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Chapter

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.

Chapter

This chapter examines the issue of political reform in the Middle East. More specifically, it considers the enormous challenges that face proponents of political reform in the region. To this end, the chapter focuses on the legacies of state formation that shape the contemporary political systems, as well as the changing economic and social parameters of societies in today’s Middle East. After explaining the democracy deficit in the Middle East, the chapter shows that the Arab states have been slow to respond to the global processes of democratization. It also explores the political economy of Arab states, the persistence of conflict, regime type, and the ambiguity over the relationship between democracy and Islam. Finally, it analyses the Arab Spring as evidence of the vibrancy and growth of civil society in many states across the region.

Chapter

This chapter brings together what have usually been presented as separate ‘consequences’ of European integration: Europeanization effects and challenges to democracy. It first considers the meanings of ‘Europeanization’ and uses of Europeanization before discussing the development of Europeanization studies that relate specifically to the European Union, along with the new institutionalisms in Europeanization research. It also examines the issue of legitimacy and the notion of ‘democratic deficit’. The chapter shows how the process of Europeanization can challenge domestic democratic structures and processes by transferring responsibilities and obscuring lines of accountability. It suggests that Europeanization may also add to the so-called ‘output democracy’ by increasing the policy-making capacities of governments through collective action.

Chapter

Tapio Raunio

This chapter examines the relationship between European integration and democracy. The continuous transfer of policy-making powers from European Union (EU) member states to the European level has raised serious concerns about democratic legitimacy. The chapter assesses the claims that European integration undermines national democracy, and that decision-making at the EU level is not sufficiently democratic. It argues that while significant challenges remain, European integration has definitely become more democratic over the years. But there is perhaps a trade-off, with stronger input legitimacy potentially an obstacle to efficient European-level decision-making. It also underlines the multilevel nature of the EU polity and the importance of public debates about European integration.

Chapter

This chapter brings together what have usually been presented as separate ‘consequences’ of European integration. First, it examines Europeanization: the process through which domestic politics and polities are changed by their engagement with the EU. Second, it considers three literatures that capture contemporary challenges to integration: a new domestic politicization of the EU; the rise of Euroscepticism; and a questioning of whether the EU is experiencing disintegration. Third, a continuing challenge for the EU has been its democratic legitimacy, and rising Europeanization is linked to questions of legitimacy of the EU amongst the public. This chapter deals with these interrelated phenomena: the EU’s impact on its member states and the issues arising.

Chapter

This chapter examines the extent to which decision-making in the European Union can be considered democratic and legitimate. It first considers the ‘permissive consensus’ on which the initial stages of European integration were based before discussing how the European democratic deficit emerged as an important issue of debate during the 1990s after the Maastricht Treaty had transferred considerable powers to the EU. It shows that the main solution to the democratic deficit has been inspired by the parliamentary model of democracy and involves strengthening the European Parliament. The chapter also explores how the governance debate at the start of the twenty-first century broadened the conceptual understanding of democracy in the EU. It concludes by assessing the impact of the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty on EU democracy and suggesting that the current economic crisis is likely to exacerbate the EU’s legitimacy problems.

Chapter

This chapter discusses the extent to which decision-making in the European Union can be considered democratic and legitimate. The chapter clarifies the concepts ‘democracy’ and ‘legitimacy’, and describes how, although initially the legitimacy of the European polity was not perceived as a problem, it became more problematic as the EU gained more competences. The European democratic deficit became an important issue of debate only during the 1990s after the Maastricht Treaty had transferred considerable powers to the EU. The main solution to the democratic deficit has been inspired by the parliamentary model of democracy and involves strengthening the European Parliament (EP), while also paying attention to the role of national parliaments and regional and local authorities. The chapter also shows how the governance debate at the start of the twenty-first century broadened the conceptual understanding of democracy in the EU by addressing the complexity of European governance (see also Chapter 7). By looking at different stages of policy-making and different modes of governance, while dealing with issues such as transparency and the role of civil society, the chapter discusses a wider range of issues associated with the democracy and legitimacy of the Union. It assesses the impact on EU democracy of the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty. The chapter concludes by warning that three main crises, namely the economic, migration, and security crises, have revived nationalist and populist movements exacerbating the challenges to the EU’s legitimacy.