European Union Democratic Audit Website

The European Union Democratic Audit website aims to provoke discussion about indicators and data sources which might be used to assess how democratic the EU is. The website was launched in October 2011 and has been extensively updated after the end of RECON.

A framework for evaluating the democratic qualities of EU institutions through a democratic audit has been developed within WP 3 – Representation and Institutional Make-up. WP coordinator Christopher Lord is conducting the European Union Democratic Audit based on a set of ten indicators for measuring democracy. The website is intended to provoke academic debate on how various data sources can be used to test each of these indicators. It sets out the democratic indicators and proposes data sources that are helpful to measure these.

The website presents the concept of democratic auditing and outlines how the audit is linked to the three RECON models for democracy (delegated democracy, federal democracy and cosmopolitan democracy), as well as these models’ different implications for how the EU would satisfy the democratic indicators.

The main feature of the website is a presentation and discussion of the ten democratic audit indicators:

1. Rights

How far, how equally and how securely do citizens enjoy rights of free speech, association and assembly?

2. Free and fair elections

How far and how equally can citizens exercise public control through free and fair voting?

3. Choice and political competition

How far are voters offered choices that allow them to exercise public control as equals?

4. Electoral participation

How far and how equally do citizens participate in elections that determine the composition of the legislature and appointments to leading executive offices?

5. Representation

How representative are bodies that legislate or supervise the exercise of executive and administrative power, and how far and how equally can citizens exercise public control through those bodies?

6. Civic capabilities

How plural and how independent is the range of social groups, organised interests and communications media that seeks to influence the polity? How equal is their access to public institutions and how equally accessible are they themselves to individual citizens?

7. Civil society

How far are the decisions of the polity deliberated within a public sphere that allows all points of view to be considered, justified and decided in relation to all others, free of inequalities in power and resources?

8. Public sphere

How far and how equally do citizens enjoy civic capabilities needed for them to exercise public control over the polity?

9. Rule of law

How far does the polity rest on a rule of law that itself encompasses no more and no less than those conditions required for citizens to author their own laws as equals?

10. Demos and the polity

How far is the polity accepted as a unit whose citizens can (themselves and through their representatives) make decisions that are morally and legally binding on one another? And how far can citizens acting as equals exercise public control over the design of the polity itself?


For each indicator, its relevance for measuring EU democracy is discussed and various ways of measurement are presented. A number of tables present relevant data and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

The website is to include a function allowing for feedback from users and will build over time in response to feedback.

The website is mastered by ARENA – Centre for European Studies at the University of Oslo (RECON coordinator).



Go to the website