Today's survey (via FT) about the EU makes for interesting (if not slightly depressing) reading. The survey, taken in the bloc's five biggest states as well as the US concludes that just 25% believed that life had got better since their country joined the EU.

From the results it is clear that the two subjects most associated with the EU are bureaucracy and the single market - democracy features long way down the list.

The very success of the EU in enlarging to include almost the entire continent is a tribute to the European project established back in 1957; through economic unity, peace has been guaranteed.

However, it could be argued that the EU is so large now that it is incapable of reform, seen as unanimous agreement is required for any constitutional amendment. As demonstrated by the numerous responses to the failed European Constitution, alliances between Member States have pulled in different directions (just two examples are the 'Consitutionalists' who met in Madrid earlier this year and those who advocate a multi-speed Europe) and have damaged the perception of an 'ever closer union'.

There are, without doubt, some reforms which make sense. The introduction of petition power for example, can only further democratise the current process, as well as extending the powers of the European Parliament and making the Council of Ministers more transparent. Let us not forget, it is the Member States and their governments who hold the ultimate power to change the supranational set-up.

But does this survey not also prove a failure on their part to provide Union that their citizens are satisfied with?

I worry that the political manoeuvering that distorts democracy within nation states risks the genuine chance for international democracy that the EU model offers (see Archibugi).

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