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The Role of Direct Democracy in the European Union

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  • Lars P. Feld

    () (Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Philipps Universitaet Marburg)

  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

Abstract

In this paper, the introduction of direct-democratic decision-making in all EU decisions is considered when it is feasible without prohibitively increasing decision-making costs. We start with the contractarian argument that each constitution is a contract joining the citizens of a state and requires as such the explicit agreement of (a majority of) citizens. Thus, the future European Constitution as well as future changes of it should be decided by the European citizens. After a discussion of the pros and cons of direct democracy, the ability of direct democracy to help creating a European demos is discussed. Consequently, we propose a mandatory (required and binding) referendum on total and partial revisions of the European Constitution. In addition, we propose a constitutional initiative, a statutory and a general initiative as well as a fiscal referendum for financially important projects.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2004. "The Role of Direct Democracy in the European Union," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200423, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:volksw:200423
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    File URL: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb02/makro/forschung/gelbereihe/artikel/2004-23-DirDemEUDP_gesamt.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:got:cegedp:83 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Simon Hug & Tobias Schulz, 2007. "Referendums in the EU’s constitution building process," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 177-218, June.
    3. Dennis Mueller, 2005. "Constitutional political economy in the European Union," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 57-73, July.
    4. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2010. "Direkte Demokratie," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2010 2010-26, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    5. Schneider, Friedrich G., 2009. "Is a Federal European Constitution for an enlarged European Union necessary? Some preliminary suggestions using public choice analysis," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 83, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    6. Lars Feld, 2005. "The European constitution project from the perspective of constitutional political economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 417-448, March.
    7. Seebauer, Michael, 2015. "Does direct democracy foster efficient policies? An experimental investigation of costly initiatives," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 01/2015, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    8. Maaser, Nicola & Napel, Stefan, 2012. "A note on the direct democracy deficit in two-tier voting," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 174-180.
    9. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2015. "Direct Democracy: Chances and Challenges," CESifo Working Paper Series 5376, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Mariana Bode & Oliver Budzinski, 2005. "Competing Ways Towards International Antitrust: the WTO versus the ICN," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200503, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Direct Democracy; Referenda; Initiatives.;

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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