Keywords: European Union; Democracy; Parties; Party system; Transnationalization.
This article addresses the issue of the growing concern surrounding the Eu's «democratic deficit» resulting from the expansion of the Eu's competences. In particular it raises the question of whether the development of genuine Europarties competing in a European party system could be sufficient to promote and assure democratic government at Eu level. The article discusses the ways in which integrated parties and party systems operate in «normal» democracies and perform functions that are conducive to a correct functioning of the political system. It then examines the current state of affairs at Eu level, by assessing the nature and character of Europarties as well as whether a genuine European Party system exits in the Euro-arenas in which parties are expected to compete. Finally the paper analyses the potential impact of the political and institutional changes induced by and surrounding the Lisbon Treaty on Europarties and their system. The conclusions of such analysis are somewhat contradictory: while the development of a real European party system within might enhance accountability and responsiveness, it might come at the cost of the developing capacity of the parties to represent and articulate the diversity of voices that are found in the Eu.