Democracy and differentiation in Europe

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Series Details Vol.22, No.6, June 2015, p799-815
Publication Date June 2015
ISSN 1350-1763
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This contribution addresses two questions. First, what forms and shapes does European Union (EU) differentiation take in the realm of representative democracy in the multilevel constellation that makes up the EU? Second, what are the implications of differentiation for the theory and the practice of democracy? The question is whether citizens are capable of governing themselves in a political entity marked by patterns of authority and/or policy-making that vary in unprecedented ways along territorial and functional lines. Drawing on differentiation rather than the more commonly used term differentiated integration entails a somewhat different research focus and allows considering the democratic challenges of patterns of integration and disintegration actualized by the euro crisis. The contribution establishes a set of democratic standards and assesses the democratic implications of differentiation in the EU. Doing that requires paying explicit attention to the distinctive character of the multilevel EU's structure of democratic representation.

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