With 27 member states the European Union represents a complex political system. The different Treaties have altered both face and functioning of the European Union and been main cornerstones for the study of the European Union. At the same time also the enlargement rounds have brought the necessity to adapt the EU’s institutions. Change, complexity and diversity have thus been guiding characteristics. TEPSA has since its beginning put a main emphasis of the development and impact of the European treaties. The Trans European Policy studies Association can in this context especially benefit from its member institutes, which reach out to almost all member states of the European Union and include also candidate countries. This enables TEPSA to not only limit itself to a “Brussels view”, but to include perceptions from the capitals of the member states.
On the hand, the European Union is often critized for its democratic deficit. Still, at the same time other scholars argue that as the EU is more of a “regulatory state” and the outcome of 27 national democracies. This all comes down to the question, whether a supranational democracy beyond the nation state is possible.
European Parliament Elections
The most visible means of democracy in the European Union are the elections to the European Parliament which are going to take place again in 2009. TEPSA will put an emphasis on these elections, but at the same time link them to related questions such as the appointment of the European Commission and the challenges to the rise of transeuropean parties.