'Accountability' as a concept can have several meanings, depending on the situation it is used in. In his article, Bovens claims that 'accountability' for the European Commission, for example, is not only synonym for ‘clarity’, ‘transparency’, and maybe most importantly: ‘responsibility’, but that it includes concepts like ‘involvement', ‘deliberation’, and ‘participation’ as well.
The last three concepts touch upon the very core I want to explore here, because how can concepts like 'involvement' and 'participation' be implied by the European Commission as part of 'accountability', when the Commission leaders – the Commissioners, and the President in particular – are not even elected by popular vote?
And as they are not elected, who will hold the Commissioners and the President accountable when a (political) mistake is made? Who will be held responsible? The growing interest in these questions could come from the lack of transparency and accountability of the system. We notice therefore that this might be a deficit that runs parallel to the democratic deficit.
A solution might be for the Commission leaders to be “accountable” to the European Political Parties. Realistically though, a solution might never be found. Therefore a better use of 'infopolitik' is imperative. Infopolitik implicitly acknowledges both that the EU institutions should take pro-active international communication seriously and that the nature of that communication should be grounded in accurate and impartial information.
Dan LUCA / Brussels