National Parties, Political Processes and the EU democratic deficit: The Problem of Europarties Institutionalization
In classical party democracy, elections serve as an 'instrument of democracy' (Powell 2000): they are the mechanism to connect policy preferences of the electors (within the electoral arena) to the political production (within the legislative arena). At the European level the linkage seems to be lost because the political actors performing in the two arena are not the same and the logics of behaviour are quite different. The EU calls for truly Europarties to become more democratic in its procedural and substantive prerequisites and this entails not only a progressive emancipation of party structures at European level but also an integration between them. In fact, we will have full Europarties only when the two party structures at EU level are either independent from national parties and linked to each other: if intra- and extra- parliamentary faces become really European and connected entities, legislators will be accountable to voters and, consequently, democratic deficit will decline. The main aims of this paper are, firstly, to investigate if and to what extent political parties at European level are able to perform the electoral and legislative functions in the two separated arena and, secondly, if intra- and extra- parliamentary faces of the Europarties are still separated or, rather, have become integrated. In other words, I will delineate the process of institutionalization of the Europarties looking at their progressive autonomy from national parties and systemness/integration at European level (Panebianco 1988).
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