Justice, Not Democracy: Legitimacy in the European Union

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Series Details Vol.48, No.4, September 2010, p903-922
Publication Date September 2010
ISSN 0021-9886
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The EU is often assessed against the standard of democracy, which it has no fair chance to fulfil. A new and attractive normative agenda is needed if the EU is to escape its deep legitimacy crisis. This article proposes to substitute the discourse on the democratic deficit of the EU with a discourse on its contribution to transnational justice. Whilst the democratic discourse most often focuses on parliamentary competences and divided government, the discourse on justice centres on the people, puts primary emphasis on power asymmetries and on overcoming the obstacles to justifiable political outcomes. The proposal to analyse the EU in terms of justice does not lower the normative standard but corrects it.

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