There has been a lot of talk about the European Union's so-called 'democratic deficit', by which is meant its lack of legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens. This book provides a critical analysis of the democratic stalemate in European politics. It argues that the root of the 'democratic deficit' has more to do with the domestic political fields of the Union's member-states and the structure of the evolving European political field than with the relationships between supranational institutions. The book analyses the complex ways 'Europe' is integrated into domestic politics and shows how domestic political fields and cultures have prevented deepening integration. As a result of the formation of a European political field, political resources in European 'postnational' and 'postabsolutist' polities are being redistributed. The theory of structural constructivism proposed fuses French structural theories of politics and a 'bottom-up' approach to European integration. The book examines the relationship between French political traditions and the construction of a European security structure from the point of view of identity politics and the French post-imperialist syndrome. The educational and social homogeneity of French civil servants provides a political resource that certain individuals can use in Brussels, influencing the direction and form of European integration. Studying legislative legitimacy in the European Parliament elections, the book highlights that intellectuals are important players in French politics: the politics of the street has always been a key part of French political life.
Derrida, 2003 ). 1
The siege model is considered in the following section. One outcome of
lifeworld colonisation identified by Habermas is the ‘withdrawal of legitimation’
( 1995 : 143, 1998b : 333) from the state. It is
widely cited as a consequence of
the EU’s ‘democraticdeficit’, evident in the widespread decline of the
‘permissive consensus’, a perception of European integration as an innocuously
technical, rather than political, endeavour. Other signs of lifeworld colonisation/the
democraticdeficit can be
distinctive measures. Some divergent policy proposals emerged in 2006–07,
to act as incentives for the political parties to move towards agreement
and restoring devolution.
Failings of direct rule
It is also possible to highlight some of the limitations and failings of
direct rule in practice.
• The democraticdeficit: The main criticism of direct rule was that it
represented a democraticdeficit. This meant a denial of selfgovernment over transferred matters as the decisions were not taken
by local politicians with local knowledge. The large size of the public
confirmed these values, while the other Western powers’
post-war infirmity made the United States the key Western
defender against communism. President Ronald Reagan articulated the keystone of his administration’s foreign policy
as the defeat of the ‘evil empire’, Soviet communism. These
external postures were accompanied by foreign scrutiny and
criticism of the United States’ own democratic practices
toward minorities and people of colour. Maintaining the
United States’ integrity abroad necessitated remedying its
own democraticdeficit; this duality illustrates the
voluntary activity in Ireland from the end of eighteenth century
which intensified in Northern Ireland in the second half of the
twentieth century. The significance of the voluntary and community
sector in policy-making is connected to sectarianism in local formal
politics, the ‘democraticdeficits’ of direct rule by
Westminster and the conditions for receipt of funding from the
The financialisation of Ireland and the roots of austerity
on financial administration and property speculation
which used the full power of the Irish state to protect itself from its own
profit-seeking strategies. These interests cross over naturally into the
political arena – economic power, after all, is rarely monogamous – and
are made real not only through the actions and ambitions of the actors
on this stage, but also through the state apparatus itself. The democraticdeficit within the Irish state did not begin in 2008, but the events which
emanated from that year brought it into sharp and depressing focus.
for the increasingly ineffectual character of democratic party government. But one thing is clear: it is virtually impossible for parties to promote EU policies and benefit electorally. EU agricultural, justice and social affairs policies generate incomprehension and hostility as do the sweeping ways in which the EU is seen to exercise its regulatory powers. The EU’s fabled democraticdeficit is acknowledged as a problem by many Eurocrats. But there is no desire to give voters a greater role in influencing EU powers, nor do the successive treaty changes ever reveal
On the sociological paradoxes of weak dialectical formalism and embedded
Modernity (New York: Hill & Wang, 1st American edn, 1992).
18 These issues are discussed with clarity by Jamie Peck in Constructions of
Neoliberal Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), and in the chapters
in Jonathan Metzger, Philip Allmendinger, and Stijn Oosterlynck (eds), Planning
Against the Political: DemocraticDeficits in European Territorial Governance
(London: Routledge, 2015).
19 Paul Cartledge offers some interesting thoughts on this matter in the epilogue to his
Democracy: A Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 305–13.
20 For an
Whether called pressure groups, NGOs, social movement organisations or organised civil society, the value of ‘groups’ to the policy process, to economic growth, to governance, to political representation and to democracy has always been contested. However, there seems to be a contemporary resurgence in this debate, largely centred on their democratising potential: can groups effectively link citizens to political institutions and policy processes? Are groups an antidote to emerging democratic deficits? Or do they themselves face challenges in demonstrating their legitimacy and representativeness? This book debates the democratic potential and practice of groups, focusing on the vibrancy of internal democracies, and modes of accountability with those who join such groups and to the constituencies they advocate for. It draws on literatures covering national, European and global levels, and presents empirical material from the UK and Australia.
This book addresses the question of political legitimacy in the European Union from the much-neglected angle of political responsibility. It develops an original communitarian approach to legitimacy based on Alasdair MacIntyre's ethics of virtues and practices, that can be contrasted with prevalent liberal-egalitarian and neo-republican approaches. The book argues that a ‘responsibility deficit’, quite distinct from the often discussed ‘democratic deficit’, can be diagnosed in the EU. This is documented in chapters that provide in-depth analysis of accountability, transparency and the difficulties associated with identifying responsibility in European governance. Closing this gap requires going beyond institutional engineering. It calls for gradual convergence towards certain core social and political practices and for the flourishing of the virtues of political responsibility in Europe's nascent political community. Throughout the book, normative political theory is brought to bear on concrete dilemmas of institutional choice faced by the EU during the recent constitutional debates.