How to democratise the European Union … and why bother?

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Publication Date 2000
ISBN 0-8476-9904-8
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Book abstract:

The intention of this book is to explore the possiblility and the desirability of democratising the European Union (EU). The author begins with an analysis of the EU as an emerging polity with certain distinctive features when contrasted with the existing nation-states that are its members. Its status as a 'nonstate' and a 'non-nation' pose very challenging problems with regard to its eventual democratisation. If it were to be attempted, the author argues, it would be necessary to reinvent the key institutions of modern political democracy: citizenship, representation and decision-making. The author goes on to suggest some proposals for reform in each of these three dimensions. He then takes up the issue of 'why bother?' or more especially, 'why bother now?'.

The result is a thought-provoking book that suggests that it may be timely to begin to improve the quality of Euro-democracy through some modest reforms in the way citizenship, representation and decision-making are practised within the institutions of the European Union.

Philippe C. Schmitter is a professor of political and social sciences at the European University Institute. He has conducted research on comparative politics and regional integration in both Latin America and Western Europe, with special emphasis on the politics of organized interests.

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