Executive Power and Political Accountability: Assessing the European Union’s Experience

24 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2021 Last revised: 30 Jul 2021

See all articles by Sergio Fabbrini

Sergio Fabbrini

Luiss University of Rome, Political Science Department

Date Written: June 3, 2021

Abstract

The research paper investigates the political accountability of the EU’s executive power, distinguishing between institutional and electoral patterns. It discusses the main integration theories, showing their analytical unilateralism in identifying the EU’s executive power and in conceptualizing its accountability patterns. Then, it analyses the executive power’s accountability in democratic federal systems, comparing coming together federations, where executive power’s political accountability is institutional, with holding together federations, where executive power’s political accountability is electoral. The research paper investigates the EU executive power, focusing on two basic decision-making regimes (supranational and intergovernmental) to deal with different policy areas. Using the comparative federalism’s perspective, the research paper argues that the executive power’s accountability is institutional in the supranational regime (although it manages issues of low political salience), it is neither institutional nor electoral in the intergovernmental regime (which manages issues of high political salience). The EU’s decision-making structure is not only differentiated (as in none of the current federations), but this differentiation disincentives the executive power’s accountability in crucial policies’ realms.

Keywords: EU Executive Power, Political Accountability, European Council, European Commission, Federations, Differentiated Decision-Making

Suggested Citation

Fabbrini, Sergio, Executive Power and Political Accountability: Assessing the European Union’s Experience (June 3, 2021). EU3D Research Paper No. 7, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3859225 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3859225

Sergio Fabbrini (Contact Author)

Luiss University of Rome, Political Science Department

Viale Romania 32
Rome, 00197
Italy

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