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Legitimacy intermediation in the multilevel European polity and its collapse in the euro crisis


  • Scharpf, Fritz W.


This essay re-examines the dual - republican and liberal - foundations of democratic legitimacy in the Western traditions of normative political theory. Considered in isolation, the European Union conforms to liberal standards but cannot satisfy republican criteria. Given these conflicting standards, debates on the alleged European democratic deficit have remained inconclusive. Moreover, they have failed to pay sufficient attention to the multilevel character of the European polity and to the normative potential of legitimacy intermediation in its two-step compliance and legitimating relationships. I argue, however, that the capacity of democratic member states to legitimate the exercise of European governing functions is being destroyed in the present euro crisis, and I briefly discuss the implications of this new constellation.

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  • Scharpf, Fritz W., 2012. "Legitimacy intermediation in the multilevel European polity and its collapse in the euro crisis," MPIfG Discussion Paper 12/6, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:126

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