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Demokratiedefizit in Europa? Über Dichtung und Wahrheit in der europäischen Verfassungsdebatte

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  • Schmidtchen, Dieter

Abstract

The purpose of government in a democracy is to provide those goods and services to the community that the market fails to provide efficiently. To achieve this goal those in government must not only know what goods and services the community desires, but must also be prevented to choose outcomes that benefit themselves at the expense of those on whose behalf they are supposedly acting. This is particularly important in federal systems like the European Union in which decision-making authority is divided among layers of government. From this perspective the paper rejects the widely held view that the democratic principle requires abolishment of the Commission?s monopoly power of legislative initiative, the installation of a right for the European Parliament to propose legislation, the European Commission to be selected by the European Parliament and the Union?s power to tax. Interpreting the European Union as a functional unit, aptly called Zweckverband in Germanspeaking countries, the paper derives criteria for an efficient division of labor between the Union and the lower levels of government. Finally, it is shown that the goal of Europe being ?united ever more closely?, as stated in the Preamble of the Constitutional Treaty, is in contradiction to the principles of democracy as defined.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmidtchen, Dieter, 2004. "Demokratiedefizit in Europa? Über Dichtung und Wahrheit in der europäischen Verfassungsdebatte," CSLE Discussion Paper Series 2004-08, Saarland University, CSLE - Center for the Study of Law and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:csledp:200408
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/23068/1/2004-08_Demokratie.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steunenberg, Bernard & Koboldt, Christian & Schmidtchen, Dieter, 1996. "Policymaking, comitology, and the balance of power in the European Union," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 329-344, September.
    2. Charles B. Blankart & Dennis C. Mueller, 2002. "Alternativen der parlamentarischen Demokratie," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(1), pages 1-21, February.
    3. Fritz Breuss & Markus Eller, 2004. "The Optimal Decentralisation of Government Activity: Normative Recommendations for the European Constitution," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 27-76, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    constitution as contract; intergovernmental conference; European Union as a confederation; subsidiarity; monopoly of legislative initiative;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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