Democratic Legitimacy and Soft Law in the EU Legal Order: A Theoretical Perspective

28 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2021 Last revised: 1 Mar 2021

See all articles by Danai Petropoulou Ionescu

Danai Petropoulou Ionescu

Maastricht University - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Mariolina Eliantonio

Maastricht Center for European Law

Date Written: August 12, 2020

Abstract

The increased recourse to soft law by the European Union (EU) as a flexible solution to complex social issues has raised several questions about the democratic legitimacy of decision-making at the Union level. With the aim to provide a normative direction for the future empirical assessment of EU soft law measures, this article examines the democratic credentials that EU soft law should fulfil to ensure its legitimacy. Drawing from liberal, republican, and deliberative conceptions of democracy, the study proposes four democratic legitimacy standards for the evaluation of soft law measures in practice: parliamentary involvement, transparency, participatory quality, and reviewability.

Keywords: EU soft law, democratic legitimacy, liberal democracy, republican democracy, deliberative democracy

Suggested Citation

Petropoulou Ionescu, Danai and Eliantonio, M., Democratic Legitimacy and Soft Law in the EU Legal Order: A Theoretical Perspective (August 12, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3747160 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3747160

Danai Petropoulou Ionescu (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences ( email )

Netherlands

M. Eliantonio

Maastricht Center for European Law ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

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