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The Problem of Legitimacy in the European Polity. Is Democratization the Answer?

Author

Listed:
  • Claus Offe
  • Ulrich K. Preuss

Abstract

The authors discuss potential sources of legitimacy of the EU, i. e. of the normative bindingness of its decisions. After rejecting the views that such legitimacy is either not needed, not feasible, or provided for already, they focus upon the corrosive impact of the EU upon democratic legitimacy within member states. Brussels-based 'governance' is essentially uncontested and can hardly provide for the legitimacy that results from the interplay between government and opposition within nation states. The problem boils down to achieving legitimacy in the absence of the political community of a 'demos'. The paper outlines a solution to this problem that relies on the apparently oxymoronic model of a 'republican empire' - a political community, that is, which is held together not by the bonds of some presumed sameness, but, to the contrary, by the shared contractual recognition of the dissimilarity of its constituent parts from which legitimacy can flow.

Suggested Citation

  • Claus Offe & Ulrich K. Preuss, 2006. "The Problem of Legitimacy in the European Polity. Is Democratization the Answer?," The Constitutionalism Web-Papers p0028, University of Hamburg, Faculty for Economics and Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:conweb:p0028
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    File URL: https://www.wiso.uni-hamburg.de/fachbereich-sowi/professuren/wiener/dokumente/conwebpaperspdfs/2006/conweb-6-2006.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Follesdal, Andreas & Hix, Simon, 2005. "Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik," European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) 2, CONNEX and EUROGOV networks.
    2. Franz C. Mayer & Jan Palmowski, 2004. "European Identities and the EU - The Ties that Bind the Peoples of Europe," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 573-598, September.
    3. Delhey, Jan, 2004. "European social integration: From convergence of countries to transnational relations between peoples," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2004-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Kröger, Sandra, 2008. "Nothing but consultation: The place of organised civil society in EU policy-making across policies," European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) 3, CONNEX and EUROGOV networks.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    democracy; legitimacy; diversity/homogeneity; governance; democratization;

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