The leaders of states and governments of 28 European countries (Croatia included) are able to agree over a long-term budget worth 959 988 000 000 Euros (in commitments) 11 months before this budget period starts.
The leader of the directly elected European Parliament involving 754 members from 27 European countries (plus the Croatian observers) is able to criticise that deal. The leaders of the four largest political party groups (those leaders come from 4 different countries) of said European Parliament can agree not to accept the deal made by the country leaders.
The proceeds and outcomes of the negotiations are reported in numerous newspapers and TV stations in those 28 countries, e.g. here in Estonia, Bulgaria, Ireland, Spain, Greece, Italy, Germany, Malta, Denmark, Poland, Croatia, France, Netherlands, Romania as well as in EU news.
If I may give my 95,998,800,000,000 Euro-Cents:
We seem far from being ruled by a dictatorship given the multitude of democratically elected voices. We seem far from being unable to reach compromises despite the differences in ideological and regional views.
We seem far from censorship of European media, politicians or other individuals when it comes to European affairs. We seem far from having only technocratic European debates. We seem far from only hearing national politician’s views on the national aspects of European politics.
Listening to the 2014-2020 EU budget debate very much sounds like traditional democratic politics, with all its good and bad sides, all its deficiencies (e.g. this one) and all its great little moments. Could be worse.