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Cover European Union Politics

9. Democracy and Legitimacy in the European Union  

Stijn Smismans

This chapter discusses the extent to which decision-making in the European Union can be considered democratic and legitimate, clarifying the concepts ‘democracy’ and ‘legitimacy’. The European democratic deficit became an important issue of debate only after the Maastricht Treaty transferred considerable powers to the EU. The main solution 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 considers different stages of policy-making and different modes of governance, transparency and the role of civil society, and discusses wider issues associated with the democracy and legitimacy of the Union, such as the impact of the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty. The chapter concludes by warning that three main crises—the economic, migration, and security crises—have revived nationalist and populist movements exacerbating the challenges to the EU’s legitimacy.


Cover Politics in the European Union

3. Theorizing Consequences  

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.


Cover The European Union

6. Democracy in the EU  

Richard Corbett and Daniel Kenealy

This chapter examines the democratic credentials of the EU. Beginning with a discussion of the idea of democracy beyond the state, it explores academic debates about whether the EU suffers a ‘democratic deficit’. The chapter evaluates the EU along various dimensions, including how powers are separated and divided within the EU, the extent to which executive accountability is established, and the various mechanisms of representation in the EU. It explores the nature of European elections, the role of European political parties, the role of national parliaments in EU policy-making and recent innovations in the way that the president of the European Commission is chosen. The chapter concludes with a discussion of fundamental rights, values, and the rule of the law in the EU with a particular focus on recent developments in Hungary and Poland.


Cover Comparative Politics

23. The EU as a new political system  

Hix Simon

This chapter examines the development and operation of the European Union (EU) from a comparative politics perspective. It first considers the evolution of the EU, from the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951 that established the European Coal and Steel Community to the admission of Lithuania in 2015 as the nineteenth member of the eurozone, and the UK’s decision to leave the EU in 2016. The chapter then explores the process of European integration and goes on to explain what it means to think of the EU as a political system. It also describes the two basic dimensions of the EU system: the vertical dimension (the EU as a ‘regulatory state’) and the horizontal dimension (the design and operation of EU decision-making). The chapter concludes by analysing the ‘missing link’ in the EU system—the lack of genuine democratic politics.


Cover Comparative European Politics

5. Democracy and the EU  

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.


Cover Foundations of European Politics

14. European Politics into the Future  

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.


Cover Policy-Making in the European Union

2. Theorizing EU Policy-Making  

Mark A. Pollack

This chapter surveys seven decades of theorizing about European Union policy-making and policy processes. It begins with a discussion of theories of European integration, including neo-functionalism, intergovernmentalism, liberal intergovernmentalism, institutionalism, constructivism, and postfunctionalism. It then considers the increasing number of studies that approach the EU through the lenses of comparative politics and comparative public policy, focusing on the federal or quasi-federal aspects of the EU and its legislative, executive, and judicial politics. It finally explores the vertical and horizontal separation of powers in the EU and concludes by looking at the ‘governance approach’ to the EU, with emphasis on multi-level governance and EU policy networks, Europeanization, and the question of the EU’s democratic deficit.


Cover The Globalization of World Politics

20. International organizations in world politics  

Susan Park

This chapter examines the role that international organizations play in world politics. It explains what international organizations are, whether we need international organizations in international relations, and what constraints and opportunities exist for international organizations to achieve their mandates. The chapter also considers the reasons why states create international organizations and how we can analyse the behaviour of such organizations. Two case studies are presented: the first is about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the second is about the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the G77. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether multilateralism is in crisis.