The European Union in search of political identity and legitimacy: Is more Politics the Answer?
The problems of identity and legitimacy in the EU are significant, but tangentially interconnected. The problems for EU identity derive not solely from the fact that European citizens have not developed much sense of being European because they have not been doing a lot in the EU; it is also that national elites have not been saying much about what the EU has been doing—except in moments of crisis. The problems for legitimacy derive not only from the ways in which the EU works—with more emphasis on ‘output’ for the people and ‘throughput’ with’ the people than ‘input’ by and of the people. It is also that the EU’s development challenges nationally constructed identities at the same time that it alters the traditional workings of national democracy. And this in turn adds to problems for citizen identification with the EU and their perceptions of its legitimacy. So the question is: would politicizing the EU help build more identity and legitimacy? Or would this only increase the problems?
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