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A done deal? The EU’s legitimacy conundrum revisited


  • Erik Oddvar Eriksen
  • John Erik Fossum


In this paper we suggest a research agenda beyond the legitimation strategies of the CIDEL project (i.e. legitimation through outcomes, values and rights). The European Union has developed beyond that of international organisation and derivative democratic construct. But the step from negative determination to positive identification of type of entity requires an analytical scheme that takes the character of the polity configuration properly into account. How to handle Europe’s present democratic conundrum? Europe will suffer democratic losses if it does away with the multilevel constellation that makes up the EU. But the present structure is also deficient; unless it is reformed, the EU will not be able to resolve its democratic problems. The upshot is that we have to consider how best to democratize the multilevel constellation that makes up the EU. Such a solution entails reconstituting democracy (rather than simply abolishing the EU or uploading nation-state democracy to the EU-level). We briefly outline three models for how to reconstitute democracy in Europe; each of which reflects the entity’s compound character.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik Oddvar Eriksen & John Erik Fossum, 2007. "A done deal? The EU’s legitimacy conundrum revisited," RECON Online Working Papers Series 16, RECON.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:reconx:p0016

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    democracy; democratization; legitimacy; multilevel governance; integration theory; federalism; supranationalism;

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