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Problem-solving effectiveness and democratic accountability in the EU

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  • Scharpf, Fritz W.
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    Abstract

    The paper begins by examining the functions of input-oriented and output-oriented legitimating arguments in liberal democracies. At the European level, input-oriented arguments remain weak, but legitimacy problems are generally avoided since the policies which can in fact be adopted under prevailing institutional conditions are still based on broad intergovernmental consensus. For a variety of new policy challenges, however, consensus on the choice of European solutions is unlikely to be reached, even though member states are unable to cope with such challenges on their own. Among the examples discussed are the notorious problems of a common foreign, security and defense policy and the spillovers of European economic integration that are challenging national welfare regimes. The resulting problem-solving gaps, which may undermine political legitimacy nationally and in the EU, could not be legitimately overcome by moving from consensual to majoritarian governing modes at the European level. What could help are modes of differentiated integration which allow groups of member states to adopt consensual European solutions applying only to members of the group. -- Der Aufsatz beginnt mit einer Diskussion der Funktion input-orientierter und output-orientierter Legitimationsargumente in liberalen Demokratien. Obwohl die europäische Union sich kaum auf input-orientierte Argumente stützen kann, lassen sich Legitimationsdefizite weitgehend vermeiden, weil die Politik, die im gegebenen institutionellen Rahmen tatsächlich beschlossen werden kann, sich immer noch auf breiten intergouvernementalen Konsens stützen muss. Bei einer Reihe neuer Herausforderungen ist jedoch Konsens über die Inhalte einer gemeinsamen Lösung unwahrscheinlich, obwohl die Mitgliedstaaten je für sich diese nicht bewältigen können. Diskutiert werden die Beispiele einer gemeinsamen Außen-, Sicherheits- und Verteidigungspolitik sowie die Folgeprobleme der erfolgreichen ökonomischen Integration für den Sozialstaat auf der nationalen Ebene. Die Folge ist ein Problemlösungsdefizit, das die Legitimität der Politik auf nationaler und europäischer Ebene untergraben kann. Es könnte nicht durch den Übergang von konsensualen zu majoritären Entscheidungen überwunden werden, ohne gerade dadurch die Legitimationsgrundlage der Union zu gefährden. Möglich und nützlich wäre dagegen ein Ausbau der Optionen einer differenzierten Integration, die es Gruppen von Mitgliedstaaten erlauben würde, im Konsens europäische Lösungen zu beschließen, deren Geltungsbereich sich auf die Mitglieder der Gruppe beschränkt.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Working Paper with number 03/1.

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    Date of creation: 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgw:p0056

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