This text argues that Articles 9 to 12 of the EU Treaty provide a promising way to conceptualize and develop the democratic legitimation of international organizations. To be sure, the current European Union is not a democratic showcase. However, an innovative concept of democracy, neither utopian nor apologetic, has found its way into its founding treaty. It can point the way in conceiving and developing the democratic credentials not just of the EU, but of public authority beyond the state in general. Since comparison is a main avenue to insight, this piece will present those articles and show what lessons can be learnt for international organizations.