sovereignty". At the time I thought it an exaggeration: now I'm not so sure.


Windsor, Berkshire