Conclusion: Participation, Democracy, and Legitimacy in the European Union

Jean Blondel, Richard Sinnott and Palle Svensson

in People and Parliament in the European Union

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780198293088
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598814 | DOI:
 Conclusion: Participation, Democracy, and Legitimacy in the European Union

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Summarizes the findings presented in the preceding chapters. Interpretation of the implications of these findings focuses on the distinction between the facilitation and the mobilization of electoral participation, taking into account the different contexts created by different types of democratic governance and specifically by the type of governance embodied in the European Union. In terms of facilitating participation in European Parliament elections, the chapter concludes that turnout could be increased by addressing the problem of the day of the week on which voting takes place, the problems of registration and use of voting cards that arise in certain countries, and problems arising from the timing of the election in mid‐June. In terms of mobilizing participation in European elections, the book concludes that, rather than relying on the kind of transformational institutional change that would see European Parliament elections providing a mandate to govern Europe, what is needed is a series of piecemeal and specific approaches. Effective mobilization of voters in European Parliament elections will require painstaking efforts to inform European citizens and to persuade them of the value of the process of European governance and of the significance of the European‐level issues involved. Voter mobilization is enhanced by active exposure to the campaign but it will also require a strengthening of the image of the Parliament in the minds of the citizens and, through higher profile activity by MEPs during inter‐election periods, an improvement in people's perceptions of the capacity of the Parliament to look after the interests of the citizens.

Keywords: abstention; elections; European issues; European Parliament; facilitation; MEPs; mobilization; participation; turnout; types of democratic governance

Chapter.  8214 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Politics

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