Democratic Legitimacy and Soft Law in the EU Legal Order: A Theoretical Perspective
28 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2021 Last revised: 1 Mar 2021
Date Written: August 12, 2020
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
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