The Way We Do Europe: Subsidiarity and the Substantive Democratic Deficit
European Law Journal, 1/2015, Forthcoming
Posted: 15 Oct 2013 Last revised: 17 Dec 2014
Date Written: October 15, 2013
The new institutional framework of subsidiarity is expected to lower the EU democratic deficit. In contrast to this optimistic scenario, I argue that the success of subsidiarity depends on its capacity to unravel the ‘substantive’ democratic deficit. Linked to the EU functional design, this dimension of the democratic deficit has developed due to two limitations of EU-level politics. First, the range of topics open to democratic debate in the EU is narrower thanks to the EU functional design (horizontal substantive democratic deficit). Second, the proportion of the debate which we could genuinely describe as being political is declining as a result of the de-politicisation of EU goals, underpinned by a massive accumulation of allegedly apolitical expert knowledge (vertical substantive democratic deficit). Against this background, I contend that by involving actors relatively alien to the EU functional thinking, subsidiarity could offer an opportune ground for the re-politicisation of democratic ‘blind spots’ in EU policy-making.
Keywords: European Union, Subsidiarity, Democratic Defict, European Private Law, Competence Creep, Functionalism
JEL Classification: K12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation