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

  • Claus Offe
  • Ulrich K. Preuss
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    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.

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    Paper provided by University of Bath, Department of European Studies and Modern Languages in its series The Constitutionalism Web-Papers with number p0028.

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    Date of creation: 05 Dec 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:erp:conweb:p0028
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.bath.ac.uk/esml/

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    1. 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).
    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, 09.
    3. 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.
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