The European Union: How Democratic Is It?

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Taking as its starting point the major issues of democracy which are the ongoing concerns of every liberal Western political system, this volume offers a wide-ranging review of democracy in the European Union. It treats the EU as a new type of political system within the tradition of parliamentary democracies, a system which is neither federal nor intergovernmental, and which consequently has unique problems of how to handle democratic requirements.

The major challenge for the EU is institutional design to establish democratic institutions for supranational policy-making. The EU design involves the roles of formal and informal actors, associations, citizens and societal interests in the decision-making process. The democratic challenges have to do with how authoritative decisions are made, with implications for effectiveness and sovereignty within the EU.

Part One deals with the two major challenges of interest articulation in the EU, political parties and lobbying. The second part discusses how democracy becomes the key element in the linkage between the EU and its member states, focusing on three countries where the relation to the EU constitutes an important part of the national democratic debate, France, Italy and Belgium. The third part focuses on democratic aspects of key EU institutions, the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament. The final part looks at democracy in relation to possible EU development generally, and in the context of societal change which may tend to undermine the role of parliamentary institutions.

The particular challenge for the EU is that it has to improve both its effectiveness and democracy at the same time, demands which will make the system more complex and vulnerable. Further expansion of democracy at the EU level will prove difficult unless federal elements are strengthened, something which seems unlikely in the near future. In the meantime, the European Union will have to live with the shortcomings and contradictions of its democracy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761951131
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 2/27/1996
  • Pages: 304

Meet the Author

Svein Andersen is a professor at the Norwegian School of Management and has held various academic positions over the last 25 years, including as a visiting professor at Berkeley and adjunct professor at the University of Oslo. He is also an adjunct professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. Histeachingexperience includes executive leadership and sports management. He holds two Ph Ds, one from the University of Oslo and one from Stanford University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction - Svein S Andersen and Kjell A Eliassen
Dilemmas, Contradictions and the Future of European Democracy
Euro-Parties and European Parties - Mogens N Pedersen
New Arenas, New Challenges and New Strategies
EU-Lobbying - Svein S Andersen and Kjell A Eliassen
Between Representativity and Effectiveness
The Modern West European State and the European Union - Wolgang Wessels
Democratic Erosion or a New Kind of Polity?
The French EU Decision-Making - Christian Lequesne
Between Destablization and Adaptation
European Policy-Making and National Institutions - The Case of Belgium - Cecilia Andersen
Italy - Federiga Maria Bindi
In Need of More EU Democracy
The Role of the Commission - Finn Laursen
The Role of the Council - Fiona Hayes-Renshaw
Voting Power under the EU Constitution - Jan E Lane, Reinert Moeland and Sven Berg
The European Parliament - Juliet Lodge
The European Union - Rolf Gustavsson
1996 and beyond a Personal View from the Side-Line
The European Union and the Erosion of Parliamentary Democracy - Svein S Andersen and Tom Burns
A Study of Post-Parliamentary Governance
Democracy - Svein S Andersen and Kjell A Eliassen
Traditional Concerns in New Institutional Settings

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