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Electoral Representation at the European level and its Institutional Design: A reappraisal of recent reform plans

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  • Wilhelm Lehmann
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    The double role of national political parties in both national and European politics is an important explanatory factor for the dilatory development of European democracy. This paper contends that the present institutional design of electoral procedures has political costs and is one of the main reasons for this two-faced representation. The argument proceeds in four steps. In the first part, the paper recapitulates that representation is a concept closely related to issues of accountability and responsiveness. Its practical application at the European level depends very much on the definition of the 'object' of representation. The second part demonstrates that democracy has not been a legalnormative notion during the early stages of European integration. However, since the signing of the Maastricht treaty genuine attempts have been made to go beyond regulatory matters and to create a political system with democratic credentials. Thirdly, the essay analyses new approaches in the design of electoral rules and evaluates the functioning of European political parties in view of the construction of a transnational political community. The final section addresses the knotty question whether it is desirable or even necessary for the European Union to become a more politicized governance system.

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    Paper provided by European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS) in its series EUI-RSCAS Working Papers with number 23.

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    Date of creation: 15 Jan 2011
    Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0286
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    1. Magnette, Paul & Papadopoulos, Yannis, 2008. "On the politicization of the European consociation: A middle way between Hix and Bartolini," European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) 1, CONNEX and EUROGOV networks.
    2. G. Federico Mancini, 1998. "Europe - The Case for Statehood ... and the Case Against An Exchange," Jean Monnet Working Papers 6, Jean Monnet Chair.
    3. Scharpf, Fritz W., 2009. "The double asymmetry of European integration: Or: why the EU cannot be a social market economy," MPIfG Working Paper 09/12, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    4. Mikhaylov, Slava & Marsh, Michael, . "European Parliament elections and EU governance," Living Reviews in European Governance (LREG), Institute for European integration research (EIF).
    5. Ladrech, Robert, . "Europeanization and political parties," Living Reviews in European Governance (LREG), Institute for European integration research (EIF).
    6. Dorothee Bohle, 2010. "The Crisis of the Eurozone," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 77, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    7. Andeweg, Rudy B., 2003. "Beyond representativeness? Trends in political representation," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 147-161, May.
    8. Vivien A. Schmidt, 2010. "The European Union in search of political identity and legitimacy: Is more Politics the Answer?," Working Papers of the Vienna Institute for European integration research (EIF) 5, Institute for European integration research (EIF).
    9. Abdul Ghafar Noury & Simon Hix & GĂ©rard Roland, 2007. "Democratic politics in the European Parliament," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7744, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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