The democratic deficit arises when decisions are moved from the national Parliaments and the electorates in the Member states to non-elected bodies in Brussels. In Brussels civil servants behind closed doors take most decisions and laws are made by means of agreements between all the EU member states meeting in secret working groups and Coreper.
What citizens vote for and influence at a national level has no guaranteed effect on what occurs at the EU level. The vote and influence of citizens are thereby devalued at national level without a similar compensating improvement at EU level.
The Lisbon Treaty from 2009 has the ordinary legislative procedure for the most important law- making enabling MEPs to influence laws by proposing amendments to the drafts that come from the Commission.
Around 80% of laws are now agreed in first-reading compromises between Commission, Council and Parliament. This has given MEPs real influence even if their law-making powers are weak compared to national parliaments.
The real influence of MEPs may be found in the up to 1000 Trialogue meetings in 2013, according to euobserver.com - but no minutes are available for these meetings.
Both federalists and euro-sceptics criticise the current EU because of this democratic deficit. However, they disagree as to the possible solutions.
Following the European elections in 2014 the EP elected Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the Commission and established eventually a kind of European parliamentarism.