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(p. 337) Part 5 Issues and Debates 

(p. 337) Part 5 Issues and Debates

Michelle Cini

and Nieves Pérez-Solórzano Borragán

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date: 19 April 2021

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.

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