The EU is often criticized for being elitist and undemocratic, and for being run by technocrats who are out of touch with the needs and views of ordinary Europeans. Scholars have spent much time pondering what they describe as its democratic deficit, or the gap between the work of the EU institutions and the ability of ordinary Europeans to have a say in that work. Such is the problem that a member of the British parliament was once prompted to quip that if the EU applied for membership of itself, it would be denied on the grounds that it lacked the necessary democratic credentials.1 There is a popular perception that the EU institutions are unaccountable, which is why the comments section of online stories about the EU will often find it described as an unelected, unaccountable, corrupt monolith with an overbearing bureaucracy (or words to that effect). But herein lie several of the numerous paradoxes about the EU. First, it is criticized for being undemocratic, and yet the most obvious solution - the creation of an elected and representative European government - is vigorously and widely opposed.
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