The unfinished democratization of Europe

Author (Person)
Publication Date 2009
ISBN 978-0-19-957251-9
Content Type

The widening and deepening of the European Union have brought to the fore the question of democracy at the European level. The system of domination already in place at the European level requires and aspires to direct legitimation - from the citizens themselves and not merely indirect, derived from the Member Nation States. Such can only be achieved by making the EU into a democratic polity.

But can democracy be disassociated from its putative nation-state foundation? A revised concept of democratic legitimacy based on discourse theory is developed. It is argued that post-national democracy requires a constitution but not necessarily a state.

The Union amounts to less than a state but more than an international organisation and a system of transnational governance. In the political theory of the multilevel constellation that makes up the EU, it is conceived of as a regional subset of an emerging cosmopolitan order. The EU is a state-less government. As it is not premised on group identity, it is able to accommodate a high measure of variance with regard to territory and function.

The book analyzes the reforms undertaken to bring the EU 'closer to the citizens'. It documents elements of democratization and reduction of arbitrary power. However, democracy requires that the citizens can approve or reject the laws they are subjected to. Since the institutional as well as the civic conditions under which a public justification process would be deemed legitimate are not in place, European post-national democracy remains an unaccomplished mission.


1. Introduction: European Democracy in Transformation

Part I: The Democratic Challenge
2. The Quest for Democratization
3. Democratic Legitimacy Through Deliberation?

Part II: Elements of Democratization
4. Europe - On the Search for its Legitimacy
5. Chartering Europe
6. The Cosmopolitan Dimension
7. A layered European Public Sphere

Part III: What Kind of Legitimate Order?
8. Government or Transnational Governance?
9. Government without a State
10. Parliamentary Democracy Without a Demos

Finale: An Unaccomplished Post-National Democracy

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