Adjusting to hard times will be made even more difficult by a growing cynicism towards politics. Party membership is declining across the developed world: only 1% of Britons are now members of political parties compared with 20% in 1950. Voter turnout is falling, too: a study of 49 democracies found that it had declined by 10 percentage points between 1980-84 and 2007-13. A survey of seven European countries in 2012 found that more than half of voters “had no trust in government” whatsoever. A YouGov opinion poll of British voters in the same year found that 62% of those polled agreed that “politicians tell lies all the time”.
Generally speaking, while all member states recognise that EU law takes primacy over national law where this agreed in the Treaties, they do not accept that the has the final say on foundational constitutional questions affecting democracy and human rights. In the United Kingdom, the basic principle is that Parliament, as the sovereign expression of democratic legitimacy, can decide whether it wishes to expressly legislate against EU law. This, however, would only happen in the case of an express wish of the people to withdraw from the EU. It was held in that "whatever limitation of its sovereignty Parliament accepted when it enacted the European Communities Act 1972 was entirely voluntary" and so "it has always been clear" that UK courts have a duty "to override any rule of national law found to be in conflict with any directly enforceable rule of Community law". More recently the noted that in , although the UK constitution is uncodified, there could be "fundamental principles" of common law, and Parliament "did not either contemplate or authorise the abrogation" of those principles when it enacted the . The view of the from the and decisions is that if the EU does not comply with its basic constitutional rights and principles (particularly democracy, the and the principles) then it cannot override German law. However, as the nicknames of the judgments go, "so long as" the EU works towards the democratisation of its institutions, and has a framework that protects fundamental human rights, it would not review EU legislation for compatibility with German constitutional principles. Most other member states have expressed similar reservations. This suggests the EU's legitimacy rests on the ultimate authority of member states, its factual commitment to human rights, and the democratic will of the people.
Democratic deficit in the European Union ..
The (TEU) and the (TFEU) are the two main sources of EU law. Representing agreements between all member states, the TEU focuses more on principles of democracy, human rights, and summarises the , while the expands on all principles and fields of policy in which the EU can legislate. In principle, the EU treaties are like any other international agreement, which will usually be interpreted according to principles codified by the . It can be amended by unanimous agreement at any time, but TEU itself, in article 48, sets out an amendment procedure through proposals via the Council and a Convention of national Parliament representatives. Under TEU article 5(2), the "principle of conferral" says the EU can do nothing except the things which it has express authority to do. The limits of its competence are governed by the , and the courts and Parliaments of member states.