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This chapter explores recent changes in European politics and looks to the future for European democracy as it stands now. The chapter explores the ongoing political change that can be seen within European countries and also at the European Union (EU) level. It aims to highlight four important debates about the state of democracy in Europe. These are: the debates about the rise of political fragmentation and its consequences for democracy; democratic backsliding in central and eastern Europe; the impact of the United Kingdom leaving the EU on democracy; and the democratic deficit in EU politics.

Book

Edited by Michelle Cini and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán

European Union Politics equips readers to understand the European Union and the topical debates and issues which surround it. Alongside comprehensive coverage of the history, theory, institutions, and policies of the EU, it features chapters on contemporary issues and current debates, including democracy and legitimacy in the EU, citizens and public opinion, the economic crisis, and a new chapter on Brexit. Helpful learning features throughout the text, including key points, questions, and examples, support learning.

Book

Edited by Michelle Cini and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán

European Union Politics is the most complete and issues-led introductory textbook on the European Union. Alongside rigorous coverage of the theory, institutions, and policies of the EU, the book engages with contemporary debates, and current crises. The seventh edition has been substantially updated, with significantly revised chapters on Brexit and the CJEU, as well as two new chapters covering the EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the European migration and refugee crisis. The text’s accessible writing style makes it the ideal starting point for anyone wishing to fully understand the workings of this complex and ever-evolving system. Throughout the book, students are supported by helpful learning features, including key points, questions, and examples.

Chapter

14. The European Union  

A Constitutional Order in the Making

Berthold Rittberger

This chapter examines how the European Union acquired distinctive constitution-like features. It begins with a discussion of three routes to constitutionalization: the first is through changes in the EU's primary law; the second focuses on ‘in between’ constitutionalization; and the third leads directly to the European Court of Justice and its jurisprudence. The chapter proceeds by discussing two developments that have shaped the EU constitutional order almost since the beginning: the emergence of a body of EU law constituting a set of higher-order legal rules, and the consolidation of the constitutional principle of representative democracy. It explains how the supremacy and direct effect of EU law, as well as the EU court's concern with the protection of fundamental rights, helped transform the EU into a constitutional polity. It also considers how the extension of the legislative, budgetary, and other powers of the European Parliament animated the constitutional principle.

Chapter

Amelia Amelia, Daniel Kenealy, and Richard Corbett

As it moves into the third decade of the 21st century, the EU faces a number of new and unprecedented challenges–as well as some perennial ones. The chapter opens with a discussion of the challenges posed by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit). It goes on to consider how the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed a series of pre-existing internal and external policy challenges, as well as creating new ones. These in turn have raised questions about various aspects of the EU’s governance, from the size and scope of its budget to the quality of democracy across its member states; from the role of the Commission to decision-making rules in the Council. How well the EU responds to these many challenges will shape the future of the Union.

Chapter

This chapter examines the legitimacy and democratic control of the European Union's international policies. It first explains why, with whom, and by what standards the EU's international role need to be legitimate before discussing the issue of democratic control involving the European Parliament (EP) and national parliaments. More specifically, it considers the member states' mantra that the legitimacy of EU decisions is ‘founded on the principle of representative democracy’, delivered through the representation of citizens in the EP and national democracies in the European Council, the Councils, and their own national parliaments. It also emphasizes the great variety in the EU's international policy procedures and concludes by assessing how legitimacy might enable or constrain the development of the EU as an international actor.