DOES THE DEMOCRACY OF THE EU MEMBER COUNTRIES STILL SHOW NOWADAYS ELEMENTS OF VULNERABILITY?
This paper examines the potential basis for the determination of a barometer to size democracy, a new instrument designed to measure the differences in the quality of democracies established for the East and North European Union countries. This new research instrument is based on a comprehensive concept of democracy, which includes three principles: freedom, equality and control, which are assured by nine functions: individual freedoms, the rule of law, public sphere, competition, mutual constraints, governmental capability, transparency, participation and representation. The Construction of the Barometer applies the Principal Component Analysis technique (PCA) to describe and compare the democratic level of the mentioned European Union countries over the period 1996-2016. We considered the PCA research methodology because it has proven robustness in data processing and dimensionality reduction, taking into account variables that can explain variation, as well as differences between countries, over time. In order to identify the vulnerable dimensions of the quality of democracy, we considered a relevant set of data, namely the economic variables: gross domestic product, globalization and inflation, asocial variable such is human development and political variables specific to the political institutions, namely the Electoral System, Presidential System, Structure of Parliament, Voter turnout, Representation of Women in Parliament and the Rule of Law. Other relevant variables were considered Religion, Population and Stability of Democracy. Results reveal the potential of this new research tool to generate a relevant comparative analysis. Also, our results highlight the extent to which there are social factors, political, institutional factors, economic factors, or a mixture of factors that can explain the variation in the quality of democracy in European democratic countries. It is noted that old democracies, parliamentary, unicameral states, or having a proportional electoral system and in which the dominant religion is Protestantism, are associated with a higher level of the quality of democracy.
Keywords: democracy, vulenarvility, EU countries, freedom, control
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