The European Union’s Democratic Deficit: Diagnoses, Prognoses, and Reforms

32 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2009

See all articles by Mark A. Pollack

Mark A. Pollack

Temple University - Department of Political Science; Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Date Written: September 12, 2009

Abstract

The literature on the democratic legitimacy of the European Union (EU) has produced important works of scholarship, yet basic questions about EU democracy remain fundamentally contested, in terms of both the diagnosis of the problem and reforms proposed to address it. This paper aims to systematize that debate, analyzing and critiquing the various diagnoses and prognoses put forward by some of the leading students of the EU’s democratic legitimacy. The paper is divided into two sections, distinguishing the diagnosis of the problem of democratic accountability of IOs - whether there is a crisis of democratic legitimacy, and if so, what is its nature - from the prognosis, namely the prospect for reforms proposed by various analysts to make IOs in some way more accountable. In terms of diagnosis, I analyze and critique three ideal-typical diagnoses of the EU’s democratic deficit, which identify the EU alternatively as irredeemably undemocratic, as democratically legitimate, or potentially democratic subject to various institutional or other reforms. Second, at the level of prognosis, I review three commonplace sets of proposals that have been put forward to enhance EU democracy - proposals that I call parliamentarization, deliberation, and constitutionalization - and I assess the prospects for each of these approaches for their promise in the EU context and beyond.

Keywords: European Union, democracy, politicization, deliberation, administrative law

Suggested Citation

Pollack, Mark A., The European Union’s Democratic Deficit: Diagnoses, Prognoses, and Reforms (September 12, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1472348 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1472348

Mark A. Pollack (Contact Author)

Temple University - Department of Political Science ( email )

461 Gladfelter Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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