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Since the Maastricht ratification debate of the early 1990s, the legitimacy of the European Union has become a subject of controversy. With unprecedented force, Europeans have begun to question the need for deeper integration. Some fear threats to established national identities, while others perceive the emergence of a distant but powerful Brussels, beyond the reach of democratic control. Legitimacy and the European Union breaks with established approaches to the problem of the legitimacy of the European Union ...
Since the Maastricht ratification debate of the early 1990s, the legitimacy of the European Union has become a subject of controversy. With unprecedented force, Europeans have begun to question the need for deeper integration. Some fear threats to established national identities, while others perceive the emergence of a distant but powerful Brussels, beyond the reach of democratic control. Legitimacy and the European Union breaks with established approaches to the problem of the legitimacy of the European Union by focusing on the recent trend towards reconceptualization of the EU not as a superstate or an organization of states, but as a multi-level, contested polity without precedent. The book examines the implications of this reconceptualization for the problem of legitimacy. Individual chapters focus on policy areas, institutions and identity politics. Taken together, they reach two main conclusions. While Europeans do not strongly identify with the EU, they increasingly recognize it as a framework for politics alongside existing national and subnational structures. And while the EU lacks central democratic institutions, the integration process has spawned significant informal and pluralist forms of representation. Rethinking recognition and representation ouside the context of the nation state points to important, if little understood, actual and potential sources of EU legitimacy.
|List of illustrations|
|List of contributors|
|1||Introduction: conceptualizing legitimacy in a contested polity||1|
|Pt. 1||Legitimacy and EU policies|
|2||EU legitimacy and the "defensive" reaction to the single European market||27|
|3||Unity-in-diversity: cultural policy and EU legitimacy||46|
|4||Reconciliation and legitimacy: foreign relations and enlargement of the European Union||66|
|Pt. 2||Legitimacy and institutions|
|5||Political parties and the problem of legitimacy in the European Union||93|
|6||National parties and the contestation of Europe||113|
|7||The European Parliament and EU legitimacy||134|
|Pt. 3||Legitimacy and identity|
|8||EU citizenship: implications for identity and legitimacy||155|
|9||National identity and EU legitimacy in France and Germany||180|
|10||Political rhetoric and the legitimation of the European Union||199|
Posted March 15, 2000
Banchoff and Smith present readers with an edited volume that distinguishes itself on two counts: its chapters integrate theoretical concepts and empirical research in case studies that are original and timely; and the scholars' contributions to the volume provide a balance of European and American viewpoints in a dialogue that leads to fruitful inquiry. The book analyzes legitimacy through the conceptual lenses of three approaches: policies; institutional changes; and identities. As an ensemble, the chapters in this volume strengthen our understanding of the European Union as a polity unprecedented in world affairs whose decision making is characterized by multi-level governance. By assessing critical analyses made in selected chapters utilizing each approach, the reader appreciates the volume's method and scope of inquiry. Feldman's chapter explores the relationship between reconciliation and legitimacy on two levels: the internal dynamics of the Community/Union for which reconciliation and institutionalized cooperation from the Schuman Plan through crises in the 1980s/1990s provides a source of stability and legitimacy; and external relations by which 'some of the character of the EU as a system of reconciliation and a peace community' offer a basis for the EU's role as a 'civilian power.' This is the only chapter that focuses on enlargement as a contested policy for the Union. Clearly a second edition would benefit from increased attention to the interplay between contestation and legitimacy in an enlarged Union. Feldman's analysis confirms that member states recognize the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) as 'a framework for contestation.' Her conclusion that this framework exists in a polity which is hybrid challenges scholars not to limit their research to frameworks that contrast neofunctionalism and intergovernmentalism. Instead we may inquire about the ways in which reconciliation could be a resource in the quest for increased legitimacy as the Union seeks definition as a polity and as an 'international actor' in global politics. Wessels and Diedrichs' analysis of legitimacy focuses on the European Parliament and the need to reconceptualize its role as an institution that cannot fit into either federalist or realist frameworks. This chapter displays the empirical excellence that distinguishes Wessels as one of the foremost theorists of integration. His articulation of a 'fusion thesis' suggests that the European Parliament must legislate within a system characterized by competition for powers and differentiation of decision making procedures. This institutional context, which engages national and European actors in an expanding spectrum of interactions, renders citizens' understanding of the Parliament less transparent. The author's touch on the relative lack of citizen interaction with the European Parliament, the challenges it faces to acquire internal discipline to enhance its use of the leverage acquired via the Maastricht and Amsterdam reforms and the fact that Parliament must compete with other institutions to be a focus of legitimacy in the Union. Each of these points is important to consider in light of the future accession of countries from central and eastern Europe. In these countries, citizen identification with national parliaments is particularly sensitive in the aftermath of decades of 'rule from above.' The ways in which these national parliaments interact with the European institutions may well determine, along with the economic benefits that can be perceived by average citizens, a degree of popular acceptance of the Union and its policies in associate member states. Banchoff's analysis of legitimacy from the perspective of identity explores the challenges the European institutions pose to sovereignty in the French and German cases. This chapter utilizes a diachronic comparison or a comparison across time. Its focus on cases of treaty-making in the early 1950s andWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.